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  #1  
Old 04/03/11, 02:06 PM
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Middle TN, Where the Hilltops Kiss the Sky
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Need ideas for keeping a 2 1/2 year old busy

We have had custody of our great niece for almost 2 years and were able to adopt her in Feb. (YAY!) As "older" parents, we are having a hard time keeping our little girl busy. To say that she gets into "EVERYTHING" doesn't even begin to describe her. She RUNS from one thing to the next. We've tried the typical kid stuff, puzzles, legos, etc. Nothing interests her for more than a couple of minutes, and getting into things she's not supposed to interests her most of all. But of course it does, she's 2, right? Any new ideas on how to keep a 2 year old occupied? Come on, I know you are a creative bunch here!! Please HELP! I need some new ideas!

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  #2  
Old 04/03/11, 04:05 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: SW Michigan
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tape
bubble wrap
a plastic bottle, lid and things that fit inside
a kitten
magnets and a fridge
cookie cutters and play dough
a sand box
a row of shoes- fuzzy ones too
a pile of cardboard boxes
a table with a blanket draped over it for a 'play house'

come to think of it - what doesn't keep a 2yr old busy!?!

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  #3  
Old 04/03/11, 04:15 PM
 
Join Date: May 2002
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When my kids were that age, they did whatever I did next to me. If I was cooking, they were given a little bread dough to "knead". If I was washing dishes, they were playing with plastic ware in their "water", or standing in front of me on a chair "washing" with me. If I were folding clothes, they would find a sock and fold it too. Outside, while I weeded, they wrote with sidewalk chalk. make a place in your cabinets that she can stack plastic things, or pots. Take her outside several times a day and let her run around and climb. That will tire her out enough to concentrate a little longer when she is inside and to take a nap.

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  #4  
Old 04/03/11, 04:38 PM
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: sc
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I practiced the same sort of attachment parenting that MidTn Mama is talking about.
It helped a lot in 'slowing things down' and you talk and 'teach' while you're doing the daily tasks that you need to do anyway.

One of the goals, an actual goal, is to set about to lengthen attention span. Helping her focus on one thing longer than two minutes takes YOUR time but it worth it in a couple of short years, when she will be better able to read and play imaginatively on her own more.

When my three were two, we read a lot of books, and we had certain set times each day where we did that. We read other times, but we ALWAYS read for a while after breakfast, while dinner was cooking(if there was sit time) and before bed.

At two I had some 'file folder games' they were matching type games that taught colors and numbers and things, Got the master book at an education store and used the 'games' daily from about 18 months for a few minutes at a time.

Think outside the box for toys. Boxes, old fashioned pipecleaners, legos that she can build with. BUT, if she really is running between things every two minutes, reduce, seriously reduce the number of choices. When tiny ones are faced with too many things to do and too many choices to make, it makes it very hard for them to focus. We kept one 'station' per room, never more... mine had a little play kitchen set over to the side in the kitchen, a table and chair for drawing and playdough play in the dining room, the train set in the living room. Sometimes, I'd put away the train set and bring out the legos for a week, then take that away and bring out building blocks.

Kids with too many toys, especially at two year of age, simply can't find the ability to focus. Paring down the selection is a very, very important thing.

Mine at two were actively engaged in nursery at church. They had several hour stretches at least three times a week, where they had activities planned and other kids their age to interact with.

And outdoor time is critical. Mine had an outdoor set of pots and pans and a pretend kitchen set up on a tree stump. They made mud pies (dirt is a GOOD thing) and made roads and villages for their little cars and dump trucks. We kept chalk for drawing on the brick walk and the concrete pad by the barn. And at 2 they can use some form of trike/riding toy. There are those that you push along with your feet (your= the kids, you're not doing the pushing here) or ones you pedal. My 2 year olds had a little radio flyer scooter that they perambulated with their feet. WORE them out!

I wish you luck with your baby. I was raised by my great aunts and uncles, so I know what a life giving, life saving thing this can be. Accolades to you for finalizing the adoption. That was never done for me so I never felt like it was a permanent situation, always waiting on something else to happen and to change. May God bless your efforts and both you and your little girl.

dawn

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  #5  
Old 04/03/11, 04:43 PM
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Coloring books and crayons, clothes and shoes she can use as dress up, flash cards for alphabet, animals and colors.

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  #6  
Old 04/03/11, 05:41 PM
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: KY
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Two and three is such a fun age. They're waking up to what's around them and so excited it can't help but rub off on the adults surrounding them. LOL. I love all the suggestions everyone has offered and have used most of those with our gd who's now 6 and plan to use similar activities for our gs who's turning 2 in June. Outside time is critical and has included climbing small dwarf fruit trees, digging in dirt in big containers on the back patio using their garden tools, trucks/cars, buckets, water source when it's warmer, washing their play dishes outside, riding their scooters, playing with rubber balls of all sizes, blowing bubbles, using sidewalk chalk, digging for worms, flying a kite, painting on cardboard boxes, playing with the cat, and watching the sky and talking about what they see.

They don't need big playground sets or expensive toys to be happy. Give them a good place to dig in dirt, a place to ride a toy, and a place where mess doesn't matter.

As for the inside, I do the attachment kind of parenting too. Everything I do as household activities has a child helping me if that's what they're interested in at the moment. Short attention spans do happen, but as time and practice goes on those attention spans seem to lengthen and pretty soon you'll be going through the house hunting for her cause she's been quiet too long.

I don't keep a lot of toys but I do have several quality toys that can span a lot of interests. The best toy I have is a wooden dollhouse with a wooden doll family and furniture. The other toy is a wooden red barn with the farmer and his animals. All the smaller parts fit into the building and each has a handle so it can all be easily carried. I only keep one puzzle and 2 books out at any given time. Too many and they lose focus.

The back room is small and set up just for them with a wooden table and chairs (their size) and a wooden all in one kitchen. The kitchen center is wonderful because it holds all their toys when it's cleanup time. I keep toys in my closet and rotate as needed for them.

The magic toy at our house are the empty cardboard boxes. If you're ever at a loss for something new, set an empty box out on the floor. The last time the grandkids were here, they made a train out of 2 boxes and after they had "traveled" to the living room and back they filled the boxes with pillows, got in, and took a nap. I know. I couldn't believe it either, but they really did go to sleep.

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Old 04/03/11, 06:09 PM
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Western WI
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Ditto what has been said above about keeping them with you as you do chores but when I needed a minute to take a break the kitchen sink with water and pouring cups was a blessing. Also a couple of big blankets and something to drape them over to make a tent was something that kept mine busy for a long time.

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  #8  
Old 04/03/11, 06:50 PM
 
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Location: Iowa
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playdough

*My kids spend at least and hour when I get the play dough out. You can make your own too.
*They also LOVE a big empty box. The draw on it cut holes in it and ride in it.
*When I am in the kitchen I will sometimes get a container of salt (I save it from one play day to the next), put it in a cake pan and let them draw or write letters.
*My kids love to help dust, sweep (ok the 7yr old has figured out that it is work), and do dishes with me.
* Mudpies- last year my daughter got some bowls, funnels and stuff to make mudpies. She played for hours in the mud.
*finger paints- put an old vinyl table cloth on the floor or outside and let her create!
You may have to sit with her and teacher her how to make some things and be creative. I am working getting my younger two to do this without me being right there with them all the time.

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Old 04/03/11, 06:58 PM
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I agree with everything said, except getting her a kitten. She's to young for a kitten! My daughter has a three-year-old son and one of his favorite things to do is play car wash. When she's washing dishes (or just needs to give him something to do) she fills a plastic bowl with soapy water and he washes his toy cars. You could let her give her baby dolls a bath, etc.

Another thing my kids LOVED to do when they were that age was finger paint. I would let them paint all over the kitchen floor and after they were wore out and napping I would mop the floor. Easy clean up that had to be done anyway and it would keep them occupied for a long time!

My daughter makes homemade finger paint for her son using pudding and food coloring. She usually lets him finger paint (and snack) before bath time.

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  #10  
Old 04/04/11, 10:09 PM
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
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If she is as active as you describe she could have a wheat allergy. Omit breads, crackers, etc. and see if she doesn't calm down a little.

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Old 04/04/11, 10:13 PM
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I agree with everything said, except getting her a kitten. She's to young for a kitten!
True.

With a child that age, you'd probably better get two or three in case the first one breaks.
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Old 04/04/11, 10:29 PM
 
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2.5s are just *busy*.

Mine, trains and cars hold him for a bit. The bath is great fun. Outside with a pile of sand and a couple cars is heaven for him.

I type this sitting on the floor with him hnging off my back. No joke. LOL, will BBL with more suggestions.

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Old 04/04/11, 11:20 PM
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Duct tape
a can of paint and a roller
a bag of flour
a drumset
a big bottle of elmers glue
one of those annoying plastic trumpet things

sorry
Kids that age love to play with pots and pans and clang them together, I suggest earplugs for you if you do that!

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  #14  
Old 04/04/11, 11:28 PM
 
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Until a child reaches the age of 5 or 6 you can estimate their attention span by the number of years old they are. A 2 year old will typically have a 2 minute attention span. I like the whole attached parenting technique. Whatever you happen to be doing, give her a version of the same thing.

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  #15  
Old 04/05/11, 01:02 AM
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Middle TN, Where the Hilltops Kiss the Sky
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Smile

I knew you all would "come through for me!" Thank you, thank you, thank you! GREAT ideas! I do occupy her with folding wash cloths, sweeping with her toy broom, etc but she still just doesn't get the fact that she shouldn't touch the oven door because its HOT, so I have a lot of safety concerns with her being in the kitchen while I'm cooking/canning. The biggest problems usually occur when I'm busy taking care of her baby brother who is 8 months old. She definitely is happiest outside, & we do take her out a lot when the weather permits. She has a trike and a 4 wheeler, a swing, and loves most of all to chase the poor chickens around and play in the gravel driveway. We have 9 grown cats, and my dh would possibly run me off if I even suggested another cat. She's learning to "respect" the cats we have, and that's a good thing, and they are quite "sturdy!" LOL! Thank you all for your terrific ideas, we'll go to the store tomorrow and check out the boxes before they bale them! I remember my older kids loving the giant boxes too! i'm also going to pack up some of the toys and rotate them in and out. She doesn't play with many of them anyway. To "Sewsilly" Thank you for the kind comments! Our little girl had a real difficult start in life but she's doing very well now. So are we, now that we know she is here permanently!!! Now if we can just "keep up" with these two youngest kiddo's! ( and Yes, we plan to adopt little brother too!)

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Old 04/05/11, 01:25 AM
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Well, if you already have 9 cats, get the kiddo a BB gun.

That will keep her busy.

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  #17  
Old 04/05/11, 07:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mid Tn Mama View Post
When my kids were that age, they did whatever I did next to me. If I was cooking, they were given a little bread dough to "knead". If I was washing dishes, they were playing with plastic ware in their "water", or standing in front of me on a chair "washing" with me. If I were folding clothes, they would find a sock and fold it too. Outside, while I weeded, they wrote with sidewalk chalk. make a place in your cabinets that she can stack plastic things, or pots. Take her outside several times a day and let her run around and climb. That will tire her out enough to concentrate a little longer when she is inside and to take a nap.
I babysat two grandkids during the day for 14 yrs. from 3 months on. The above poster is right and also any sort of box they can crawl in and out of. Kids love boxes...They DO need constant attention at that age and do not have a big attention span so WILL move from one thing to another.
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Old 04/05/11, 09:07 AM
 
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Good for you taking this child to your hearts & home. Be sure to include a good nap time! If she resists, tell her she doesn't have to sleep but everyone has to lay down for a little while. I would look for books that are calming and sweet music for her to listen to. Remember how soothing Mr.Rogers seemed? I agree w/the folks who suggest food connections. Certainly ask the pediatrician about any allergies. Avoid soda pop, candy, sugared stuff, anything w/caffeine, heavy meat fats. She is close to an age where she might benefit from a brief pre-school experience, too. Sue

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Old 04/05/11, 09:35 AM
 
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Oh yes, boxes and tents are wonderful. Mine is okay in the kitchen usually, but sometimes he goes on a touch-everything rampage and I kick him out before he burns himself.

I've found too, sometimes when they're extra wild, they're teething. Mine has been a handful and a half the past little while, but it resolved a few days ago, mostly. Guess who has new molars. If I'd put two and two together I could have given him pain relief and he'd have been much easier to wrangle.


AFA cats? Our adult female is great for him. She plays with him like a puppy, but can jump up out of his reach when she's had enough of his antics.

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Old 04/05/11, 02:39 PM
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Mine love the bottle and clothespin. The 2 yo loves to drop the pins in the bottle. She will play that for awhile then go do something else and come back to it.

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