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Activities for the Non-Activity Mom


Written By Sammy Pandolfo
May 27, 2021

It was March 2020, the beginning of quarantine, pregnant and stuck at home with a 1.5-year-old. Dawson was just about the age to start planned activities! I did a Target pick-up and got all the supplies for a “sensory bin.” This will be great! Mama will get free time. He’ll play for hours by himself!

toddler boy playing with sensory bin

After about 5 different attempts lugging the bin filled with Costco rice up the stairs …. here’s the last picture of our “sensory bin” before I accidentally left it out in the rain.

Not that it was going so well before….

toddler sitting in bin in the driveway

This is about the time I realized, “I hate this stuff.” I get frustrated; Dawson picks up on it. Everyone is yelling. The set-up. The mess.

I’d love to be an activity mom, but I’m not. I’m still a fun and awesome mom in other ways, and that’s okay! In fact, it’s better than okay! Here is a scientific formula for you…

Happy little ones = Happy Mama

But if activities bring you joy…then your happy little ones will have more activities, and that’s great too!

But this is for my mamas that might find themselves cursing under their breath (most of the time) after attempts at the cute Pinterest activities…

Okay, here’s the criteria for these activities:

  • Less than 5 minutes to set up
  • Supplies you have around the house
  • Easy clean-up (no freaking 10-pound bag of tiny rice)

And finally, these are basic ideas on how to start. They are totally up for your own interpretation, and no perfect way to play. Sending you vibes to enjoy your coffee in peace!

Dinosaur Rescue

Animal rescue, Paw Patrol rescue, etc. Use whatever toys you already have at home! We happen to have a million dinosaurs. So we’ll use dinosaurs in this example, but you get the idea!

This is super easy. Here it is: hide dinosaurs throughout your house and have your kids find them.

You can tape them or just hide them in age-appropriate locations. Once Dawson got older, I’d utilize downstairs and upstairs to really get him running and get that energy out. I like to have a dedicated bin where he brings them back to “safety,” which is usually next to where I’m sitting and drinking coffee.

There is no right or wrong way, but points for the more they run around the house!

toddler boy playing at home

Kitchen Sink Play (simple as it sounds)

The kitchen sink is the best toy we own. Get a stool, fill up the sink and let them play. Yes, this can be a little messy but having a few towels around the stool or ready to clean up the water is all you need!

Explain that water must stay in the sink and show your toddler so much excitement when they don’t spill water to encourage them from making a mess!

Here are ideas:

  • Bathe the animals. These are our favorite animal toys (but use what you have a home)! Put a few drops of soap in the sink. Let them use a clean kitchen scrubber or sponge— a towel to lay “clean” animals.
  • Water, soap, measuring spoons, random kitchen utensils, and a tiny bit of food coloring (will keep it diluted and non-messy)
  • If you want all hands on deck, practice pouring into cups
  • They’ll even love to “do the dishes”

Baking Soda + White Vinegar

This one really makes me feel close to a Pinterest mom but still fits the criteria!

This can totally be done inside, but it also makes a great outdoor activity. And if it makes a mess inside…these are ingredients used in cleaning supplies, right? So in my book, you did an activity + a little deep cleaning. Overachieving!

toddler activity with baking soda and vinegar

Step 1

Pour baking soda in a disposable roasting pan, muffin tin, or whatever you have at home.

You could even do this in the sink, or a plastic bin works great
I used packing tape to tape down the disposable roasting pan here just to be extra safe

Step 2

Pour vinegar in a bowl/cup or even use a squirt bottle! You can also dilute the vinegar with water to stretch it.

Hot tip: Suction bowls are great, so they don’t spill the vinegar
You can use a drop or so of food coloring to take it up a notch, but it’s fun without it! (I used too much in these pictures…whoops, but still, it was minimal dyeing of hands)

Step 3

Grab that turkey baster, spoons, or any other supplies you have in the kitchen/around the house.

Step 4

Let your toddler use the tools to bring the vinegar to the baking soda and play!

And even if your activity ends up similar to this….

toddler with basket on his head

I hope it brings more laughter, warm coffee, and less cursing!

author blog

Sammy Pandolfo

Hi! I’m Sammy, one of the two mamas behind Supporting Chaos! Below is a little background on me, but above all, thank you so much for being here. We are so excited to watch this community grow and support other mamas like we’ve been able...