One of the most difficult things I found about having two under two was what to do with them all day.
They might be close in age but their abilities, social etiquette, awareness of danger and likes/dislikes are very different.
Among the conflicts you will experience while parenting them both in your second child’s first year is what to do about age appropriate toys.
You’ve kitted out your toddler with all the latest toys acceptable for their age range and love seeing them enjoy Lego, pens and stickers.
But throw a baby into the mix and you’ll be spending all of your time fishing stickers out of their mouth, worrying about choking and wiping all the black scribbles off of their face.
So what can you do with two under two that plays to both of their entertainment needs and is still stimulating for them both?
Here are 10 suggestions:
1. Read a book
This is a universal activity and absolutely perfect for both babies and toddlers. Stick to board books as babies have a habit of grabbing and tearing pages.
Lift the flap books are great too.
2. Build a tower with blocks
Your toddler can have fun stacking up the tower and your baby will delight at knocking the entire thing down.
3. Make sensory baskets
Use old shoe boxes, or anything else small you have to hand. Fill them with various different goodies, like kitchen spoons, fruit such as oranges, pine cones, a torch. Anything that your baby won’t choke on and your toddler won’t break.
Include a pot of bubble mixture and enjoy making bubbles with your toddler. Your baby will enjoy watching them float and trying to catch them.
If you’re feeling really ambitious you could even organise the objects by colour to make rainbow boxes.
4. Create an obstacle course
Use a pop-up tunnel, furniture, boxes, whatever you have to hand to create a obstacle course your toddler can crawl through, climb over and duck under. Use your imagination.
Your baby might have to sit this one out, but put them in the middle of the room and they’ll love watching their older sibling tearing about trying to beat their time.
If your baby is crawling though, you can help them through some of the easier obstacles.
5. Sing nursery rhymes
If you don’t know many off by heart then get a book, we have one which has been read over and over again with my toddler.
They’re great because they’re short and to the point, perfect for little ones with short concentration spans.
6. Head, shoulders, knees and toes
Sing the song head, shoulders, knees and toes with your toddler. Encourage them to point out all the parts on themselves while you do it on your baby.
You could also try Round and Round the Garden, Like a Teddy Bear, taking it in turns to do it with each child. Or if they want to you could encourage your toddler to do it on their sibling and encourage the bonding through a bit of tickling and singing.
7. Combine drawing and tummy time
I found it so hard to remember tummy time with my youngest as my toddler took up so much of my attention.
Find ways to combine tummy time with games or activities for your toddler.
Get your toddler’s pens or pencils out and encourage them to do some colouring on the floor while your baby watches on their tummy.
8. Play with ribbons
This is such a brilliant sensory activity and appeals to all ages if you make sure you have loads of bright and colourful ribbons.
The trick is to pick lots of different colours and tie them together in bundles. Then you could tether some to a chair leg so your baby can enjoy pulling on them or hang them from a mobile above their play mat.
Your toddler will love swishing them around and practicing tying knots and plaits.
Another fab thing to use them with is balloons! Tie one end to a balloon and the other to your baby’s foot. Obviously make the knot loose so you’re not cutting off circulation and do not leave them unsupervised. Your baby will love kicking her leg and making the balloon move.
9. Bang saucepans
Older babies can join in if you give them a wooden spoon. Your toddler will love making loads of noise and your baby will like banging out a rhythm.
10. Edible finger paint
Get some yoghurt, divide it between two or three bowls and add different food colouring to each bowl before mixing well.
Now you have your own edible finger paint! Make sure you cover your dining room table well, as this is messy!
Get your baby in their high chair and let them squash and smear the “paint” all over the plastic high chair table. You might get covered in yoghurt but they will both love it!
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