Author Topic: Toddler 'witching hour' activities  (Read 7205 times)

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Offline amayzie

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Toddler 'witching hour' activities
« on: July 18, 2013, 21:59:47 pm »
I'm just after a few ideas- I work 4 days and my DH works 5. So in the evenings I pick hamish up from my mum's and then we get home. I usually am making the dinner and DH will sort a few things out in the house- or something! This is of course the time that we are LEAST interested in creating stimulating activities for DS, and of course the period of time that he is LEAST interested in pottering around the house playing independently!! SOO- My grand plan is to put together some 'busy bags' or boxes of activities that DS can do by himself or alost by himself in the dining area and at his little table. Things that i can just pull out a different one of every day that he can occupy himself with to buy us a few more minutes!!


Any ideas?!
Katy, Mummy to Hamish!


Offline Buntybear

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Re: Toddler 'witching hour' activities
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2013, 22:10:45 pm »
Depends on what he likes to do? Some boys will push cars round for hours. Olly never would so I would have to go for crafts, a jigsaw (esp around H's age), lego? TBH at that time of the day he normally gets the TV so we ALL get some 'Y' time ::)

Offline Shiv52

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Re: Toddler 'witching hour' activities
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2013, 22:49:12 pm »
I think it's a good idea to have things you can pull out of your hat to entertain him but I think if you're working all day he probably can't be expected to self entertain no matter what the activity is as he is likely needing some mummy or daddy time. Can DH not leave the house things until after H is in bed and play with him while you do dinner or do dinner so you can have time with him?  Or even include him in the house stuff with DH. Otherwise i agree with pp to let him watch TV.

In that time when DH gets home from work to bedtime, I do dinner and he plays with the girls. We've banned iPhones and iPads at that time so they get 1:1 with him after not having seen him all day. After dinner we do board games and Simon says and that kind of stuff and then take a kid each and read books before heading upstairs.





Offline creations

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Re: Toddler 'witching hour' activities
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2013, 23:01:42 pm »
Does H like kids magazines? DS loves them and 'reads' them over and over until eventually they start to fall apart or get torn then I chop all the good pics out and we do a session together (not whilst you are making dinner of course!) sticking them onto a shoe box to decorate it and they become his busy boxes.
He has several busy boxes full of junk (sorry, precious things) any bits I pick up form the shop, free toys off magazines, little characters, random pebbles and pine cones he's collected on trips out, random stuff from party bags, just lots of different things to rummage through.  I also chop up the pictures off toy boxes (yk how they love the boxes!) and pop those in, he loves them even though he has the actual toy.  Some toys come with a large leaflet type thing showing tons of other toys in the collection, he loves looking at those too so they go in.

We also have some other boxes, not junk stuff:
- coloured cotton reels (rolling, stacking, sorting, counting) and a drinking straw (threading, it's easier than a string)
- coloured drinking straws (posting through a cereal box, sorting, counting etc) and an egg box (stabbing/construction)
- various containers with different types of closures, usually these are tubs from hand cream, make up or herb jars, spread tubs, screw top bottles, flip tops etc all thoroughly washed out of course (all plastic)
- cookie cutters (we have all sorts, animals, letters, numbers, shapes...)

One thing I am keeping an eye out for is a pair of salad server tongs, DS likes to serve himself dinner with the metal tongs but I don't feel comfortable leaving him with them, one edge is shaped in a way that could hurt if he fell of it or something. So with plastic tongs I would set up two bowls, one full of something like dried pasta or stones and let him practice his scissor skills.

Like Buntybear said though, DS will watch a bit of TV and have his chill out time if he's been busy out and about. And like Shiv said I'd more likely switch the plans around so that he got some mummy or daddy time, we rarely do anything that DS can't get involved in, we leave it until he's in bed.  He will clean the house with DP, vacuuming etc or I get him involved in making dinner or when DP isn't here DS will play kitchens in the kitchen with me whilst I cook.


Offline *jazzberry*

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Re: Toddler 'witching hour' activities
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2013, 00:21:38 am »
Yeh I agree with shiv. For us that time of day is disaster and always has been.. I am usually by myself so the kids have to entertain themselves, usually I BEG them to watch tv. Mine would not be capable of those kind of activities at that time of day, they are just too tired/hyper and would get frustrated and need my help. Tv all the way.. :-[

Offline amayzie

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Re: Toddler 'witching hour' activities
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2013, 02:16:45 am »
We've banned iPhones and iPads at that time so they get 1:1 with him after not having seen him all day.

Hmm- i think this might be something to consider- there is often a bit of candy crush saga going on in this time ::)

Great suggestions Creations!

Glad to see so many TV suggestions ;D
Katy, Mummy to Hamish!


Offline ZacsMumme

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Re: Toddler 'witching hour' activities
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2013, 02:20:38 am »
Yah we tend to have the TV on a little bit too much.
When DH is home though he has dedicated time with the boys, and I do anything else that has to be done. Dinner/clean up/get rooms ready for bed/shower... ;) DH will play blocks, duplo, forts (big in this house), cars etc.

Our bad time is 4.30-5.30 before DH home but generally home and Z bored. This is the only time he gets the iPad now. Seek and find (wonderkind apps I think) is fab and interactive but very simple. Z also likes the puzzles on the iPad.
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Offline *jazzberry*

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Re: Toddler 'witching hour' activities
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2013, 02:31:43 am »
Oh yeh we love seek and find!

Offline amayzie

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Re: Toddler 'witching hour' activities
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2013, 02:46:28 am »
Ooh! i'll have to look it up! I think it's hard as i know my mum already has him watch TV from about 4 or 4.30 or so waiting for me to pick him up- not the whole time probably- but i prefer to not just have him parked in front of the TV all afternoon. A couple of new Ipad apps might be good- you know if i get together a couple of activities, some new Ipad apps then at least it's not EVERY night that he's in front of the TV... I know ipad is also 'screen time'- but it does seem a little more engaging than the TV...
Katy, Mummy to Hamish!


Offline ZacsMumme

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Re: Toddler 'witching hour' activities
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2013, 02:51:48 am »
Oh yeh we love seek and find!
There is a new fire engine one too!

I like these because they are interesting and 'not' overly interactive YK? So the user makes each thing happen. It's not all going mad around them ;)
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Offline amayzie

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Re: Toddler 'witching hour' activities
« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2013, 03:02:11 am »
Another great one for us is called 'pango'- it's AWESOME for hamish's age- not too busy but plenty to do. Get the free one to see if it's suitable and then buy the full one- it was pretty cheap...
Katy, Mummy to Hamish!


Offline *jazzberry*

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Re: Toddler 'witching hour' activities
« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2013, 03:40:20 am »
Yeh all my kids enjoy ir, in fact i quite enjoy iy myself ::)  will look that one up katy

Offline ZacsMumme

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Re: Toddler 'witching hour' activities
« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2013, 06:14:50 am »
Same..I'm sure you will appreciate the f@rting animal in the farm one - you can turn it off if it offends you ;) bahaha I'm off to look up pango
***Sara***
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DS1 - Our sensitive soul. Silent reflux.

DS2 Our cheeky chipmunk. Reflux, MSPI.

Offline *jazzberry*

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Re: Toddler 'witching hour' activities
« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2013, 08:05:53 am »
Lol sara, no that is my (our ::) ) kind of humour. Off to download it....

Offline *jazzberry*

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Re: Toddler 'witching hour' activities
« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2013, 08:09:04 am »
Hmm can't find the fire engine one or the farm one ???

Offline ZacsMumme

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Re: Toddler 'witching hour' activities
« Reply #15 on: July 19, 2013, 08:19:59 am »
It's called tiny firefighters (sorry not fire engine) so try that in your app search. Ill e back with the other ;)
***Sara***
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DS1 - Our sensitive soul. Silent reflux.

DS2 Our cheeky chipmunk. Reflux, MSPI.

Offline ZacsMumme

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Re: Toddler 'witching hour' activities
« Reply #16 on: July 19, 2013, 08:23:18 am »
Not sure why but it's under 'books' but it's a seek and find. The best bits are cat up tree, then rescue it with ladder firetruck.cow in pond, or tree blown over with wind cloud - rescue with crane firetruck ;)

Other one is 'my animals'. In it you get 3 - one is free. I think you pay for the one that is 'my farm'
There is also 'little town' and 'animal circus' each has one free.
***Sara***
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DS1 - Our sensitive soul. Silent reflux.

DS2 Our cheeky chipmunk. Reflux, MSPI.

Offline Hedgehog17

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Re: Toddler 'witching hour' activities
« Reply #17 on: July 19, 2013, 08:51:56 am »
If you don't mind a bit of mess, you can give him discovery trays or tubs to play with  :)

There are heaps of ideas on Pinterest  ;D

You can fill them with anything, make them along a theme, even have edible ones! If LO doesn't put things in their mouth any more you have even more options  :)

Also include scoops, tongs, cups and bowls then LO can practise their fine motor skills while playing.

I recently made a pirate treasure one for DS - pirate coins buried in dried beans which he had to dig for and put in his pirate treasure chest  ;D I also included some other items to find. He kept going back to it for the whole week it was out!

Offline ZacsMumme

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Re: Toddler 'witching hour' activities
« Reply #18 on: July 19, 2013, 19:48:52 pm »
HH I love this idea. I've been thinking about it for Z but I can't work out what I would put them in. What size tray/dish do you use? And do you just gt them doing it in the kitchen or on a play mat? X
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Offline koe2moe

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Re: Toddler 'witching hour' activities
« Reply #19 on: July 19, 2013, 19:57:41 pm »
When DS was that age, and just grabbed my  legs while I tried to cook, I put cooking toys on the counter, so he cooked with me!  That is, if he likes that kind of things.  I found that DS would be more willing to play independently if I spent a few minutes with him first, a story or just play a few minutes together and I explained that after this, I would have to start making dinner.  It feels like his mama cup gets filled before me going off.  (Mind you, that was with me being with him the whole day!)  Would it work for you?



Offline creations

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Re: Toddler 'witching hour' activities
« Reply #20 on: July 19, 2013, 20:36:49 pm »
pirate coins buried in dried beans which he had to dig for and put in his pirate treasure chest
I've made a similar sort of thing as an outside toy for DS. We only have a roof terrace so are limited what we can do out there (no water or sand play).  I bought one of those sort of under bed storage boxes with a lid, shallowish so that if sat next to it there isn't too much of a stretch for small arms to get over the rim iyswim.
I filled ours (about one third full) will chunky stones from a garden centre (bought a sack and used about half), then some special treasure stones, also from the garden centre (various colours and shapes available, I got some marbles too).  And we've got a digger and truck, little rake and trowel etc to dig up the treasure stones.  We've also got a bunch of dinosaurs in there atm.  plastic bugs are good for finding too.
Don't know about elsewhere but in the UK garden centres almost always have free planting trays, card and polystyrene which you can just help yourself to.  The planting trays are a great addition to the tray for sorting different stuff into, making mazes or landscaping etc.  They are also good for indoor invitations to play for sorting things or construction, imaginative play etc.


Offline Hedgehog17

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Re: Toddler 'witching hour' activities
« Reply #21 on: July 20, 2013, 08:23:12 am »
HH I love this idea. I've been thinking about it for Z but I can't work out what I would put them in. What size tray/dish do you use? And do you just gt them doing it in the kitchen or on a play mat? X

Hi Sara,

I got what they call a shirt storage box from the DIY store. It's 37cm long, 30cm wide and 15.5cm deep, is made of strong clear plastic and has a lid. We can use it for water play too (I made a frog pond with craft foam lilypads and plastic frogs for him last week, safely stored with the lid on when not in use)  ;D For the treasure hunt I filled it with 2kg of mung beans which were on offer at the supermarket (Ramadan special event I think!) and buried loads of plastic pirate coins. As creations says, you can also bury plastic animals and bugs for them to find  :)

I just let him have it on the floor as it's easy enough to sweep up any spilled beans - DS always helps pick them up or uses his little dustpan and brush as he knows that's the rules for this kind of play. After use the beans go back in the bag and can be used for play again. As long as they are kept separate from stuff you actually may ever eat then it's fine  ;) For water play indoors I just put big towels down on the floor. For outside it doesn't matter!

If you really want to contain the mess then you could put LO and the tub in one of those car boot liner tarpaulins which clip together ar the corners to provide a lip all around?

DS likes pouring the beans through a funnel into a container so I always make sure there are scoops, small containers and a funnel in the tub as well  :)

Offline Buntybear

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Re: Toddler 'witching hour' activities
« Reply #22 on: July 22, 2013, 20:46:31 pm »
HH I love this idea. I've been thinking about it for Z but I can't work out what I would put them in. What size tray/dish do you use? And do you just gt them doing it in the kitchen or on a play mat? X

This blog has tons of ideas for those kind of trays and other things. I have signed up for emails too.

http://theimaginationtree.com/

Offline ZacsMumme

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Re: Toddler 'witching hour' activities
« Reply #23 on: July 22, 2013, 22:25:18 pm »
Thanks ladies! Hunting today ;)

Katy - Z loves pango!
***Sara***
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DS2 Our cheeky chipmunk. Reflux, MSPI.

Offline amayzie

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Re: Toddler 'witching hour' activities
« Reply #24 on: July 23, 2013, 08:53:14 am »
Katy - Z loves pango!

Knew he would!! We've got it on the iphones as well ::) We do love to go out for dinner and breakfast with a toddler...

Thanks for the other great ideas ladies! I got him involved with making the dinner tonight and that was really good- i've always been keen for him to help, but have thought 'oh- it's too hard' becuase i'll be mainly using hot things. Tonight i was microwave cooking some pasta so i got him to pour the pasta and the water into the bowl- he LOVED it- thought he was a real chef!! ;D

I think i'll leave the beans tray idea for a different time of the day- i'd prefer something a bit easier to set up- as in all in one bag and choose another bag... Actually- i've thought of what i can do based on that with a bean tray- i'l have a think some more!!
Katy, Mummy to Hamish!


Offline cuckoochick

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Re: Toddler 'witching hour' activities
« Reply #25 on: July 23, 2013, 11:47:32 am »
Yes after reading this thread I purchased the pango app and C is now addicted!




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Re: Toddler 'witching hour' activities
« Reply #26 on: July 23, 2013, 11:52:43 am »
by dinner time L often likes 'easy' activities which don't demand her to think too much (not puzzles etc).  Water play aka washing fruit/veg at the kitchen sink can keep her happily occupied for ages (in toddler terms) whilst I prepare dinner and she feels like she is helping.

She also likes to choose her plate and cutlery from the cupboard and drawer and lay the table with them (which sometimes keeps her occupied for much longer than you would think!).
DD1 - 8 years old
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Offline ZacsMumme

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Re: Toddler 'witching hour' activities
« Reply #27 on: July 23, 2013, 23:15:21 pm »
Nicola try the seek and finds too, they are similar ;)
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DS2 Our cheeky chipmunk. Reflux, MSPI.

Offline amayzie

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Re: Toddler 'witching hour' activities
« Reply #28 on: July 23, 2013, 23:50:03 pm »
I found one of the seek and finds- but I think it may be better on the ipad- I've just got them on the phone currently. I'll check them out!
Katy, Mummy to Hamish!


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Re: Toddler 'witching hour' activities
« Reply #29 on: July 24, 2013, 00:40:52 am »
Yeah you need a decent screen
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DS2 Our cheeky chipmunk. Reflux, MSPI.