75 TV Free Activities For Toddlers

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75 activities for toddlers

Toddlers are little explorers and love going from one activity to the next so the more ideas you have in your back pocket the better. All of these are free of any tv or other screen time but I would be the world’s biggest hypocrite if I said my kids never watched any TV as toddlers. This list of TV free activities for toddler  is a way to inspire myself as much as you to try some of these simple activities before reaching for the remote.

  1. Cook – we use play food with real pots a lot.
  2. Toss bean bags into laundry baskets.
  3. Paint with yogurt
  4. Splash in the sink.
  5. Pour and scoop some pasta.
  6. Mix some colors.
  7. Get dressed in sibling’s clothes.
  8. Turn up the music and dance
  9. Cuddle.
  10. Play with a water table with water or rice. pasta in the winter.
  11. Play with a light table
  12. Cut a slot in a container lid and drop dried pasta into it.
  13. Play dress up – use old Halloween costumes, clothes and hats.
  14. Find out will it sink or float?
  15. Blow bubbles.
  16. Have a toy car wash.
  17. Build a block tower.
  18. Knock it down.
  19. Write on the walls.
  20. Draw on the windows.
  21. Go for a swing.
  22. Go into a dark room and play with a flash light.
  23. Go for a walk .
  24. Make a tower out of pantry foods.
  25. Sing songs.
  26. Gather your dining chairs and play airplane.
  27. Help put away the dishes.
  28. Have a bath just for fun.
  29. Play store.
  30. Help with the laundry.
  31. Visit the pet store and see the fish and hamsters.
  32. Play mail carrier .
  33. Run.
  34. Brush teeth ( don’t knock it both my kids loved this)
  35. Take your baby dolls for a walk around the house.
  36. Play trains.
  37. Make playdough cupcakes, muffins and cookies.
  38. Walk the plank.
  39. Wear them while you( parent) hike.
  40. Call Grandparents on the phone and chat.
  41. Wrestle.
  42. Pretend to be animals and crawl, hop and pounce on the floor.
  43. Play at the playground.
  44. Collect rocks on a walk or shells on the beach.
  45. Go to the library.
  46. Explore a local garden center.
  47. Make playdough sculptures with popscicle sticks.
  48. Make a craft.
  49. Help with chores.
  50. Paint with water.
  51. Look through family photos.
  52. Hammer golf tees into foam.
  53. Color the patio.
  54. Have snack on a chair train ( in your kitchen)
  55. Make and play with discovery bottles.
  56. Play ball in the yard.
  57. Play with large magnets on the fridge, cookie sheets or like she is above the washer while mama folded laundry.
  58. Play with a dollhouse
  59. Color.
  60. Touch and Smell the fruits and veggies at the supermarket instead of just grabbing what you need.
  61. Play Duplo.
  62. Look for bugs under rocks.
  63. Rip and cut scrap paper.
  64. Do a puzzle.
  65. Go swimming.
  66. Paint.
  67. Paint with toy cars.
  68. Paint with blocks.
  69. Paint with toy animals.
  70. Play with instruments ( or just a big pot and a few wooden spoons).
  71. Water your plants.
  72. Play peek-a-boo.
  73. Go on a color hunt.
  74. Take every DVD out of the drawers and put them back in. This is completely child led at our house.
  75. Follow their play and see where it leads you.

* Note about the photos. They aren’t as high quality as I try for because all of them were taken with my phone while we were playing. Not for a post just regular pictures of what we do most days.

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Raising Boys Who Want To Read

 by Allison McDonald

 

raising boys who want to read

I was reading this article from the Huffington Post while nursing my daughter over the weekend. After she drifted off to sleep I laid there next to her thinking about how we as educators, parents and adults, in general, handle our boys and what they choose to read. This is a fresh topic at our house because my son has started reading independently; while he is far from fluent, he can read simple “I Can Read” books alone if they interest him.

How do we get our boys interested in books?

Read to them starting from birth.

That is the most basic answer, but it’s not a complete one. Some kids won’t sit for books while some need to be moving when taking in the information. Some simply don’t want to read. It looks hard; it looks confusing, and it makes them feel dumb when they can’t figure it out.

You have to make them want to figure it out – to conquer that desire to give up with a stronger desire to find out how to read so they can read something really cool.

So how do we make books worth the effort?

Teaching boys to love books doesn’t start when they are learning to read in kindergarten. It starts at birth by making books a daily part of their play time, not just bedtime. Here are some strategies we’ve used:

We did many book festivals when my son was a toddler. We’d pile up a ton of books, jump on the bed or couch, and read. I always gave him the power to choose the books we read, which gave him a sense of control and allowed him to develop favorites and his own opinions. I wrote a post about how we discovered this strategy and how it came from my son’s inability to sit stuck snuggled on my lap to read as a toddler.

Make going to the library a regular activity. My son hates story time at the library, not because of the librarian (whom he is actually quite fond of ) but because he doesn’t want to sit and listen to the books she chooses. He wants to listen to the books he chooses. So if your child dislikes storytime don’t give up on the library. Try other times; let them choose their own books and don’t just show them the kids section, show them all the adults reading too.

Which brings us to the next strategy: role models. Boys need to see the men in their life reading. As a stay at home mom whose husband works long hours with a long commute, I end up doing most of the reading, but it’s still easy to create wonderful role models even if time together isn’t abundant. I got my son and husband a subscription to Sports Illustrated to share. They read the articles together and have some “man time” reading it together. It gives them special time together while also promoting reading.

Let them choose their books, but steer them to widen their horizons too. My son is all about Batman so we scour the library for these books, some of which I am not fond of. But he is so excited about reading I think it’s more important to keep building that foundation of books being cool and developing his view of himself as a reader that I enthusiastically pop them in our basket. Don’t be quick to say no to a type of book. What your child might hear is you saying no to reading.

Another strategy is to let kids “break the rules” with books. I am not advocating stealing books or any other real rule breaking; what I am talking about is letting kids stretch out bedtime with some reading time of their choice.  We just started this with my son and it’s so thrilling to see him enjoying reading alone.

My last strategy is what I feel is my mission here at No Time For Flash Cards, which is to use books as the foundation for play. We go both ways, sometimes reading a book first and sometimes starting with play then finding the books to go along with it.  When my son read this Babar book with me last week  he immediately wanted to dress up like the soldiers, so we fashioned a costume, not just for the pretend play that followed but because it attached a positive association to reading,  it reiterated to him that reading is part of play.The statistics are frightful, but we aren’t powerless. There are things we can do to help make reading and books accessible to young kids (especially reluctant readers) and yet again it comes back around to play. Hopefully with a strong foundation of trust in the enjoyment books provide the less enjoyable side of reading will be worth the effort.

Introducing our Parenting Book Club

I am so excited about this. I often ask on my Faceboook page what books my readers are reading and decided that we needed some book discussion for books without pictures here on No Time For Flash Cards. The community feeling that has been developing around here is awesome and I want to keep it going!

I am not working with publishers or planning a review of these books. This is a chance for us to read together and share our thoughts after.  I have no real agenda as far as picking books every month other than being a book about parenting,  hoping they spark discussion and are easy to find  for anyone wanting to join.

April’s Book

Playful Parenting by Lawrence J. Cohen

More about the book on the author’s website

How do you join?

Easy ! Read the book, 4 weeks later I will post some discussion questions to spark chat . Told you it was easy.

Play – It’s Their Job

One of my biggest concerns about publishing No Time For Flash Cards is that all the content could give readers the impression that we are advocating strict, structured learning day in and day out for the very young child. Does this look strict or structured?

When readers see our children make crafts, dig in tubs of beans and participating in adult driven activities daily on the blog it can give the impression that we are all doing this all day but really what our kids do for the majority of the day is what kids should be doing, playing.

Today I am devoting this post not to a tutorial of any craft, tips for sneaking adult directed learning in to a game or activity instead it’s just pictures of my kids at  play. No mom directed agenda just kid directed ( sometimes mom RE directed though) fun and learning. Learning? Yes learning! Children are always learning and you don’t need to have a strict agenda all the time, take time to  just play.

I admit having taught and lead children through directed and facilitated play for so long I revert to teacher mode a lot ( especially if I have an extra kid at my house) so I have had to chill out and just follow. It’s awesome.  We do mama directed activities most days , sometimes we do 3 or 4 but then sometimes we go days and days without, but we play every day. Remember that play is their job! Let them get to work .

So I ask you:  What did you play today?