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Help me brainstorm anyone? Pregnant mama with a 2 y/o and no car 5days a week

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 

I feel I am at a loss of WHAT to do all day long! TV is becoming the prominent source of entertainment these days...and I don't think it's good for DD. She is now naming characters and freaking out if the TV is off. She wants to watch it the minute she wakes up!


We have no yard, no ability to walk places, and we only get the car 2/3 days a week. Those days I try to make the most of but we also have to use them for running errands and thing like that.


We have lots of toys which DD used to play with all the time, but she seems to get bored easily. I put out 7 puzzles and mix all the pieces up and she's done with them in about 5 mins...


Coloring isn't going too well b/c she ends up hiding a crayon somewhere and wreaking havoc on the walls when I am in the bathroom or something.


She loves blocks and we can build for about 20 mins before she looses interest in that.


DH works full time and is in school full time. He is out of the house from 7am-10pm most days as well...


Any ideas for activities? She has never been interested in crafts is there a way to make them more interesting to her?


Also anyone done any pre-school homeschooling? Is there some sort of "curriculum" I could order?



post #2 of 33

Check out some John Holt, the man is a amazing x :)

post #3 of 33

I have a very similar situation: car one day a week, 3 year old, and now an infant. It can be tough. We do have a yard, though. That makes it easier for me.


DS1 helps me with the work around the home. He seems to be more interested in doing that than in playing, most of the time. He has his own little set of gardening tools, indoor tools, and cleaning supplies, and workspaces. He does much better with a more structured parent-led schedule/rhythm and no TV.


For a while in early preganancy we allowed limited video watching through netflix, but even that proved too much. It was very, very difficult to get him to wind down and detach from it. Now, we have family "movie" night once or twice a month and that is it. He seems unable to handle viewing even in small doses.


DS1 does not nap anymore. I have siesta time scheduled each day (after lunch and outdoor play or a walk). I have found that audio books are a lifesaver for those times when I need 15-30 minutes to breath and sit with my own thoughts or read something more adult. DS now has a little old cd/radio/tape player. We burn audio stories to cd and he can select one and listen to it on his own. We also have storynory podcasts through iTunes set up. In fact, we are listening to Swan Lake, right now. 


I also have accepted help one morning a week for three hours. My MIL comes to visit with DSs and I speed clean, read, shower, walk, play with the dog; whatever I need to do. Do you have anyone close by for that kind of thing? I would not want the boys to be away from me but having the lovingly cared for while remaining close by has turned out to be very nice.


We have "school" time each day, including activities from http://www.first-school.ws/INDEX.HTM. We looked into Oak Meadow's preschool materials, but I have found a good rythym on our own, for now.


DS1 now enjoys doing crafts with me and we have set up a sideboard with all of his school things; sensory bins and bags, craft supplies, and art materials. He selects what he wants at will with the only guidelines being that he use/ do one thing at a time, and puts the materials away (to the best of his ability) before moving on to the next thing.

post #4 of 33

Read to her.

Look at pictures together.

Have her fill a basket with items that are all one color or one shape.

Dress up clothes

Fill a container with rice, beans or sand- bury toys, pour from one container to the other

Sort groups of objects by color or shape

Finger paint or play with shaving foam

Play dough

Lacing cards or stringing large beads/spools

Play music and dance


Play in the bathtub with a spray bottle or sponges

musical instruments or bang on pots and pans

roll a ball back and forward

tear or cut paper

record voice and play back

throw bean bags into a box or bucket

draw with chalk on a chalkboard

pretend to be animals

sing together

Call a grandparent or dad.

Have a tea party with stuffed animals

play with fabric or scarves



Hopefully that gave you some ideas. I think you need to expect that her attention span for an activity will be short and she will not entertain herself much. I think that is being a 2 year old.




post #5 of 33

Rotate her toys.  Put a bunch away.  When the ones currently out have become "boring" put them away and bring out the other ones.


A colouring alternative that can't result in drawn-on walls is Aquadoodle.


Could dh possibly carpool with someone else?  On the days he finishes earlier could you drive him to work and pick him up afterwards (so that you get the car for the day)?


Do you have any friends that could come to your house for a visit?


Give her a bath in the middle of the day.



post #6 of 33

Love all the suggestions! Finger paint is also really fun, you can make shapes with sponges and use those too (we put a huge plastic table cloth down on the ground and have the kids do that on our balcony) Stamps are great too - maybe your little one would like doing a craft that gives such instant results? Is she an "older" 2 or "younger" 2? Some 2 year olds can get into the game Memory. Reading books, and "I Spy" are staples at our house (4 1/2 yr old and 2 1/2 yr old). Making cookies and allowing her to dump the ingredients in and have a turn at stirring or placing a chair/stool you feel comfortable with at the sink and letting her wash all the unbreakable dishes while you're working in the kitchen or resting nearby. OnlyZombieCat - has a great point to do grouping activities.

A good book is "Preschool Readiness" by Mary Ellen Quint - tons of super simple activities (actual activities - not only crafts) to do with 2-6 yr olds all with stuff you probably have at home or have easy access to.

It's really hard being pregnant with an active 2 year old, especially if you can't get outside with said 2 yr old - I really feel for you. May you have the grace and strength you need each day. You're doing a great job.


post #7 of 33

Would it be possible to drop your dh off at work and pick him up later? At least you could go to the park or a playground...

post #8 of 33
Thread Starter 

The 2 days I have the car are when he carpools :( otherwise I wouldn't have it at all.


She does love to cook and we cook every meal together plus our snacks and what not! We do everything from scratch and she dumps all the measuring cups for me and "stirs" as well. She's also the salt and pepper shaker <3 She gets overly zealous when cooking on top of the stove though and it makes me nervous she will burn herself. Any tips on that?


She is 25 m/o so she just turned 2. She is not yet incredibly verbal but she is smart. She is all about letters and knows them all by name. She can spell just about any word she sees as well. I didn't influence her into that she just came out of nowhere with it LOL


I'm going to go to the $1 store today and see what I can get for activities b/c we don't have much of the materials for the suggestions. I WANT an aquadoodle for her but DH said they cost too much :( Maybe I can convince him. We have a really tight budget with DH being in school. (there's a thread on that LOL)

post #9 of 33
Thread Starter 

Thanks so much for the tips BTW! Keep them coming :)


What about limiting the TV any tips with that? I was thinking of sewing a TV cover out of an old sheet and painting a picture on it or something LOL Out of sight out of mind?

post #10 of 33

I think your idea of hiding the TV is a good one.  I felt like my 24 month old was spending too much time watching movies on her little DVD player.  I originally allowed her free reign because she only wanted to watch Potty Power over and over again, and I figured it was good motivation.  I decided to hide her DVD player and movies about a month ago and she hardly seemed to notice.  She has only asked to watch a movie once or twice since then, and if I say, "okay, how about after we read this book" she usually has forgotten by the time we finish the book.  So distraction, as well as 'out of sight, out of mind' seem to work very well for us.  


Good luck!

Edited by COMountainMama - 11/22/11 at 8:32am
post #11 of 33

My DD loves to help around the house and often needs some direction for her play. 


She enjoys her play kitchen--I made her several food items out of ecofelt (synthetic, but inexpensive)

She loves wet on wet watercolor painting



She loves stickers--I got a book of them (about 400 stickers for I think $6) at Target.  I encourage her to put them on paper or on our sliding glass door.

Going for walks--even just on sidewalks and not anywhere in particular is fun for my DD

May try doing some yoga with her


post #12 of 33
We are in a similar situation right now. Playdates. Invite folks over for her to play with. DD is so much more well behaved after she has gotten all of her energy out with another little kiddo. Plus, she always sleeps like a rock that night smile.gif
post #13 of 33

Corn starch has many things you can do for entertainment.


Baking Soda.




Coffee filters and markers, then spray the coffee filter with a water mist, and watch the colors spread... notice how many colors it takes to make black.









post #14 of 33

TV tip, bin it ;) 

post #15 of 33

Bath time with lots of bath toys can be fun.  I used to read while my dd played in the tub.  Shaving cream in the bathtub is also a lot of fun and it gets the tub clean.  If you don't have animals it can be fun to do messy exploration in a big flat tupperware with things like oatmeal, flour, corn starch and water mixed in equal parts, soapy bubbles, etc...  That requires clean up though and may not be good if you don't have a lot of energy. 


A walk around the block with no purpose in mind can be fun.  We used to bring a bucket to collect leaves and such.  Riding a tricycle in the driveway or on sidewalks may work depending on your location and weather.  Sidewalk chalk is a lot of fun and comes off easily, it can also be kept outside or collected completely while outside.


If you have a bus system then investing in a bus pass may open up a lot more possibilities.  Our bus system isn't very nice, but it gave me and my dd a lot more freedom.

post #16 of 33

My son understands that things "run out of power."  (We don't replace batteries in things very often!)  This has been helpful with the fridge because we can tell him he needs to close the door quickly or the fridge will run out of power... maybe a similar concept would help you with limiting TV?

post #17 of 33

When my ds was 2 we got into a rut of watching too much tv.  He became totally obsessed with it and spent (seemingly) every non-tv-watching minute begging for it and tantrumming.  What we did was to get rid of tv all together.  Limited tv just was. not. working.  We put it away for many months, and only then started bringing it out for infrequent family movie nights (1-2x a month).

post #18 of 33
Thread Starter 

We don't have sidewalks but when the other tenants are at work we utilize the drive way as much as possible. It's getting cold which doesn't bother me much but DD will run around 5 mins then begs to go in...


I got a few things today to try and help. I'm going to try and make that TV cover. :)

post #19 of 33
Originally Posted by sosurreal09 View Post

We don't have sidewalks but when the other tenants are at work we utilize the drive way as much as possible. It's getting cold which doesn't bother me much but DD will run around 5 mins then begs to go in...



Sounds like she could use a combo of some serious bundling-up, and some cool stuff to play with out there, or cool games to play.


Some ideas:


You could teach her games like "mother may i" (check at your library for books about kids games, or online for similar games).


You could draw hopscotch with sidewalk chalk.


You could let her draw with sidewalk chalk.


You could get blow bubbles.


You could play a variety of ball games.


You could let her ride her tricycle or ride-on toy around.



post #20 of 33

Just wanted to chime in and send good vibes.


A previous poster mentioned rotating toys, and if you're not already doing so, this is EXTREMELY helpful.  Especially for 'favorite' toys, hide them away a bring them back out in a couple of weeks and you'll be surprised how exciting they are again!

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