Now that I’m a few months into this two kid life, I’ve certainly learned a bit about what entertains for 5 minutes, and what works for an hour. Call me lazy, but my efforts right now need to produce a bit more “fruit” than 5 minutes of entertainment for my Big. After scouring Pinterest for exciting sensory activities I’ve found a lot of wins and looses. Here are some of our bigger wins.
Tub of water on the patio
This was perfect for us on the hot summer days after the new baby arrived. I’d have my husband set out a bin of water before he went to work, and at any time that afternoon, I could easily dump the ice from the ice maker in it to cool it down and add extra entertainment. The ensured I didn’t stress my pelvic floor lifting a heavy tub from the sink to the patio. We’d put plastic vessels of sorts in it and a couple rags. She would “wash” her radio flyer bike, water the plants and have all the fun sometimes for nearly 2 hours.
Bathtime with arm floaties
Hello, ingenious idea. Assisted bubble bath time with your tot can be a great at-home productive activity when adjusting to life with a newborn. Our Big would enjoy tub-time with her puddle jumper arm floaties on and she would play for nearly an hour. My Big is very tactical, so pouring water from one cup to the other can have her engaged for a while. We leave the faucet trickling just a bit for added entertainment.
Make lactation cookies together – Give Me some Oven No-Bake Granola Bars
One of my mom-friends shared this recipe with me from a local Kansas City Food Blogger, Given Me Some Oven, and Sedona and I have made it nearly a dozen times in the past 3 months! She will pour all of the dry ingredients in. It’s easy to sweep up what hits the floor when we are done. Before I bought the iconic Kitchen Aid Mixer, I’d just mix it in the wet ingredients by hand. But since we have this lovely appliance now, we mix in the honey and peanut butter together and watch the mixer do it’s mixing magic. After it chills, I make the balls and she puts the in the bowl (eating one or two along the way). While these are not labeled “lactation” they seriously work!
Buy play dough
Being the crunchy human being I am, I’ve always been a little sketched out at play dough – but let me just say – the heavens opened the day I gave in and just bought this 36 pack. Now you can make your own, but however you go about getting it it’s worth it. Seriously, hours of entertainment and something we can do together during baby’s nap time. We purchased these play dough cookie cutter shapes too but any cookie cutters would do as well.
Wash things in the sink
Sedona LOVES helping me with dinner. A year ago I bought her a helper stand and it is still in everyday use in our house today. When I’m feeling up to making dinner, I’ll have her help me by washing veggies like mushrooms, carrots and green beans. If I’m planning to slice the mushrooms, I have her remove the stems. If I need to cut the green beans she breaks them in half instead. She’ll wash them and put them in a strainer. It’s awesome and a project we love doing together. Sure, water gets all over the floor but that’s what old towels are for 🙂
Another spin on this idea is to find some waterproof toys that your Big can wash while you make dinner. Or even just have some teeth brushing time, too.
Marker time in a box
I order just about everything online – even the toilet paper which is handy since My Big loves coloring with washable markers. I try to consolidate my orders into one, so when packages arrive we get really large boxes. I’ll put my Big in the box and she will color all over it! This usually is followed by a shower and she likes to color herself, too. Hey, if it’s in the box it’s fair game. Admittedly, I’m a bit of a freak when it comes to things staying nice or being clean, so this might not be a thing for everyone but around here – it’s a win!
Make cheerio necklaces
Great project for their hand/eye coordination, especially if you have a tactical kid. We purchased these fuzzy pipe wires and ever since I read about the high levels of cancer-causing glyphosate in cheerios and other oat products, we started using Kashi Toasted Honey Oats. Now, I honestly don’t feel like this is a 1-hour project, but it’s creative and fun to do together.
Have an indoor Easter egg hunt
My Big enjoyed filling a basket or reusable shopping bag with leftover easter egg shells. She will go “hide” while I haphazardly tossed them all over the main play area, hiding a few with a little more thought. I seriously sit and nurse the new babe and just throw them all over the house from where I am on the couch. #whateverworks. When she is done filling her basket up, she can easily give it to me and the process repeat.