Mummy Confession: When I was a new mum especially, I was always curious to keep up with what skills my baby was developing. I often felt the need to see their progress and keep track of their milestones.
Disclosure: This post is not sponsored by any of the following companies or apps and is purely my honest opinion. This post contains affiliate links.
Now, hear me out, not every baby develops the same skills at the same time. Just like every child isn’t the same height, weight, or build, development varies from baby to baby. But, I like the reassurance of seeing how my child was coming along with milestones, as any mum would. I also like seeing what sort of activities help in their age group as well.
There are three great Apps that help mum to keep up with skills and developmental milestones that coincide with the age of their baby, toddler, and child. Below, I have outlined a few that have come in handy for me as a mother.
Many baby websites offer newsletters as well to help keep track of baby’s development and various things to expect as they grow. Some of these are listed here with my Pregnancy and Parenting Communities post.
The Wonder Weeks
Each baby has times where they seem to be more sleepless, fussy, and all around grouchy, and I have found a lot of the time, it is because they are going through developmental leaps. The Wonder Weeks app is based on a book written about this. It allows you to enter your baby’s due date and it predicts when these “leaps” occur. So much is happening in their little world that you can’t see, and this helps me to be aware of what my baby could possibly be working on, or trying to figure out. As stated in the app, though, every baby isn’t doing everything listed by those time frames, but it is a great guide as you look out for things they are achieving!
You can also set up an alert to let you know when baby is entering a fussy stage, so maybe you will be that one step ahead, being prepared.
Do you like writing down what your bubs is up to? Keep track of medications, immunisations, feedings, diaper changes, sleep, teeth, and more. Digitally store tons of developmental and growth information as well as photos and videos. Keep track of one child or more, and a daily bit of information on their age group.
If you want to have is information saved for a hard copy scrapbook later, get this app. It is so helpful when you feel like there is no time to write anything down. Plus, there are great communities online to ask your parenting and baby questions (and Baby Bump, their sister app, has one as well).
I just got this one, but I’m already impressed! This one offers an evaluation of baby’s skills and development and helps with some activities to develop their skills.
It has videos that show how to do certain activities with your baby to aid development, and has in-app purchases for further things. It also offers articles on baby’s development. You can opt in for various categories to receive information and activities for children through the age of two. There is so much I haven’t seen yet, so I will need to check it out more before I can write about it, but I was impressed already in the short time I’ve had it!
Mummy Confession: I’m not rich. So sometimes, I use things around the house to keep my kids entertained.
For this post, I have collaborated with fellow Mummy-Blogger Nicola from MummytoDex.com . Feel free to check out her Blog and the great things she has going there from Baby Food Recipes to Everyday Life Posts.
Here are 10 activities to keep babies and toddlers entertained with things you can find around the house! Free and fun! You can get as creative or simple as you wish with these – the sky is the limit! Some of these activities require close monitoring, so please keep an eye on the little ones at all times when using any of these following suggestions! Some materials pose a suffocation or drowning hazard if left unattended. (Water safety: even shallow water poses a drowning risk, so NEVER leave babies or children alone around water, no matter how little it may be!)
1. Drum circle What you need: Some wooden or plastic spatulas, Pots and pans
What to do: Set up a circle using your pots, pans and bowls and place baby in the middle with a spatula. He will love banging on the different shaped objects and hearing the different noises that they make. Encourage him by holding your own spatula and tapping the different dishes.
2. Messy play What you need: A plastic tablecloth (to protect your floor), A variety of cooked food, A bath ready and waiting for the aftermath
What to do: Cook a few bits of spaghetti and some kala chana and pour it all over the floor to let baby have at it.
I have to admit, most of it was consumed, hence why I used food as opposed to anything else. There are so many recipes on Pinterest for baby safe gloop and paint. The world is your oyster when it comes to messy play. Have the bath ready and waiting and then let babe enjoy a long soak afterwards.
3. Tummy Time Water Play What you need: An oven dish, Plastic ducks, Some water
What to do: Pour a small amount of water into the oven dish and place some ducks in it. Place baby on his tummy and let him splash the water and move the ducks. Endless hours of entertainment for a baby who hasn’t yet learned to crawl.
4. Treasure baskets What you need: An old washing up bowl, Any bits and pieces from around the house that baby loves
What to do: I bought a washing up bowl for 50p and started collecting stuff in it that Baby took a shine to such as a large yellow sponge, a whisk, measuring spoons and a plastic spatula. Whenever I need to keep him preoccupied for a few minutes, I bring the treasure basket out and let him have a play with the bits and bobs while I get my jobs done. This helps me massively when I’m trying to stop him crawling into the kitchen!
5. Wallet Play What you need: Wallet & business cards or used iTunes cards, anything not too important in card form. (You can also do some pictures of the people they know or of objects they love. Laminate those if you want them to last.)
What to do: Give them the cards and the wallet. Let them practise motor skills by putting cards in and out.
I take a wallet everywhere with me, and this always offers some distraction at least for a little while. If you don’t want to use an old wallet, they’re cheap enough to buy, or you can order blank plastic cards online or cut up cardstock if you don’t wish to use old cards.
6. Tea Party/Picnic What you need: Cups of any sort, pretend or real beverages, pretend or real food, pretend or real (or toy) guests, blanket/towel/sheet
What to do: On top of material (blanket/towel/sheet), arrange cups in either a hap-hazard order or even practise etiquette and manners. This can be educational or just downright fun! Use silly voices and give yourselves outrageous names. Pretend play is fun! Everyone loves a good High Tea! Host your own with or without costumes, real treats, guests, and superb conversations. For added bonus, send out an invite or create your own invitations for guests.
7. Fort Building What you need: Sheets, Blankets, Towels and pillows. Support such as a cot, air dryer, or table. Couches or cushions also work well for this activity.
What to do: Using support, cover with materials you have. Create fort. For added bonus, host a tea party, watch a movie, tell stories, or read a book together inside. Forts are always fun!
**Just watch here for toppling things and you’ll be alright. My kids like to pretend my laundry is their fort every time I hang it up.**
8. Object Sorting
What you need: Any objects, big or small. I went with pegs (clothespins), and two or more containers.
What to do: Honestly, this one is just for the fact that kids love to move things from one place to another. Without fail, I find them digging through my clothespegs and sorting them, so I just gave them two different containers to sort. They are usually in a basket, and I provided them with an empty wipes container that they love to stick the pegs through the hole. This helps to develop hand-eye coordination I’m sure, and the kids just love moving things (as I’m sure you find with their toys, too). For more complexity, find coloured containers and have them sort according to colour, shape, or size!
9. Scavenger Hunt What you need: Coloured containers, or colours on a piece of paper, and your house.
What to do: Colour on a piece of paper if you don’t have coloured containers, and have the children look around the house for anything of that colour. If you have containers, have them put them inside. You can specify to various categories, like “your toys that are this colour,” “objects in this room with these colours,” or just have fun with it. Alternatively, go outside and find things of various colours, too. Pinterest has hundreds of ideas for various scavenger hunts, so check these ones out!
10. Colouring-in-a-Box What you need: Box big enough for child to fit in, crayons/markers/colouring utensils, stickers and other craft items are optional
What to do: Place child in box with colouring utensils. Let them go crazy! Obviously, you need to watch and ensure the box doesn’t topple, or that your munchkin doesn’t eat the crayons, but this can be a decently calming activity.
This is such a great idea I read a long time ago, and my kids absolutely love it! Mum loves that it keeps the colouring tools contained and off the walls. (Side not: make sure the box isn’t near the walls…) I instituted a “crayons stay in the big box” rule when we had a really big box they used. No complaints from my child, just lots of creativity and fun! Afterwards, you can just recycle the box, or even better, use it as a fort or cut it up and make a cool house! So many uses, and kids love boxes!
I hope these ideas can lend some help to you mamas out there whether you are looking for something to distract for that moment, or something fun and educational. Add your twist of creativity! Have fun with your children and remember, sometimes the best toys are right under our noses.
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Mummy Confession: My kids get way too much screen time most days.
It wasn’t always this way. As a first time mum, my oldest didn’t interact with much technology until after a good year and a bit. We didn’t need TV, tablets, phones and whatever other gadgets are out there. She was content to play with blocks and cars. Let me tell you though, that all went out the window when my second was born. Desperate for some semblance of assistance during the day, I turned to technology.
Yes, I’m that horrible parent that lets screen time do the babysitting on occasion. My only excuse is that otherwise, my children would be crying while dangling off my leg while I try to get a shower or have some sort of sustenance. Sometimes, I need a safe way to accomplish the dishwashing, laundry, or other household cleaning. Nowadays it doesn’t help with that as much, but it lets me tend to another child until he falls asleep, undistracted.
I know, I know, there are other ways to distract them more organically, but usually I have exhausted all other methods before I give in, or I just need a quick solution. In all the years, have found my children tend to like some apps better than others, and for those of you who are just as bad a parent as I am, let me recommend some for your sanity. They are listed in accordance with the popularity with my children.
Wheels on Bus– an app that goes with the song, quite obviously. There is a free version and paid version, and after using the free version, I shelled out the big bucks (ok, not much at all) for the HD version, which includes all activities. It has colouring, car racing, puzzles, math problems, and sings the song, in addition to many other activities. Well worth the small price paid!
Interactive Alphabet– an app that teaches, you guessed it, the alphabet! This one is very customisable in so many ways! You can do uppercase, lowercase, or a combination. It even has an edit mode where you can add words/people for your child to see under the letters, too! You can record it being read, too, and they can trace the letters! It’s one of my personal favourites, as I had each relative record their name!
Starfall– I have the free version of this educational app, but you can get the even better paid version by subscription. I’ve been told it updates with that version, and all areas of the app are open, not just select parts. This one has my preschooler sounding out letters! It has all sorts of educational games not limited to maths, shapes, colours, letters, and songs. (This one isn’t available in the US, sorry)
ABC IView and Kids Play– both free, IView has ABC kids shows on, available to filter for the mums who dislike certain shows, and you can set a timer for it as well! The Play app is based on the IView shows and is interactive. (Neither are available in the US store, sorry)
Animal Muddle– this app mixes up animal parts and creates different looking creatures. It doesn’t keep the kids too long, but it is a hit with them. They have the option to change scenery, pick animals specifically, or randomly select a mix of creatures. This one is pretty good for littler ones who just randomly tap the screen.
Palace Pets– Disney app with the various pets for the various Princesses. Firstly, you choose your pet, followed by a story. You then go to the salon where you can style and groom them. Lastly, you see them paired with the Princess again, and you can save the photo of your pet. It’s fairly straightforward and great for children who love dress ups and Disney princesses (and their animal friends)!