Imagine 30 minutes of peace to yourself… maybe even an hour? With a toddler and a newborn it can be tough to take care of everyone's needs at once. Getting my 3 year old to entertain himself was a game-changer for me, as I’m sure it will be for you.
We have a playroom for the kids, an area where they spend a lot of time. But I have a small chest of toys in the living room, near the kitchen. We call them “chest toys”. Chest toys only come out when I need time to cook dinner, or put the baby down and no one else is around to help. I bring my son to the chest and let him choose one of the toys. Since these are presented to him asspecial toys, he’s happy to play with just the one toy, on his own. He’s usually good for about 30 minutes which is enough time for me to clean the bathroom or put dinner in the oven.
Now, I have found the type of toy you keep in your special chest makes a difference too. Noisy toys are especially great in the chest… sure they might squeak or make other annoying noises for 30 minutes, but I’ve found it’s a worthwhile trade-off because of the chores I’m getting done.
Toys with a lot of pieces, or that come in “sets” are great for the chest. If there’s little people with little cars and little furniture for him to build and rearrange - it’s not only helping his creativity, but it's keeping him busy for an hour.
I like to keep simple crafts in the chest as well. Right now my toddler is still a little young to play with scissors or paint by himself, but he loves to color and he loves to color unusual objects. I’ve surprised him by having paper towels, sand paper, shoe boxes… anything different he loves to color on.
Cooking toys are great in the chest too, especially if you’re cooking at the same time. It's fun to see how entertained a toddler can be with just a plastic bowl and a whisk. Measuring cups provide plenty of entertainment too.