Forget the trips to Toys R Us. As long as they are toddlers you can find plenty to do with junk around the house and whatever is in your pantry.
I’ve realized that flour and water – arguably among the cheapest and most abundant resources available – have enough uses to keep a toddler occupied for an entire weekend.
1) Five-minute no-cook easy play-doh. If you don’t have food coloring or veggies you can dye with, plain will do just fine in a pinch.
2) Papier Mache: Just even out the ratio between flour and water and you have the glue for papier mache. Add a pinch of salt to prevent mold and rip up the Sunday Paper.You can papier mache just about anything – cans, bottles, cups – pretty much whatever is sitting in your recycling bin.
3) Paint the walls with water. Little ones love this – just give them a cup of water and a paint brush and they can paint til their hearts content without ruining the furniture. This works especially well on painted walls or if you have a chalkboard.
4) Flour sifting. This is great for kids between 18 months and 3. Fill a bowl with flour or oatmeal or any other dry pantry goods. Dry pasta is another great one for this, especially if you have colorful shapes. You can hide “treasures” for the kids to find, or just let them play with the different textures using bowls, spoons, cups, and shovels. My occupational therapist friend also recommends this as a great sensory exercise.
5) And, of course, if you have some butter and sugar around, you can have your toddler help you make some cookies!