{Play} Free Play Fun

October 13, 2011 in All Posts, Play, Toddler Activities

I love that being home with the kids gives me more time with them, but sometimes I need a little time for myself while I’m with them.

The Painted Toast activity is great for a few extra minutes in the morning, but when they’re done eating the toast – and that’s usually pretty quickly – my alone time’s up too soon.  Coloring and painting are great, too, but sometimes there’s a huge mess to clean up or they’re constantly wanting to show me what they’ve made.  Cute and lovely, but still, an interruption if I’m trying to book appointments or organize my mind clutter for a few minutes during the day.

My solution for now is an open-ended free play activity.  It frees up my time and frees up their imagination and creativity!  I love that there’s no prep involved and minimal cleanup.  Just give your toddler some random materials and let her go for it!


The beauty of this project is that you can use any materials that are on hand!

  • art supplies
  • items in the recycling bin or
  • natural objects from your yard

We used pom pom balls, pipe cleaners, googly eyes, paper, glue and some leaves that had fallen onto our deck.  I often throw in paper roll tubes and stickers since those seem to be particularly fascinating to Jane.

Here’s what I secretly observed while Jane was chatting to herself during this activity:

She started with the glue. 

Just figuring out the glue cap always takes a few minutes of quiet concentration.

First, she tried glueing some googly eyes on to the pom poms.Here’s her monster.

Then, she turned to a leaf and tried to do some gluing with it.

Next, it was time for a little tasting.

Some quiet thinking.

An a-ha moment.

She fashioned a stick and marshmallow to make s’mores and roasted them over her campfire.

The s’mores soon morphed into a bubble wand and she blew some bubbles.

Finally, she made a fishing pole and caught a few fish.

The last thing she made was an old tire – basically the fishing pole, but with a new identity.

What activities do you set up for your toddler to let him explore his own creativity?

LEARN! Imaginative play, planning, independence, fine motor skills, creativity

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Chrissy – who has written posts on The Outlaw Mom® Blog – Creative Living in a Conventional World.

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