Words can’t begin to describe all the emotions I am currently feeling with everything happening in the world. Emotions as a mama, employee, student, friend, wife and all the emotions that I am personally feeling towards myself. As of March 29th, we will remain quarantined until at least April 31st. My husband and I are still very fortunate that we are both able to work from home. And let me be the first to say that working full time at home with a toddler is not the easiest. Is it rewarding? Yes. Do I want to pull my hair out? Yes. One thing is certain though, bubba definitely keeps us on our toes and we really have a lot of fun.
My advice to handle all the craziness? Take it day by day and find something that you’re grateful for each day. That has really helped with my mental health and staying positive. The first week in quarantine, I stressed myself out trying to come up with a schedule for bubba and got frustrated when we didn’t stay on schedule. Then I saw this quote on Facebook that hit home for me.
” Don’t worry about them regressing in school. Every single kid is in this boat and they all will be okay. When we are back in the classroom, we will all course correct and meet them where they are. Teachers are experts at this! Don’t pick fights with your kids because they don’t want to do math. Don’t scream at your kids for not following the schedule. Don’t mandate 2 hours of learning time if they are resisting it.
” If I can leave you with one thing, it’s this: at the end of all this, your kids’ mental health will be more important than their academic skills. And how they felt during this time will stay with them long after the memory of what they did during those 4 or more weeks is long gone. So keep that in mind, every single day.”
It was hard to get Mason to sit to do a craft, counting activity, color, flashcards to learn new words and we were both frustrated. I saw that quote and I realized that there was no point in stressing out. I suddenly realized that we could totally make play time educational. Bubba is so full of energy and he loves to play, run around, and dance so why not do all those things while teaching him how to count, say words, and keep him active. These 4 spring activities will not only keep your toddler busy, but will also teach them a thing or two!
Activity 1- Ball Pit/Basketball:
- Baby Pool
- 100+ plastic balls
- Basketball Net (you can even use a small bucket/box or anything that will work so that your toddler can shoot the ball at it)
I remembered loving ball pits as a kid and I knew bubba would love it too. We already had a plastic baby pool in the garage to use as the pit and while walking around Target a few weeks ago I saw this giant bag of balls. One of Mason’s favorite play time activity is playing basketball with the Vtech Sport Center we got him for his birthday which also teaches him shapes, numbers and sounds. We surprised him after his nap and had it already set up outside. The look on his face said it all: “mama you’re doing a great job.” He threw balls everywhere and refused to get out of the “ball pit” and just had a blast. The weather hasn’t been cooperating so we have had to set it up inside and he still loves it.
- To make this activity educational: we counted the balls (I go up to 10) and we went over colors since each ball is a different color.
Activity 2- Water Sensory Table:
- Tub/Water Table – you can even use a plastic bin
- Bath Toys
- Plastic flowers/plants
- Spring themed trinkets- I found really good ones from dollar section at Target and Dollar Store
If there is one thing that bubba loves, it’s playing with water. He loves baths, he loves to wash his hands in the sink so he can splash the water, he loves fountains you can throw coins in, he loves the pool and basically he is a fish. I always wanted to make him a sensory table so I knew that it had to be a water one for my little Nemo to be intrigued by it. I purchased a water table which we already were planing to for the summer since we love being outside, but now that were in quarantine we figured there was no better time than now. If you shop around, you’ll see that there are so many different kinds but we went with the most affordable. We filled his sensory table with balls, bath toys, fake flowers, fake leaves, cups, and animals that grew the longer it sat in the water. The only downside to this was that bubba did not want us to put away his sensory table and was sad when all the water was drained out.
- To make this activity educational: sensory play is important because it allows your toddler to stimulate their senses, supports language development, cognitive growth, fine and gross motor skills and I have found that it was very calming for bubba. Also we were able to group and count the items in the water, go over colors, name animals and make their sounds, and introduced him to flowers and leaves.
Activity 3- Backyard Picnic
Although it has rained more and not as warm as we would like, we’ve had a couple days with 60-70 degree weather. We definitely take advantage and stay outside. Sunshine and warm weather is so good for your soul. Picnics are a lot of fun and you can totally have one anytime in your backyard or even an indoor picnic in your living room. I decided to do this after Mason’s nap since he wakes up around 2-3pm and just like his mama always needs snacks after his nap. A lunch picnic would also be fun + it’s just good to relax and snack. Snacks are a must during quarantine so definitely stock up.
- To make this educational: you can teach your little one names of fruit, colors using fruit and use snacks like Goldfish/peanut butter crackers to do some counting.
Activity 4: Water/Plant Flowers
I loved helping my mom with watering the garden as a kid and I figured since Mason loves to play with water, he would enjoy helping me water the plants. If your child is older than bubba and can follow along with planting flowers/garden then definitely do it with them. Because Bubba is only 18 months old, I decided we would just water Grandmom’s plants and flowers for now!
- To make this educational: Use the colors of the flowers to teach them about different colors, and teach them names of the flowers. You would be very surprised how much information your little one absorbs. When Mason is older, we will definitely teach him more about the science that goes behind planting flowers and gardening as wells as taking care of living things.
Here are a few more fun activities I have planed for Mason in the next couple of weeks:
- Easter Celebration- Egg Hunt and Easter Basket
- Mess Free Painting (DIY blog post coming)
- Family movie night when Trolls 2 comes out!
My advise is to take this quarantine day by day especially if you’re a mama like me and not only have to work from home, but take care of your toddler + be their teacher during this time. Each job is so different and doing all three is extremely hard. But it is suppose to be hard because we are only human. Remember to give yourself grace and try not to stress out if you can’t do it all. I am his mama first so I choose that hat first always! And while times are crazy right now, take a deep breath, be present and enjoy all the extra snuggles and kisses. Everything else will work out! Stay safe mamas and I hope this helps.