As a parent, when you need a quiet moment, it’s tempting to place your children in front of the TV or tablet to be entertained. But there is a growing body of research that highlights the negative effects of too much screen time for young children. So I’ve put together a small list of three screen free, quiet, and engaging activities for toddlers and young children.
These bottles have a few different names: I Spy Bottles, Calm Down Bottles, Sensory Bottles, or Discovery Bottles. No matter what name you call them though, toddlers and young kids love them. These keep your child quietly entertained as they search for different items floating in the bottle.
How to make them?
Discovery Bottles are easy to make yourself, and making them yourself allows you to add a personalized touch to each one. You can choose to make it glittery and flashy, or more simple and calming.
A Container: You will need a plastic container with a lid. You can use empty water bottles or you can purchase a container specifically for this project. Just make sure it’s a good size for your child to hold.
Liquid Filler: Discovery Bottles can be filled with almost anything. The most popular fillers are Glitter Glue, baby oil, hair gel, uncooked rice, or just plain water. The thicker your filler, the slower the items will move and float around.
Filler Items: Again, you can put almost any little item in these, just make sure whatever you put into the bottle won’t disintegrate into the liquid. The most popular items are sea shells, glitter, alphabet beads, plastic beads, small plastic gems, and small plastic animals.
Hot Glue Gun: I would strongly suggest permanently closing your Discovery Bottle by putting a ring of hot glue around the lid and letting it dry closed.
Place your small trinkets into the bottle first, then add your liquid filler and any glitter.
Then apply a small ring of hot glue around the rim of the bottle and secure the lid on tight. Once the glue is dry, it’s ready for your child to examine.
Color Matching with Paint Chips
This is another quiet activity you can create ahead of time, when you need your child to be entertained for a moment.
Color Paint Swatches or Chips. Just make sure to get two of each swatch, or ones that are large enough to cut in half
Clothes Pins. Enough for each color.
White Elmers Glue
Cut a strip of each color and glue it onto a clothes pin. Once dry, allow your child to match the color onto the paint swatch.
Color Matching With Fruit Loops
This is an activity that allows your child to play and snack. In my opinion, it doesn’t get much better than that.
- Fruit Loops Cereal
- Colored Markers
- Painters Tape
Start by drawing large colored circles onto white paper for your child. Then show them how to sort the cereal by color. If your child is young, or new to sorting, you may want to only offer them three colors to sort at first.
The second activity is to string the cereal onto the yarn to make a necklace. Prep the yarn by wrapping a small piece of tape to the end to keep it from fraying. This also makes it a little easier for your child to string it through the cereal.
I hope these ideas help you find a few moments of peace and quiet, and your child a few moments of joy and learning.
For some fun fall activities for you toddler check out this post!