Hi Mamas of littles! This is just a quick list of things I have used over the years as I have worked from home with my small children (4 & 2), which I know feels like the most impossible task ever (it is).
Sometimes I have help, sometimes I don’t. But I have figured out quite a few tricks and tips going through this. I have a separate more in depth post on those tips as a whole, but it is kind of a long one. So, if you have the time or energy to read that, you can find that here.
BUT the purpose of this post, is just to expand on what I like to call my work baskets. These are “special” baskets I pull out when I need to be on a call or a meeting and my kids are awake. I try my hardest to do focused work or schedule calls around nap time or when they are sleeping, but alas not everybody functions on a toddler schedule, weird!
When this happens, I pull out special baskets for them when Mommy has to work. They get excited because to them they are new and shiny and I can usually get 30-45 minutes of a call or work in before the wheels fall off, as they always do. I typically go to the dollar store once a month and load up with $20-$30 worth of stuff and keep it hidden away until I need it.
Below are also links to things off amazon that have been a hit in my house with keeping them occupied and not using a screen. If there are any other toys/activities that you use, please do share!
Paint By Sticker Books: My 4 year old LOVES these, the other day she did these on her bed for TWO HOURS. That is the longest she has gone without hitting her sister or asking me a million questions.
Big Book of Mazes : Another hit for my 4 year old- I get a cheaper version for my two year old as she just likes to scribble through these to pretend she is doing what her sister is doing.
Sticker Face Books : You can also find these at Wal-Mart for around $4- I usually get a couple every other week with my grocery order.
PicassoTiles : These are an INVESTMENT, but well worth it. They are not a special toy that I keep hidden, but it is a toy that gets played with almost every single day and is great for fostering independent play, which is the golden ticket right now!
Play Sink: I use this when I am realllly desperate for some alone time or some work time, because it is a bit messy. Throw some towels down on your floor or use it outside, but you guys, my girls are obsessed with this sink. They are not very well made, so we are on our second one but they will play with this for an hour or more together. So I will keep buying it because whatever.
Road Tape: If you have a kiddo that loves playing cars, this is a great find!
Stencil Set : Another hit for your kiddo that enjoys workbooks, coloring etc.
Rainbow Scratch Cards: These are like crack in my house, even my husband loves them, I have to replenish every month!
Melissa & Doug Activity Books: You cannot go wrong with any Melissa & Doug anything, they have a great line of workbooks, sticker books etc. These are a favorite of ours.
This probably goes without saying, but make sure to roll out only a FEW fun new shiny things at a time. Toddlers are savages and will burn through whatever you give them, but one fun “new” thing can be a really magical tool.
For more ideas on toys that foster creative & independent play, I highly recommend ordering some toys from Lakeshore Learning and also checking out busytoddler.com – both GREAT resources. Hang in there, I wish I could give you a hug…or a day off. This is really hard stuff, but you can do hard things.