I love food coloring.
Today we took it outside and played with colorful water. Because I didn’t want my toddler (“J”) to squeeze an entire vial into a small cup and then immediately dump it on the ground, I put them up on our fence and was personally in charge of adding them as needed. This was a great way for him to practice the names of colors: “Green! Blue! Yellow!” For some reason, he never asked for red.
This was definitely messy and wet. I brought out the garden hose and turned it on very low so J could use it himself without getting very wet and we weren’t wasting a ton of water. To be honest, I think J would have been just as happy with the water alone, but the food coloring made for a fun change of pace.
Garden hose or other water source
Containers and spoons, etc., to play with (we used pots/pans and utensils from Goodwill)
- Dress yourself and your child for the possibility of getting wet. It’s best to do this on a relatively warm or hot day.
- Collect your containers and utensils, and set up a play area in a place that is accessible to your water source.
- Put some water in some of the containers, add a little food coloring, and have fun!
All you need is a little vinegar and water, rags, a bowl, and a pitcher!
Wash the floors? Yuck. Definitely one of my least favorite things to do and the last thing I want to do after my toddler (“J”) goes to sleep and I have a few hours to myself for the first time all day.
But what if I invited J to help me wash the floors?
Genius! He loves playing with water and frequently dumps our dog’s water bowl onto the floor before I can get there to stop him. He likes to sweep, vacuum, and wipe off the table. And now, I know that he likes helping wash the floor!
Medium-to-large unbreakable bucket or bowl
Pitcher or other container made with a spout for pouring
Rags (or scrubbing brush if preferred)
- Fill the pitcher or bowl/bucket with warm water and a small amount of white cooking vinegar. Vinegar is safe in small amounts, especially if watered down, so this is a safe cleaning mix for your child to work with (provided they don’t start drinking large quantities!). If you prefer, you can use only water.
- Be sure not to put too much water/vinegar into the bucket or pitcher. It should be a small amount so that if/when it is dumped on the floor, it won’t be a big mess.
- Give your child the pitcher and bucket, as well as a rag. Show him or her how to dip the rag into the water mixture and then scrub the floor.
- Your child may enjoy wiping the floor or may focus on the water, splashing it and/or pouring it back and forth. Fine! I let J pour the water back and forth from bowl to pitcher and then pitcher to bowl. Eventually, he dumped it all on the floor and asked for more. I simply put my rag into the water and used it to wash the floor after giving him some more water to play with!
Easy, cheap, and CLEAN! Who doesn’t love an activity that leaves your house cleaner than when you started, rather than messier?!
This is the easiest and most amazing (and free!) toy ever. J loves the salt shaker and if I open the spice drawer, will scramble over as fast as he can and try to grab any spice he can. He loves to shake them, which of course results in salt or spices ALL OVER.
I decided he might like to play with something like this using sand, dirt, or water, so I created a “shaker” for him. You can play with it in the water (bathtime, water table, pool, etc.) or in the sand and dirt. If you made the holes larger, you could even use it with small gravel or other substances.
Empty plastic container with lid (I used an old peanut butter container)
- Thoroughly clean the plastic container and remove any labels.
- Decide what size you want the holes to be and select the correct drill bit. Be sure not to make the holes too small, or nothing will easily come out of them.
- Drill holes around the lid in whatever configuration you want, being careful to be consistent but not getting too close to the edges.
Super easy, super cheap, and super fun!