If you are on a budget, it is hard to entertain toddlers and preschoolers who are used to going to McDonald’s and playing in the play area, to the park or even to play dates. You may have to find inside activities on a budget for your toddler or preschooler. This task sounds harder than it is. You would be surprised at how many activities there are to do inside on a budget.
Inside activities on a budget for toddlers and preschoolers:
Read – Most toddlers and preschoolers have books to read. You could sit with them and read to them. Talk with them about the story. Toddlers and preschoolers love the attention of one-on-one activities. You can read and show them the pictures or have them guess what is going to happen.
Dance – All children love music. Turn the radio on or even put your favorite CD in the player. Dance with your toddler or preschooler. If you are a bad dancer they will never know and they won’t care. So enjoy yourself and cut loose.
Build a fort – Every toddler and preschooler loves to hide and crawl in and out of things. You can pull out blankets or sheets and let your toddler or preschooler build a fort. You can help throw blankets over chairs. You may even want to sit in the fort. Your toddler or preschooler will enjoy this activity with you.
Play in the tub – Most toddlers love water. You can let them splash in the tub. For example, my daughter loved splashing in puddles. If there weren’t any puddles outside, I would put water in the tub, leave her dressed and we would “jump” in the tub. If your child likes to take baths, you can run a bath for your toddler or preschooler and let him or her play.
Clean – Has your toddler or preschooler ever followed you around wanting to clean? Why not give him or her a wipe and let them enjoy? You can give them a diaper wipe and let them clean off the counter or table. You can even let them wipe the windows with dry paper towels. Let them do whatever you are comfortable with cleaning afterwards. If it’s cleaning day anyway, let them “clean” first and you can clean afterwards. Toddlers and preschoolers love to vacuum and sweep. If they can handle it, let them.
Pretend – You and your toddler or preschooler can play pretend. Maybe one of you can be a dinosaur and the other a dragon. Anything is possible in imaginary play. Your toddler or preschooler seeing you pretend will develop their imagination.
Dress-up – Get your old clothes out and let your toddler or preschooler dress-up. They could be a worker, a princess, a mom or dad. Toddlers and preschoolers love to dress up. They will play for hours in old clothes.
Spray bottle – If you are going to let your child play with a spray bottle, you may want to have a particular target in mind. Your child should shoot the water at the windows or into the shower or tub. You don’t want to ruin carpet, or make floors wet and unsafe. If you use a spray bottle make sure to put towels around your target.
Make a band – Children love music. Whether they are listening to music or making the music themselves, they will enjoy music. You can make a band with your toddler using items in the house. Drums are easy to make. Anything that your child can bang on, can be your toddler’s drum. You can use pots and pans or even plastic bottles. If you have empty aluminum cans that are dry they could use them to bang on or to use as a tambourine. You can get macaroni out and shake it as well. Your toddler or preschooler will have a band in no time.
Play in water – You can fill up bowls with water and let your toddler or preschooler play. Put a towel down and let your toddler or preschooler play “water world” with his or her plastic toys. Your toddler or preschooler will love this activity.
Playing with your toddler will not only help them grow intellectually, but you will build a bond with your toddler. Your toddler will enjoy the attention and you will be able to take a break from driving all over town to find entertainment for your toddler or preschooler.