how to entertain an only child who is a toddler?

Nasim - posted on 12/31/2010 ( 32 moms have responded )

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I'm a single mom of a 2 year old girl and i find it hard to entertain her as she is an only child and has no neighbours her age to play with and rarely sees her cousins, she goes to pre school but when she's home on weekends i feel so sorry for her cause i feel she needs a company her age, i'm an only child myself so i know how she feels and she is a child that is easily bored, don't have alot of money to carry her out all the time don't know what to do and don't want tv to be her friend on weekends.

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Susan - posted on 01/04/2011

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Cheryl does make a good point. I'm a SAHM and I've had to teach my little guy that he CAN play on his own for a bit while I get laundry done, cook dinner or (gasp!) take a shower! I had to teach myself it was okay to do these things and not feel guilty.
A great site when you're looking for something new to do with your little one: http://www.productiveparenting.com/aspx/...

Lorraine - posted on 01/17/2011

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could you ask the pre school leaders who she plays with and suggest to the parents a playdate once a month say on a weekend? My daughter is an only child too at nearly 3 xxx

Sharon - posted on 12/31/2010

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My son is only 14mths so quite a bit younger, but he doesn't have any friends or relatives that live near us as we moved across the country not too long ago. I don't want him to be sitting in front of the tv all the time either, and I'm always trying to think of new things to do.

Our fav activities are different arts & crafts....dancing.....reading.....running in the park....playing on the swings etc at the park....general walks in the pram (sometimes he'll walk next to me holding my hand if he gets fidgety), play-doh & he loves helping out with general household chores, especially putting the laundry in the washing machine & handing it to me to hang out. Oh, and we have set up a sheet covering an old table & he LOVES running in there and hiding then running out, he falls over in hysterics almost every time :-)

Meredith - posted on 01/13/2011

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my daughter is 22 months and gets bored very easily so it is hard to keep her entertained.
she loves drawing and painting and all the thigns said below. she also loves cleaning and if i give her a dust pan and brush she cleans everything. I also bake with her. she loves ot mix all the ingreidients together and then eat the rests. i htink you shouldnt worry about her so much just make sure you enjoy your time with her. she will make friends at school and then wont need you but for now, make the most of having her to yourself.

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Randi - posted on 01/13/2011

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Playing with them always keeps them entertained :) Making forts is a really good one. My son loves hiding under the blankets. Playing outside is fun for them too. Bring out some toys and just let them run. :) Hope this helps :)

Kris - posted on 01/12/2011

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I like to go for slow walks with the kids. They collect leaves, pebbles flowers all sorts of stuff and we cam home and make up little storys with them and repaet our walk with her doll house family. The girls usually take over the story and it often becomes a wonderful tale in a magical land ....lol. Sheets on the dining table make excellent cubby houses and it big enough for me to take in a couple os vegemite sandwiches and have lunch "at her place"

Christina - posted on 01/12/2011

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My almost 3 yr old plays beautifully by herself but occasionally wants me to play with her. We play cards (go fish) or do puzzles or flash cards (letters and numbers). Also, look into a playgroup. Some run only on weekends or school holidays for the toddler aged kids. Parks can be a great escape too (treasure hunt by making a printout with pictures of leaves, branches shaped like things, bugs, etc.) ths is alot of fun, especially if you are right there to encourage and praise.

Christina - posted on 01/12/2011

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Look online for age appropriate activities on website like family fun magazine for crafts and games to play. Craft time can be a great way to teach her fine motor skills, colors, shapes, how to properly use writing utensils, glue , and scissors. With very little money you can make a trip to the dollar store for some paper, glue, stickers, and other supplies and have a blast. Also if you get snow take her outside with a few spray bottles filled with water and a little food coloring to paint the snow. My toddlers love specialty days like doing cinco day mayo, dr suess day, mardi gras etc. I plan to eat appropriate day foods whether it be tacos or cat in the hat pizza, we play games and do crafts while a special day movie is on and have loads of fun. We even made an alphabet book the searched around the house and through magazines and stickers to find something that began with each letter they had a blast and it encouraged them learning to spell and listening for letter sounds. You dont have to spend much to do a lot and make sure right after a holiday you hit the craft stores there are always awesome clearance items I like to pick them up and save them for next year! And dont forget to take lots of pictures when you are having fun later on you can print them out and put together a simple scrapbook together.

Rhonda - posted on 01/11/2011

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I Googled "free activities for kids in {MY NEAREST LARGE TOWN HERE}" and was lucky enough to pull up an events calender. I have found more free or inexpensive events than I would ever have the time or inclination for. I know how you feel--good luck!

Heather - posted on 01/11/2011

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Get a membership to a local museum or zoo. Both you you will make friends and learn at the same time.

Judy - posted on 01/11/2011

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I understand what you are saying, but you do not have to entertain your child all weekend long. Good toys for her will be open-ended (in other words have lots of ways to play with them) blocks, dress up clothes (which can be larger kids clothes, or scarves and glittery adult t-shirts), duplo blocks, toy dishes (or small snack size real ones). All of these can be purchased at rummage sales or re-sale shops. Rummage sales often have bag sales in the last few hours. Craigs List is also a good place to find toys people will give away. Then let your child learn to entertain herself. This is a life skill, just as important as reading or any other. If she is entertained by others every moment, she won't learn that skill. You can set up play dates with school friends. If you are not part of a church, think about taking her to a Sunday School, it will give her another source of playmates on the weekend. Have her help you do your chores (she can bring you clothes from the basket for you to fold, then help carry things to put them away, particularly her own clothes). She will learn the value of what you do and spend time with you too. It's ok for her to be bored sometimes too.

Danielle - posted on 01/06/2011

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play dates. my son is an only child and and i will not leave tv be his friend either. he goes to day care 3 days a week and he need friends his age too so i started doinng play dates with cook outs, going to the palyground going to feed ducks

Sandy - posted on 01/06/2011

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I agree with the public library. We love, love, love our library and the best thing is that everything is free. You may also see if there is a local moms group, maybe you have MOPS in your area. The more you can connect with others who have kids your own age, the more you might find other things to take your child too. I am home with my kids in the summer, and we find all kinds of things to do, and we rarely pay for entertainment. Library, parks, our mall has a great play place that is good for rainy days. You also find that you will run into a lot of the same families, and then you may connect with others who are looking to start play groups or that already have play groups you can join. I have a 2.5 YO and an 8 month old, and the older rarely watches tv and the younger one doesn't. He is pretty good at entertaining himself, and has a great imagination.

Heidi - posted on 01/06/2011

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I know how you feel. I have only one child as well. He does go to daycare during the week. I pretty much just let him pick what he wants to do while he is at home to a point. I have been trying to give more constructive ideas to do with his parents or by himself. Also, what helps me sometimes is to let him help me with little chores around the house, especially when it pertains to his stuff.

Hazel - posted on 01/06/2011

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I have a 2 year old who is the only child and has no cousins, I read to her everday which she now does to her dolls. I get her to help me with the cleaning and cooking and the gardens which she loves. We go for short walks were she would be walking and get her to say the colour of houses and flowers. We would sing and dance and have turns at singing. Hope that helps.

Anca - posted on 01/05/2011

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playgrounds, parks w/pondto feed the ducks, make grocery shopping fun by letting her "help" you select the fruits and veggies (include her in decisions, even if you're going for the sales)--a subtle way to teach nutrition, play dough table activities, have a dancing party with her if she likes music (indoor dancing with her when it's rainy), playing catch (use a stuffed animal that catches her through the house, and "eats her tummy", laughing, and screaming), involve her in cooking (she can mix the salad dressing, or sprinkile nuts on the salad), check online free museum days (hard to find age-appropriate stuff for 2-year old), get her some building blocks and build together, print free coloring pages from the web, do finger paint, have a bubble chasing game in the park (or indoors if it's raining)--she can catch the bubbles you make, then she makes bubbles and you catch them. I know most of these suggestions involve your active participation. My 26-months old is also an only child, very verbal, very attached, and, yes, for most of the time, she wants me to participate in each and every second of her play. The only time i get a break, is when she watches a dvd--but even then, they say it's more stimulating if the parent watches with them and makes comments :) Local library is also great for borrowing books and dvd's for free, plus the seasonal sales some libraries have are a great opportunity to get 25 cent books.

Abbs - posted on 01/05/2011

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My daughter is 3 years old and right now isn't in daycare or preschool. She stays home with my parents (who are both retired and they watch her while my husband and I work). Unfortunately, she doesn't have any friends who live in our neighborhood. During the day, my parents will take her to the mall and she plays in a nice sized children's playground with other kids. She tends to meet new kids all the time. And they take her to the public library. At home, they either let her play with her V-tech learning game and they do coloring, spelling, reading, etc. She's also been doing really well doing jigsaw puzzles on the computer with my dad, so they had bought her a couple of easy jigsaw puzzle boards and loves them! So in a way she is being homeschooled and we keep her brain stimulated. When we're home, we all play the Wii Fit together which she loves, and we take her to the park and walk the dog, and let her just walk around and enjoy the scenery. We started doing more small hikes. She and I do a lot of arts and crafts (my hubby isn't crafty), and she loves to learn how to cook and bake with my mom and I!! She's always wanting to make brownies or cookies (mixes everything together, but knows that we put it in the oven). We're going to have her start preschool soon and are starting to look for a good one nearby.

Nasim - posted on 01/05/2011

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no problem jennifer i'm just so glad that i'm not the only one in this situation

[deleted account]

This is a great post i have a Daughter (soon to be be two) and is also an only child so its great to read on some new ideas, especially the ones we can easily do indoors as the weather lately has been unpredictable, I'll probably try all of these because my daughter loves the outdoors so she needs alot of activites to distract her from wanting to go outside to play :D
..If anyone has any more ideas I'd love to know them! thanks so much for posting!

Rachael - posted on 01/04/2011

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Sometimes my little guy likes just getting out and running my errands with me as long as I don't try to get too many in. If I take him to the grocery store with me I make sure to pack him a snack though b/c he starts wanting to eat while we shop! Also just taking a car ride to get him out of the house helps both of us sometimes. My little one has lots of energy too so I understand and he does not self play well so we are always having to play with him or entertain him. May be you could find another mom with a child close in age to yours, even a little older might be good and plan play dates every so often to give both moms a much needed break while the kids play! :) Good luck!

Cheryl - posted on 01/03/2011

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don't worry Mom, we all feel guilty at times leaving our children out...you need to understand that a child needs play time by themselves..they need to learn how to use their imagination and learn to like being alone..it teaches them to love reading or writing or coloring..you are not there to be their friend, you are her teacher and nurturer...learning games are fun..I spy or playing under tent or tea parties, they all love doing that...good luck

Donna - posted on 01/03/2011

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theres loads of things u can do. my 2 year old loves it when i give a basin of water with her bubble bath and she plays with her dolly and she mimics her bedtime routine I have with her, its so gr8 2 watch her. Play doh is good, supermarket cake kits are gr8 for quick to make cakes, my wee one loves baking. She loves helping out round the house, get ur wee one involved. If im taking the washing out the machine, she loves to help and tries to hang them up too. If ive been shopping she loves to unpack the shopping bags. Libraries are gr8, u should check out if they have toddler groups on, ours is weekly and they do rhyme and sign classes where they learn their nursery rhymes with the actions, its amazing how quickly they pick it up and start performing for their Grandparents for example, truly amazing. Good luck and have fun.

Lisa - posted on 01/02/2011

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I had the same problem for awhile and here is what I did: coloring books, puzzles, and flash cards. We do them all together and here are the extra benefits: he is learning through playing! We are already counting very well, know our colors, shapes, numbers, and some letters!

Gislaine (Gessie) - posted on 01/02/2011

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do u have any friends with kids her age??? Same scenario here but mine is 8 years old now,,,, what mine wanted the most was just to be with me,, color together,,, watch her shows with her etc... hope this helps Park close by????

Jodie - posted on 01/02/2011

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i make up flower and water and make playdough and my daughters is amused for hours with it and she also likes it when i give her a bowl of water to wash things in like plastic plates and her dolls hope that helps x

Nasim - posted on 01/01/2011

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thnx too dora but my library doesn't offer those fun things i know where i live is soo boring

Nasim - posted on 01/01/2011

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thnx alot kathryn i just went to the site and it was amazing i'll try some of the stuff on the weekend

Dora - posted on 12/31/2010

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I highly recommend looking into your public library. Many public libraries have tons of activities for small children at no cost. Crafts are also great to do with kids. My son is 2 1/2yrs old and he can sit there for a while just doing crafts...coloring, finger painting, etc.......... You can also see if your area has an ecology site. Usually those are free and there is a lot to do there. You can also contact your local fire department and ask for a tour of the fire house and the amazing fire trucks. Usually those are also at no cost.

Nasim - posted on 12/31/2010

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thnx alot for your advice sharon it sounds like you and your sound have fun alone i wish we had parks where i live i have a few things to entertain her with but you did give me a few ideas and i'm glad i'm not the only one in this situation.

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