Ah, one year olds. All the moxie of a full-grown toddler, but none of the interest in Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. And while the real fun and games of toddlerhood seem to hit around two, our kids definitely grow out of the “baby” stage well before then. We’re left with this not-so-fun in between time where our kids are more active than babies, but cannot yet be bribed. Worse still, they often will refuse to sit through a 21 minute episode of something bright and cartoony so we can just make dinner already! It’s not like I don’t love sitting with my one year old and playing Pat-a-Cake until my hands are raw, but sometimes I just have to get something done. And if I could find a way to entertain my toddler while they’re sitting next to me also doing something she enjoys, then hurray for us both!
Here are some things I’ve found that actually entertain a one year old.
Another Saturday, another week of Mothering under our belt, another Saturday Six. Enjoy!
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1. Crafts and Cabin Fever
We’ve been housebound a lot recently thanks to rain, ear infections, and the dreaded flu. When we get cabin fever, we like to bust something out of our secret craft stash! This week, we looked forward to a break from the rain with this Hide and Seek Rock Painting kit that we can take outside when the clouds part! And you can’t go wrong with ANY of the craft kits from ALEX Toys! (But this one’s on sale for 50% off right now!)
2. We LOVE Low Mess Meals
Have you ever noticed how many delicious “One Pan” dishes there are on Pinterest? But then they’re all “We SAID one pan, but that’s really only if you have a cast iron skillet, and if you don’t then you need to use a regular skillet and then transfer into a baking dish, and I realize this changes EVERYTHING because you were really planning on this dinner when you pinned it and we lied to you about that one dish thing?”
Yeah, we’ve noticed it too. So Christine finally bit the bullet and bought this cast iron skillet and now she’ll never get screwed by Pinterest again. Well, until she tries to do some “kid friendly craft” that proves to be anything but…..
3. National Puppy Day
Is it any coincidence that Chad sent Christine a picture of puppies on National Puppy Day and suggested that one join the family? Spoiler alert: She said No. Or, more accurately, “HELL NO!” I mean, they’re cute and all, but puppies? Stay tuned and she’ll fill everyone in on the ten reasons she gave him for absolutely, under to circumstances, adding another family member let alone one covered in fur that will never be potty trained.
4. Christine is Having MAJOR Problems with Co-Sleeping.
Mainly, her kids all want to and she doesn’t. It’s like having a newborn again with all the shuffling kids back to their beds all night long. Or they stay and rub their feet on her all night long, which is worse. Christine and Chad considered getting an obscenely giant bed like this one from The Ace Collection, but knows they’d still end up getting pushed off the edge somehow. The struggle is real.
And if you haven’t ready any of that, well, now you have something to do while you drink your coffee! Or wine. We don’t judge.
6. Tragedy at Jaymi’s House
We love Abram, we really do, but we were not loving the way he threw Little Blue Truck across the room when he was done reading it peacefully. And we especially did not love the tragedy that befell the TV screen when it happened.
Help Jaymi not feel alone! Comment with the biggest tragic accident that’s happened at your house! And have a great weekend!
My kids have thousands of dollars worth of games and toys and arts and crafts and I even am not above allowing some indulgent screen time. But the fact is, at the end of the day, they love dirt and sticks and rocks. Yeah, rocks. Which – don’t get me wrong – I love. I mean, what’s not to love? They’re super cheap (also known as FREE at your nearest outside location), easy to handle, you don’t have to worry about getting them dirty, and you can just leave them in the backyard! I love them SO much, I want to pass that love of rocks on to you! So here are nine fun ways for your little ones to play with rocks.
Rock painting is so in right now. Seriously. It seems that it’s the hot kid craft on Pinterest. And it’s hot for a reason. Because kids love to paint rocks. Whether your kids want to paint ladybugs or pumpkins or just go nuts free form, kids will love it. Plus, you can do it outside, which is extra awesome because you aren’t going to ruin your dining room table. We even have some friends whose kids love to paint rocks with WATER. I mean, you literally can’t get a cleaner craft than that! It’s. Just. WATER. And rocks. World’s easiest cleanup ever.
My 4 year old is obsessed with Tic-Tac-Toe right now. Which means there are sheets of paper all over my house like confetti with scribbles all over them. So you know what’s boss? A reusable tic-tac-toe board. Even better? One that’s in my yard, that I only have to draw once, and then can use rocks for our “X’s” and “O’s.”
All three of my kids love to stack things – anything! They also love to compete with each other. Who can make the highest stack of rocks? Who can keep the tower balanced? Who will knock it over? There are so many variations even in different ways to just stack the rocks. And endless entertainment!
Carrying them back and forth
Okay, I know what you’re thinking, “Hey, this list just jumped the shark. These chicks think my kids will be entertained by carrying rocks back and forth across my yard.” And maybe you’re right. Maybe your kid won’t do it. But we’re here to tell you that we literally sat in Jaymi’s backyard and watched our kids carry rocks from a bucket to a pile AND BACK AGAIN for like 45 minutes last week. I think they made some sort of a secret game out of it, but they didn’t clue the adults in on the rules. All I know is those rocks were on the move in the hot little hands of our kids. Kids that got wiped out from all that rock carrying. So, SOLD.
This one’s pretty simple: Do just what it sounds like. Hide those rocks and let the kids find them. As one of our kids’ friends announced the other day, “You don’t have to wait for Easter to do an Easter egg hunt!” True that, Muriel! Egg hunts are great one day a year, but rock hunts – those are a classic the other 364.
Steal the Bacon
Remember sweating on the blacktop waiting for your number to be called so you could race to grab a blackboard eraser? Well, we’re fresh out of blackboard erasers at our house. But we got rocks! And whether it’s a group of kids at a playdate or just two of mine facing off head to head, a race for the rock is a big hit. More bonus points for this one being another tiring activity. With basically no setup, no cleanup and the only parental involvement being to yell, “GO!”
town that is tricked into sharing their soup. It’s also a culinary classic in our backyard. Stones, leaves, dirt all create a “delicious” base to be stirred with sticks. This one takes some more parental involvement (I admit I’m wayyyyyy over pretending to slurp soup and report how delicious it is) and can be significantly messier than some of the other options, but my kids are all about getting messy, so bring it on!
A story garden is the perfect way to bring your kids’ imaginative play outside. This one’s a two parter, but worth it! First, see #1 and paint those bad boys. You can paint anything you want on the stones – houses, animals, boats, foods, cars, bugs, rainbows, shapes, people – you name it! Then, make stories! The possibilities are ENDLESS with what you can create! Here’s a few ways to play with them compiled by The Artful Parent and we’re partial to this cute Hungry Caterpillar set which is perfect for retelling.
Only to be played if you trust your kids won’t chuck the rocks straight at a window, your head, their siblings heads, their friends heads, etc. Once that’s established, my kids dig this one. We use a hula hoop as the place to toss rocks and we start a foot or two away from the hoop. Each kid gets to toss a rock into the hoop. After they make that shot, they step back. And back. And back. And back. Until they miss at which point we start over. My competitive little kids love the challenge of this. Once the hula hoop has been mastered, you can always make smaller targets with anything you have around the house!
When Lila was a tiny baby, she was not about that puree life. She turned up her nose at pureed veggies, scoffed at baby cereal, and just forget about anything mushy. No, that little girl wanted FOOD. We turned to Baby Led Weaning, and found that she ate MUCH better. Shredded chicken, cheerios, diced fruits, pieces of cheese- she gobbled it up with abandon. But it was still such a struggle to eat her to get vegetables, and getting her to eat enough iron was nearly impossible. I searched and searched for recipes to suit her taste, and finally found the winner in these veggie muffins. This easy recipe has all of the good stuff- whole grains in, fruits, veggies, and even protein- with (less) of the “bad stuff.” As a bonus, they freeze wonderfully and can be made in a mini-muffin pan (baby sized baby muffins!!!), so that you can give your toddler what they need, even with their ever-changing appetites.
The other upside is that this yummy toddler muffin recipe is a great way to use up pureed fruits, vegetables, and cereals that you Baby Led Weaning leaves behind. Finding a recipe for baby cereal muffins that uses up leftover purees is such a relief. It’s a healthy breakfast idea for babies, and offers well-rounded nutrition in the process. Break it into small pieces if needed, or just let your little one nibble at it in their own way. Always supervise little ones while practicing baby-led weaning, and then sit back and watch as their appetites and tastes expand on their own.