My husband and I have been blessed with twin boys. Our boys are 18 months old now, and I often tell my husband that God must have a sense of humor to give someone twin toddler boys. Some days it doesn’t seem very funny!
Yesterday, during the same 15 minute phone call, one son decided to crawl up onto a chair and then the dining room table, and I found the other one in his bedroom where he had pulled out all of his dresser drawers, climbed up the drawers, and was standing on top of his dresser looking down into his fish tank. There is never a dull moment in our home.
During the past few months I have discovered what my boys most love to do and what keeps them busy for even short periods of time. I have geared my ideas toward boys because they normally have higher activity levels, but I’m sure these ideas would work great for girls too!
It is well known that kids love to play with everything except their toys, and I have definitely found this to be true with my boys. Many of their favorite activities are inexpensive or even free.
Toddlers love music. Many babies will begin to dance to music before they’re even a year old. There are many great CD’s out there for toddlers. A couple of our favorites are Wee Sing Silly Songs and Veggie Tales. Nursery rhymes are always great too. We have found many CD’s at yard sales or half price at stores that sell used CD’s. My boys enjoy dancing to music during the day, and like to have it playing softly in the background while they go to sleep. Make sure to put your CD player up out of their reach. I have to get a shelf to put mine up on the wall because my boys can now climb up to anywhere else I have found to put it. They have become very fascinated with taking CD’s in and out of it and pushing all of the buttons!
My boys love to play with water. I bought them a wading pool this year but they were hardly interested in it at all. They much preferred playing in a little sprinkler in the shape of a turtle. Bath time is also a favorite time. They hardly play with any of the bath toys I bought them. Their favorite bath toys are small Tupperware containers and plastic measuring cups. The store-bought bath toys they do enjoy, however, are little plastic cups that have holes in the bottom so that the water runs through them. They also love going to the river and throwing rocks in the water. Just don’t let them out of your sight for a second, or they will quite suddenly decide to go for a swim. Swimming lessons seem to have done a great job of eliminating their fear of water! The boys also spend hours playing in a small water fountain we have in our back yard.
Books are great for even the most active boys. We bought many board books for our boys and read to them for months before they really showed an interest in them. When they were about 15 months old they began to bring us books to read to them. One of our boys is obsessed with cars, trucks, and tractors, and the other one loves animals. After seeing these images over and over in books they now are pointing them out to us when we drive around town. One of our sons goes nuts every time we drive by an excavator or back hoe. One word of caution, however. Whoever said board books are indestructible didn’t know what they were talking about. Our boys have destroyed several of their board books by ripping the pictures off the cardboard. Most of the damage is done when they are reading to themselves in bed, so these books need adult supervision just like any other book.
Make sure you take your boys outside at least once a day. Every morning I take the boys for a walk around the neighborhood in their double stroller. If you are a working mom, take your boys out for some fresh air in the evenings or on the weekend. The boys enjoy the ride and mom gets some exercise too. One of my sons points out all the airplanes that fly overhead, and that is one of the highlights of his day. I also found the boys a play golf set at Walmart (for about $5). They love to run around the yard trying to hit the plastic golf balls, and it is great for improving their coordination.
My boys’ favorite toys are their cars, trucks, and tractors. They love pushing them around on the floor and making motor noises. You can easily find inexpensive toy cars at yard sales and thrift stores that will give your toddler boys hours of fun.
To fully interact with and engage your toddler, you have to figure out their personality. One of my boys loves to help mom and do whatever I’m doing. Whenever I ask him to help me do something he gives me a big smile and pitches right in. My other son has no interest whatsoever in helping me…boring!! He has too many other exciting things to explore. To get his attention I ask him to show me what he is doing and participate in whatever is interesting him at the moment. He loves to point at things and have me tell him what they are.
Don’t forget that your boys love to play with mom and dad and need lots of love and affection. They love it when you play cars with them or read to them. Some of our favorite moments have been spent lying on the floor with two toddlers crawling all over us giving us lots of big hugs and kisses.
Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and mom of five. For resources for the Christian family, including parenting, toddler and preschool activities, homeschooling, family traditions, and more, visit http://www.Christian-Parent.com