Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Toddler Games

Guys...I need some help.

As most of you know, I have anxiety problems.  I take medication for it and it keeps me functional...most of the time.  However, with Brian heading back to work in two weeks I'm getting more and more nervous about my new role as a mom of 3 kids under the age of 4.  Can that be right?! must crazy are we?!

I like schedules...they keep me sane.  It gives me things to work toward; starting and stopping points, to help me tackle the day.  So, it's been suggested to me, by numerous people, that I put my family on a schedule for when Brian goes back to work so I don't lose my cool.  Since it takes practice to get into a routine, we've decided to start tomorrow, so when Brian goes back, we all know our expectations.

The problem is, when I think of even setting up a schedule, my mind goes blank.  It's one of the fun things of my anxiety.  My mind won't stop racing when I want to calm down and when I need to think in stressful situations, it stops working.

So, I'm asking you guys for help!  I need to come up with activities for the kids and I to do together to keep us busy.  Trips, crafts, cleaning, schools, etc...I need all ideas.  The general layout of the day goes like this:

6:30 - Kids wake up
7:45 - We drive Brian to the bus stop for work
8:05 - We arrive home
11:30 - The kids eat lunch
12-2 - Nap Time
5:45 - We pick up Brian from the bus stop

Taking into consideration I have to feed the baby every 3-4 hours, I have big time slots to fill from 8-12 and 2-6.  I'm thinking just one activity, or two small ones, can fit in each time slot (i.e. two activities a day).  We have the budget to go to one big trip (zoo, etc) once a week while everything else needs to be free or close to it.  I live in the San Jose area, less than an hour to the beach, San Fran, etc. so if you have any ideas along that line, let me know!

This is where I need your creativity!  What can I do with two toddlers and a newborn without going crazy?

Feel free to post ideas on this blog, on facebook, email me at, or even text me!

I really appreciate all of your help on this.  I know since I have two kids already I should already know what to do, but #3 has put me in a tailspin and I need my friends' help :)

Love you all!!  Keep the ideas coming!



  1. The other day I filled our sand water table with water and set it in the front yard. Gave Jax and Polina some pails, measuring cups, and funnel. It kept them both happily entertained for about 30 minutes. I think the trick is doing something different each day. I read another blog where the lady had a great idea of staging the playing area so they almost cant resist. An example would be setting up the doll house in the playroom or living room before you go to bed but they can't play until after they drop dad off.

    Another idea would be to have them play dress up and come and perform for you. Old costumes work well. Tell them to do each others hair and pick stuff out and for them to surprise you so they don't try and get you to help them.

    The local park is always good. The mall if it has a play place. Splash parks. Washing the family car...they will love this.

  2. Love these ideas! Thanks, Crystal! Keep em coming!

  3. Ok- I know this is ALOT, but when I saw your blog this is the first thing I thought of. Just a bunch of Ideas to fill time, most are inside, but can be adapted to outdoors as well!! I hope it helps a little!!

    1. Have a picnic.
    2. Build a fort out of blankets (use chairs, couches, yarn- anything to hold up the blankets!).
    3. Make sock puppets (check out our tutorials for monster puppets and sock puppets!).
    4. Finger paint with pudding.
    5. Play dough- use rolling pins and cookie cutters.
    6. Dance PARTY–dance to your favorite songs.
    7. Have a tea party.
    8. Read nursery rhymes.
    9. Make your own indoor hopscotch with masking tape on carpet/wood.
    10. Pedicures.
    11. Play school–have the child be the teacher.
    12. Make a letter book. Let the kids take a picture of something that starts with each letter of the alphabet.
    13. Look at photo albums.
    14. Make a movie of yourselves, then watch it.
    15. Paint with water colors.
    16. Play Barbie’s.
    17. Play with matchbox cars (check out our $5 Rain Gutter Race Track and Car Caddy!).
    18. Play board games (my kids love Candy Land!).
    19. Color with crayons. Take off the wrapper and see the different ways you can color with them.
    20. Make paper bag puppets.
    21. Watch a movie and eat popcorn.
    22. Go on a treasure hunt.
    23. Bake cookies.
    24. Play dress-up.
    25. Make paper hats.
    26. Make a healthy snack.
    27. Make a relay race or obstacle course in your house/yard–be creative!
    28. Play hide and seek.
    29. Indoor snowball fight with socks.
    30. Build a fort out of cardboard boxes and duct tape.
    31. Make plans and invitations for a party.
    32. Play tic-tac-toe.
    33. Make your own puzzle out of poster board or cardstock, color and cut it out.
    34. Make your own matching game. Since you are moving you can make the cards out of Family and friends photos, so the kids can see faces.
    35. Swim in the kitchen–put down a tarp, fill up a little kiddie pool with warm water and let them play for hours!
    36. Make Valentine's décor. This works for any holiday, and you can decorate for just about everything!
    37. Make a car track all around your house with masking tape.
    38. Play "Monster in the Middle." Pillows are “safe” the carpet is the “lava.” Jump from pillow to pillow and if the monster touches you, you are in the middle.
    39. Apple stamps. Cut an apple in half horizontal and use it as a stamp using washable paint.
    40. Make lacing cards with their favorite cereal boxes.
    41. Learn a new song.
    42. Create a giant dot-to-dot with poster board.
    43. Make homemade Valentine's.
    44. Make a necklace with yarn, beads or Fruit Loops.
    45. Have a talent show.
    46. Cut paper snowflakes.
    47. Make a paper countdown chain to holidays or an upcoming birthday by cutting strips of paper and stapling them together.
    48. Hard noodles, Elmer’s glue, and paper… need I say more? You can print pictures off from the internet and have them fill in or outline the picture.
    49. Marble racing. Take 2 of your swimming pool water noodles and prop them on the stairs. Race marbles down the middle of them. The hole is a perfect size for a marble.
    50. Sculpt clay, let it dry, then paint.
    ... part 1

  4. 51. Play paper dolls.
    52. Write letters to family.
    53. Play with magnets. Cut up colorful pipe cleaners into 1 inch pieces, put them in a glass jar, put a magnet to the jar and see what happens!
    54. Make an advent calendar for an upcoming holiday.
    55. Make princess/king crowns (check out our Felt Crown Tutorial!).
    56. Manicures.
    57. Take silly pictures and e-mail them to Dad/Mom at work or other relatives.
    58. Make big cars out of a cardboard box. Have the kids sit inside the boxes, cut holes for their legs and let them use their feet as wheels to move around.
    59. Play red-light, green-light. Play this with #58. It is so fun!
    60. Toilet paper a room in your house.
    61. Make a super hero costume out of household items (check out our No-Sew T-Shirt Cape Tutorial).
    62. Pillow pile. Collect all the pillows in your house and jump into them.
    63. Dress up in Mom or Dad’s clothes.
    64. Plan a date for your child and you (or spouse) that makes them feel special. You could do this before your husband goes back to work to give your kids Daddy time.
    65. Cream painting. Put shaving cream and drops of food coloring in a cookie tray and then mix it all around with a paint brush.
    66. Make a story book out of paper. Have them make it up and draw the pictures.
    67. Watch old family videos.
    68. Make and frost sugar cookies (try our delicious Sugar Cookies Recipe!).
    69. Make paper airplanes.
    70. Toilet paper trail. Give them each a roll and have them make a trail all around the house. you could hace car races on the paper after you lay it out.
    71. Read their favorite book to them.
    72. Start a journal. If the child can’t write, have them tell you what to write.
    73. Make a time capsule of their favorite things and open it next January.
    74. Make flash cards (letters, sounds, addition, etc.).
    75. Make homemade paper dolls (Check out these free printable paper dolls!).
    76. Make cupcakes and let them do everything themselves.
    77. Plan a family vacation.
    78. Teach them to sew.
    79. Do an exercise video with them.

  5. 80. Rearrange the furniture in their room.
    81. Hot cocoa bar. Chocolate covered spoons, marshmallows, whipped cream, Andes mints. Get creative! What do you put in your hot cocoa?
    82. Make a bird feeder with toilet paper rolls. Put peanut butter on it and roll it in bird seed. Hang it with yarn outside and watch the birds come.
    83. Make little pizzas. Use English muffins, tomato sauce, cheese and any toppings you want. Cook at 350 degrees. Watch until cheese melts.
    84. Put on a play.
    85. Make an Ice Sun Catcher. Take a pie tin and fill it with water, leaves, pine cones, and yarn so it can hang. Then put it outside and let it freeze. When it is frozen, take it out and hang it on a tree.
    86. Color the snow. If it isn’t too cold outside, fill squirt bottles with warm water and food coloring. See what designs you can make in the snow.
    87. Let them use your makeup to give you a makeover–this one is HILARIOUS!
    88. Let them pick and print out coloring pages online–there are TONS!
    89. Make a piñata and fill it with yummy (or healthy) treats.
    90. Have a campout in the front room… tent and all.
    91. Play doctor.
    92. Mummy wrap. Have your kids work together to wrap you, or another child, up in toilet paper.
    93. Practice your fire drill. Stop, drop, and roll. What is your plan and your meeting place?
    94. Ball toss. Have a few different sized buckets and have kids throw balls into them. For older kids, fill the buckets with water almost to the top. It is a lot harder than it seems.
    95. Put lipstick on your kids and have them make a kiss Valentine for Dad or grandparents.
    96. Read a book then act out the story.
    97. Indoor bowling. Stuff socks into toilet paper rolls and line them up. Roll a ball into them and you have your own bowling alley!
    98. Fill up the sink! Add some dish soap, cups, spoons, bowls and anything else that isn't breakable. Just make sure there are a couple of towels under their chairs.
    99. Play grocery store with items from your pantry. Let them check out with plastic bags!
    100. Take a bath! Put in toys you usually don’t let go in the tub (that are still waterproof) and they will play forever!
    101. Chores. Kids don’t always have to LOVE what they are doing, but I think it is very important to teach what chores are at a young age. Make a chore board or jar where kids can put the chores on their board or their jar, and they can decorate them to make them their own.

  6. Ask the kids to pick out what Vera should wear each day. Tell them to count how many diapers are left then tell them that can't be right and to count again (you can view this as preschool lessons).
    Go to your libraries website to find great books for the kids (I like this because the library will set them aside for me and I don't have to dig through books with 3 kids in tow). Fancy Nancy or Richard Scary would be ideal. Read to them before nap time. If they don't sit to listen they can go straight to bed. You can rent videos from there too but with Net-flicks online who needs too (see apple TV).

    Audio books. You can rent audio books from the libary and put them on your iphone. While you hang with the kids you can listen to interesting books and they never even know that you aren't paying attention. I do this when I'm driving and the kids are listening to the video in the backseat. I also listen when I'm rocking Polina to sleep at night or pushing her on the swing. Love it!!

    Get a sand box. Kids love this and can play for hours.

    Strap them in the car and drive around until lunch time..LOL

    Hide in a closet where they can't find you! :)