The toddler boy — you might as well call him “Destructive Dan,” or “Wreck-It Ralph,” or “Bull in a China Shop”. At least thats the case with my toddler boy, who is every bit of BOY and every bit of the age THREE.
Most boys, by nature, are inquisitive and energetic. A good portion of those are also loud, high-spirited, persistent and possess a desire to be physical. Sometimes, for the toddler boy that I am describing, regular, somewhat humdrum activities just don’t do it for them. For those children and you, their parent, I have compiled a list of seven unique ways for you to bond with your toddler boy.
Here they are:
1. Create treasure maps for, or with, your toddler boy. Hide a treasure somewhere in the house and spend at least 1 hour searching for that “treasure”. You to can act like real pirates or “treasure seekers” and brainstorm your route, what you will do if you encounter an obstacle (i.e. the dog is the dreaded alligator), etc. This activity will take planning on your part, but will surely serve as the highlight of his day.
2. Go fishing with your toddler boy. If you are unable to literally take your son some where to catch fish, then fish in your home. You can fill the bathtub and pretend it is the lake or the ocean. You can gather sticks from outside to use as your fishing rods and you can put random toys in the tub as the fish. You could even use Tupperware as the body of water or even as your “net”. You can also put gummy worms on the end of your rod and pretend that you are eating the bait. There are so many ways to make this activity fun and it is one I can’t imagine a toddler boy not enjoying.
3. Go outside and catch bugs. Dollar Tree sells bug catchers in two sizes. The kit also comes with a magnifying glass and tweezers for your boy to use. You can make your child a badge that he can wear that signifies that he is an “explorer” and you and your son can create some homemade trail mix for you all to snack on while you are on your expedition/journey.
4. Take your toddler boy to the pet store. Let him know before you go that you are not going to purchase a pet, but that you will still have lots of fun. With this activity, one way you can plan it out, is that you all can pretend that you are “animal doctors” and you can bring notebooks/pens and give a visual check-up to the animals you see. Another thing you can do is to create a scavenger hunt sheet for your toddler boy and have him seek and find each animal listed on it. Then, he can mark each animal he finds off on the sheet, as he goes throughout the store.
5. Build a rocketship or racecar with your toddler boy. You can use cardboard boxes or a wagon or practically anything you can think of. Your boy will love transforming nothing into a vehicle to transport him him to wherever his imagination wants to take him. You can use empty toilet paper rolls, construction paper, empty paper towel holders, sticks etc. to create this fun transporter.
6. Play pretend, but on a whole different level. Decide in the morning (before your toddler boy goes to school) what characters you all want to be today after pick-up. Maybe you will be firefighters, maybe you will be detectives, or maybe you will be world travelers. Then tailor your activities, at home, or out and about, to include those that such characters would enjoy. Try your hardest not to leave this world of imagination for a designated timeframe that you and he have previously established.
7. Cook something together that neither of you has ever made before. Scour the internet or a cookbook together and mutually agree on a recipe to make. Go to the grocery store together and then prep it, cook it and eat it together. Alternatively, you could also do this activity “Top Chef-style,” and although you will of course aid your child with this, at the end when the meal is ready, you can each taste each others creation and score on a score card.
Well, I do hope that this list provided you with some unique ideas (hopefully that you may have never considered) for activities to bond with your toddler boy. With most boys, the key to keeping them happy is keeping them engaged, because as Kenny Rogers put it “Here’s what I have learned about raising boys…if you keep em’ busy, they’re fine, but if you let them get bored, they’ll dismantle your house board by board”.
The takeaway is that it doesn’t matter what you do and how you do it, but do something — something that brings you little man joy, explores his interests and cultivates his development.
I’d like to keep my toddler boy and my house in one piece, how about you?
And yes…if any of you are thinking it…I do agree that toddler girls would love the aforementioned activities as well!