A few tips on keeping little ones entertained over the summer months...
Let's face it - toddlers are hard work. Even if they're not misbehaving or being cheeky, they tend to get bored very quickly. Short attention spans galore. Reuben is now two and a half *sob* and he tends to get into more mischief-making at home when he needs some form of entertainment. Some days he will happily sit and play with his cars for aaaages but he eventually gets to a point where he just needs to be out of the house. If you have a toddler yourself then you'll feel my pain. As a work from home mum, and with him only being in nursery 15 hours a week, I'm constantly having to come up with new ways to keep him occupied. With summer upon us and a 6 week holiday hanging over our heads, I thought that I'd share some of my top tips for keeping your little ones out of mischief over the warmer months.
In the park, in the countryside, or simply at home in your garden. You can have a picnic anywhere. Kids love them! I invested in a cute picnic basket and rug this year from homesense which didn't break the bank, but you don't even need to buy anything. Just simply wrap some sandwiches up in a bit of foil, grab a banana and some biscuits and you're good to go. A lot of places have picnic benches too and if you go to a big grass field with a park, the parents can just chill with a book whilst the kids play in the park. Ru took his teddy on our recent picnic and that's another idea in itself, set up a wee teddy bear picnic in your back garden with a tea set, that'll keep them occupied for ages.
Make A List
You will be surprised at what you can find to do with a quick google. I've actually made a list on my phone of all the places around us that we've either never been to, or rarely go. I've got everything from adventure parks, woods to explore, beautiful little villages to walk around, parks, beaches, you name it, it's there. The idea is that you make a big list of plenty to do so that you're never having to sit and think of something, and spend all summer ticking each one off your list! A couple of mine are a bit pricey (like the adventure parks) so I'll probably spread those out a bit, but the majority of it is just new towns to visit and gorgeous spots of countryside to go and walk around. Those don't have to cost much other than your petrol to get there - just take a picnic with you. Ru absolutely loves exploring. We also live right by the beach and hardly ever go, sometimes all you need is to drive down, park up and take a football with you and they'll be occupied for hours just kicking a ball around on the sand!
Stock Up The Garden
If you have a very outdoorsy child like me, and you have a garden or even just a backyard - stock up with outdoor toys for the summer months. We've recently got a few new bits and I can't even tell you how much Reuben spends outside since it got warmer. He basically lives out there when we're at home. The first toy he's absolutely obsessed with is the New Sprouts Reel It from Learning Resources. You get a little bucket, fishing rod, float, three fish and a net. We don't have a paddling pool yet so I've simply been filling an empty plastic tub up with water from the hose and we're good to go. He loves it! He's constantly running to me with his little bucket full of the fish showing me that he's caught them all, it's so very cute. He's also got the New Sprouts Picnic set which he also loves playing with. It's fab for role play and he loves sitting and having pretend little picnics, you get the cutest little picnic basket with two plates and loads of food and it's all rubberised material so it's amazing quality compared to the cardboard & plastic food that you usually get - they always just get squashed so I would definitely recommend this set for something far more long lasting. Both sets are fantastic for their imagination and imaginative play. I'm definitely going to be buying more. Learning Resources have so many other play sets too, and to suit all different ages.
Little Tikes Cozy Truck
Another amazing new toy Reuben's recently got is the Cozy Truck from Little Tikes. Now before I talk about this, I will say that I couldn't have built it without my dad and even he struggled! It was so difficult but together, HOWEVER, I personally think it was totally and utterly worth it as it's so sturdy and robust. Especially for a crazy toddler like mine who likes to ride it up and down the garden like a mad man. Ru is obsessed with cars and vehicles so he was absolutely over the moon when he came downstairs from his nap to see this built. It's a bit pricier than the cozy coupes but it's bigger and better. It has larger wheels and is larger in size so it's more suited to older children which means it will last longer I feel. It also has a boot that Ru is obsessed with opening and filling up with all of his other toys! It's just one of those things that you won't regret buying as kids get so much imaginative play and joy out of it, and as an only child I'm constantly encouraging Ru's little imagination and trying to find ways for him to enjoy playing on his own. This is a toy that helps with just that. I'm honestly so tempted to buy him another crazy coupe with a trailer next - this boy is obessed with his cars!
It Doesn't Always Have To Break The Bank
There's so many bits you can get for kids at home that keep them entertained for hours without it breaking the bank. Some of the other bits we've recently got are things like this whale bubble machine from Primark, it was only £7 (although it required batteries too but we have rechargeables that are pretty cheap from amazon) and I got a huuuuuge bottle of bubble mix from B&M for around £2. It blows bubbles out all over the garden for hours and Ru absolutely loves it. He loves catching them and just making up games to play with them. I also got him a little bubble mix for about £1 and he likes blowing his own bubbles amongst the ones from the machine. I also found him this Paw Patrol scooter in B&M for about £15 which is amazing value, especially to say PP toys are usually extremely overpriced and it's his fave. You can pick all sorts of cheap bits up in places like B&M or even charity shops, sometimes it's not worth splashing out on some summer toys (especially like a bubble machine) as they'll have either grown out of them by the time next summer comes around, or they'll go all rusty or break over the winter.
So there's a few ideas to help keep your littl'ns occupied this summer, do you have any other tips?
Disclaimer: This post contains items that were kindly given to me in exchange for this review.