Alexa gets into EVERYTHING these days. She also seems to be getting bored with many of her toys. I'm not ready to buy her a whole bunch of new toys with the holidays right around the corner, so I've come up with some new old ideas to keep my little bean happy, busy and out of trouble.
1. Laundry. Every time I fold laundry Alexa likes to "help", unfortunately her idea of helping means twice as much work for me. Here's how I make it productive for me and fun for her...
Dump all the clean, dry clothes on top of the baby. I keep the laundry basket on the couch so that as I fold things they stay folded, but Alexa has fun playing peekaboo and hiding under the clothes. Sometimes she'll even hand me something to fold!
2. Build a fort. Use a fitted sheet, big bath towels or any blanket and build a fort in the living room. Tuck the sheet around couch cushions or the coffee table to secure your fort. Bring a bunch of toys into the fort and play as long as your little one is interested. You can also play hide and seek or peekaboo in the fort.
3. Get a change of scenery. Something so simple that I can't believe I didn't think of it sooner! Moving into the kitchen, the baby's room or even your bedroom can do wonders to cure boredom and keep a very nosy baby occupied. I keep a few toys under Alexa's high chair to play with while I'm cooking meals, now I let her play on the kitchen floor instead of cooped up in her high chair and she finds these same exact toys 10x more entertaining! I also have a small canvas box in her bedroom with stuffed animals and a puzzle that she doesn't play with very often. When we break that box out she'll play for 20 minutes or more. Take baby into your bedroom and have snuggle time, read a book, play the radio and have a dance party or even bounce her on your bed.
4. Sandbox. If you don't have your own backyard or your own personal sandbox, take baby to a local park or playground to explore in the sandbox. It's a little late to find sand toys now, but a few plastic containers and a scoop or spoon of some kind is all you need! Don't stress if baby eats a little sand either, after all, it's just dirt!
5. Get a cardboard box. Seriously, I don't know why we as parents have not learned that the greatest toy is pretty much free. Babies LOVE cardboard boxes. I don't know what's so great about a cube of cardboard, but it is all the rage with little ones. As soon as your little one can sit up you can sit them in a cardboard box (or laundry basket). Add a couple of small rattles and it's a party! When your little one gets older (12-18 months) replace the toys with some crayons and let them get creative!
6. Finger painting. Alexa LOVES doing crafts and finger painting is at the top of her list. Recently, I let her finger paint her pumpkin for Halloween, but most of the time I just let her go crazy painting the tray of her high chair. This time I put a towel over the high chair and saran wrap on the tray to see if it would make clean up even easier. If you have press n seal wrap, that works likes a charm! I like to have little mementos so I usually start her off with a piece of paper on the tray, but once that is covered it's a free for all. I always add a drop of her baby wash to each blob of paint for easier clean up and we always paint in just a diaper!
7. Tupperware. Babies love Tupperware. It's so versatile. It can be banged, sucked on, chewed on, it holds things, hides things...the possibilities are endless. Set your little one up on the floor and surround them with as many plastic containers as you're willing to wash! You can stack them, hide other small toys or smaller containers under them, or create your own baby rock band.
8. Dance Party. Turn the radio on to YOUR favorite station and rock out with baby. Teach baby to bob up and down and dance alone and then pick him up and spin him around the room. Alexa and I have a daily dance party in the morning while I'm getting my coffee ready. She always enjoys a surprise dance party around the living room or bouncing up and down on our bed.