With this little toddler being the fourth little toddler I have had the honour to raise, I remember this phase so vividly well. Never again will I be so needed by this tiny human! This toddler of mine seems to require me by her side every moment of her day watching her play, eat, or poop.
Now I am certainly embracing these special moments (not so much the poop moments – but the other ones), but we are also a homeschooling family with other children who also require my time. Not to mention the other day to day things that I need to accomplish here and there – always a million times quicker without a toddler on my hip.
SO I have been coming up with a few little toddler activities to help my little one engage in independent play – even if just for a few short moments. I know from experience that these short moments will grow longer and her independence will grow naturally.
This particular toddler activity was a huge hit, so I thought I would share it with you. This one is great to keep close to the kitchen for when you are trying to get dinner ready.
We made a paper roll drop!
We took some paper rolls – we used empty wrapping paper rolls, but paper towel tubes or toilet paper rolls would work as well. We had a few that were slightly wider than others, which really added to the learning and fun. We chopped them in different sizes and spent some time together painting and decorating them.
This is a really important step. I have found over the years that in order for quiet time or independent time to really work, I need to first fill up my little one with time of connection and togetherness.
Once the tubes were dry, I found a long piece of ribbon (it had just been Christmas, so wrapping paper rolls and ribbon were plentiful! Any string at all would work for this activity).
We started by tying the ribbon to one chair, threading the paper towel tubes on, and tying the ribbon to a smaller chair. You could also tie the ribbon to a lower rung on a similar size chair – or even straight across if you don’t want the paper towel tubes to slide down.
My toddler loved playing with these tubes this way! She could fit one inside the other and make them pass through one another. She also loved pushing them from one chair and watching them zip to the other.
However, this set up wasn’t super sturdy – at least not for the busy way my little one was playing with this activity – so the chairs would move and the ribbon would not be held tight – or the chairs would even tip over.
We decided to move this activity to the window ledge. I taped one end of the ribbon to the top of a window ledge and the other to the floor. I really secured it with tape and it held very well. Masking or painters tape worked for us, but if you really have a go-getter you might choose to use duct tape (I have had a few go-getters myself!)
Norah was practicing so many different skills. She was crossing midline, building her fine motor skills, strengthening her hands, building hand-eye coordination, improving gross motor skills, and learning all about math and science as she played with how the tubes slid and which ones would fit inside others.
And I made dinner all on my own!
I hope this activity is a hit for your little toddler as well, my sweet friend! Thank you so much for reading.
If you love this activity, you are sure to love my program for 2-3 year olds called Play into Kindergarten Readiness! One 20 minute activity per day and all of the core skills are taught through play! Check it out right here: Play into Kindergarten Readiness.