Irish born Ciara Hannam, mother of one two year old little girl, Fiadh (pronounced Fia) and one two week old baby boy, Oisín (pronounced Osheen) lives in Bristol with her husband, James. Qualified yoga teacher on the side, music lover and marketeer in a tech firm, Ciara serves up her experiences of motherhood, the good, the bad and the sometimes ugly with a side of some tried and tested wins that helped her along the way. Definitely still learning though.
Things to do with babies and Toddlers
Coming up with new and interesting ways to entertain our little ones can often be a challenge, especially when there’s more than one in the picture. I for one have spent quite a bit of time researching elaborate entertainment ideas online, trawling marketplace for toys at silly o’ clock in the morning whilst up with the baby but I eventually came to the conclusion that the simplest of things do the trick. I’ve come to realise that as long as I’m fully present and engaged with my little ones, whatever we are up to, that’s all they really want. However, sometimes we all need a bit of direction and inspiration especially when the tiredness takes over, so here are a few simple tips and tricks to keep both babies and toddlers entertained, whatever the weather.
- Host your very own sports day in the back garden or local park. Think egg and spoon, relays, three legged races (without the baby in tow) but if your baby likes to be in a sling, they can join in too.
- Buy some giant chalk sticks and draw hopscotch squares wherever you can find a safe space to play.
- Get the swimming costumes on, turn the garden hose up and get your little one to run through/under the ‘waterfall’. If it’s a hot day, it’s a great one to cool down for you, baby and toddler. Guaranteed giggles and squeals from everyone!
- Water play using a bucket, water table or child’s kitchen, fill with water and some washing up liquid. Get a range of kitchen utensils such as a ladle, a plastic jug or Tupperware and fill and pour until your hearts’ content. If the baby is joining in, leave out the washing up liquid as it’s inevitably going to get in their mouth.
- Bubble solution and a large bubble wand. Always a winner.
- Build a den out of outdoor furniture and old bed sheets and invite baby and toddler to come in for tea or a picnic.
- Set up a teddy bears picnic, complete with blanket and all your picnic favourites.
- It’s blackberry season, so why not get out and about with your buckets (and bibs as it can get very messy) and get picking.
- Keep empty toilet rolls and get arty and crafty. There are endless characters that you can make with these such as a postman, a police officer, binoculars for a pirate and with some cardboard, tin foil and child-safe scissors you can make a sword to match.
- Finger paints and paper for handprints and footprints. Don’t forget to lay down some newspaper or an old sheet for mess.
- The playdough fruit bowl – Try recreating the items in your fruit bowl out of playdough.
- ‘Hide the lemon’ – It’s a plastic lemon from our supermarket shopping basket in our case but obviously you can hide anything. We take turns hiding it and guide each other towards it by saying ‘hot’ or ‘cold’ or any number of temperature related words to help each other out. The warmer you get the higher pitched your voice becomes.
- Bake some healthy treats together (mainly a toddler one but the baby can reap the rewards if they are on solids). A favourite in our house soda bread. A bowl each and half the ingredients for a mini version. The prep is as fun as making the bread itself.
- Puzzles, sticker books and stacking bricks into giant towers also great for toddlers but to ensure the baby can feel involved, we do them on the floor so they baby can watch from his bouncer.
The activities that need your undivided attention such as baking with the toddler, I work in around the baby’s morning nap. These are just a few of the things that we enjoy together as a trio and hope they provide some inspiration. We, of course, keep our gorgeous Cotton Boulevard outfits for the less messy ones of the bunch. Happy playing!
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