15 Days of Mommy Play Toddler Edition

One of my new year’s goals see here was to be a more present mom, so I made this little challenge for myself to motivate me to make a habit of spending time with my kids each day–specifically my toddler. The challenge was to play for 15 minutes a day with my toddler for 15 days straight. I already completed this challenge and had this challenge on my instagram, but wanted to have it all in 1 spot for future use for me and anyone who didn’t do it and may want to.

I chose TOTALLY easy, not complicated things to do so it was doable and easy to actually accomplish. No random props, craft supplies, or store runs needed. I just had to make the time to do it. I figured it doesn’t matter what we do as long as I make time for him each day. I’ll be honest, there were a couple times when life would get crazy and I missed my plan for that day and had to do it the next day so it ended up being almost 15 days straight, but what can I say? #reallife 😉 #newmommaof4problems Don’t let it get you down, and pick up and do it the next day. A good real-life set up is to do it M-F with Saturday and Sunday as catch up days. {so it’ll be 3 weeks}

I started out focusing on my 1.5 year old because since having my new baby I was MOST worried about him feeling left out since he was my baby for such a short time. I am so glad I started with him first {he soaked it right up} and it was fulfilling for everyone. My big kids would sometimes join in which was great and just fine. I just kept my focus on my toddler so he felt like “the center of attention” while doing whatever we were doing. When B and J would join they naturally started cheering him on and making him feel even more like the life of the party. It was a blast. Enough Mandy ramble, let’s get to the actually 15 day round up.

Pick a day to start, and grab your toddler and play! Here we go::

 Day 1:: PLAY IN THE SPRINKLERS “with” your toddler today. {for at least 15 minutes} Nothing says summer more than sprinklers. I don’t know about y’all, but usually I set the sprinklers on and let the kids go at it while I go inside and get things done.  Not today! As you can see this was kind of spur of the moment–no bathing suit even {for either of us actually-but it was too hard to get a selfie in when we were both wet, lol} P was so surprised and excited that I was actually going to go IN the sprinklers and get wet WITH him.  He was thrilled and kept taking my hand and going through them over, and over, and over again.  It’s the little things and it was a blast.  
Day 2:: PLAY TRAINS. Amidst the hustle and bustle of the day, make time to play trains with your little one. This is nothing novel, but quality time doesn’t have to be complicated, it just needs to be there.  My little guy LOVES trains.  So we connected multiple trains together, pulled them apart, and pushed them again and again for 15 minutes and it made him oh so happy.  And consequently, it made me oh so happy too. You can never her “choo choo” enough. 🙂

Day 3:: Play PEEKABOO + HIDE AND SEEK. I don’t know about your toddler, but mine can’t get enough of peekaboo.  Lately, my little man loves a little combination of the 2.  He plays peekaboo by hiding in his teepee and closing and opening it and saying “pee-a-boo.” And then, after a while, I hide while he is closing the teepee and when he says peekaboo I am gone and he comes and finds me. {keep in mind I am hiding super close because he doesn’t close the teepee for very long} He loved it. Happy playing!
 Day 4::Play Toys with your toddler during BATH TIME. Honestly, bath time is usually pretty rushed at my house. Getting 4 kids showered/bathed is kind of daunting so I am usually in a hurry.  Sometimes I even have all the toys put away {since my 5 and 7 year old shower} and I clean my babies quick and get them out.  My goal today was to give P his time in the bath to play with any and every toy and to do it WITH him instead of while I clean the bathroom next to him or check my phone. Today this included putting his toys “nigh night” in the cups, rewinding the swimming penguin and bath toys over and over, and we had lots of fun.  I should do that more often and start earlier in the do so bath time isn’t such a race.
Day 5:: Go on an ICE-CREAM DATE with your toddler. It worked out that my big kids were both gone with Daddy so I could take JUST my babies to good ol McD’s for a soft serve icecream cone. Nothing like a special trip for a treat. This was P’s VERY 1st PERSONAL ice-cream cone at 20 months old. It was HILARIOUS and flat out entertaining to watch him and help him eat it. He loved it and chomped right out of the middle of the cone. Here’s to making yummy time and messy memories with your toddler.
Day 6:: Play dress up and/or my MASK/MOMMY game. OK, let me explain.  P used to be PETRIFIED of masks, truly.  I’m talking laughed nervously from a distance and as soon as he got within 1 foot would scream bloody murder petrified and start hitting the mask in self defense sort of petrified. Well, we’ve worked on teaching him that WE are under the mask and now he gets the cutest thrill when I play what I call the ” MASK/MOMMY Game.” I put the mask on and chase him (we have a less scary ironman mask I was too lazy to find and take a picture of) with a “scary voice” as he runs away excitedly. then, I take it off and make my voice over-the-top abnormally nice for my “mommy voice” and hug him; and then, I quickly go monster like and scary with the mask and chase him again.  I realize this sounds kind of creepy {and maybe it is}, but what can I say? Halloween is my favorite holiday and my babe loves this game.  If your toddler doesn’t get excited thrills and laugh hysterically being chased by his mom in scary masks, I recommend playing dress up for today.
Day 7:: READ. Like I said, I’m all about simplicity and what’s more simple and important than reading. Am I right? Honestly, in the last couple months since the baby has been born I haven’t read much at all with P or any of the kids because I swear feeding the baby, preparing food for my big kids, changing the 2 babes’ diapers, attempting to get us all dressed, and just figuring out this momma of 4 stuff has taken most all of my energy. Sadly, this resulted in me FORGETTING about snuggling up with my babes and reading. Oh, I’ve missed it and so has this little guy.  Here’s to 15 minutes of snuggling and reading today. PS-those bags under my eyes are r-e-a-l folks!
Day 8:: VACUUM. P LoooOOOoooves the vacuum and I never let him do it. Insert embarrassed face here.  Okay, maybe for like a minute here and there, but that’s it! Today I decided I will pre-vacuum (so I don’t feel like I have to vacuum “right”) and THEN let him go at it with me for 15 minutes of pure cleaning happiness. Train them young, right?
 Day 9::FOOD PLAY! Grab some Tupperwares and small snacks and play food with your toddler today. P and I stacked them up on top of each other into a tower and knocked it down, sorted raisins and Kix into different tupperwares, dumped the snacks from container to container over and over, he sang “Clean Up, Clean Up” after dumping them and putting them back into a Tupperware, etc.  Today was totally kid inspired and P loved it. So funny, it’s definitely the little things. So grab some tupperware and go at it.
 Day 10:: PLAY BLOCKS. This one is pretty self explanatory ;). I’m not going to lie, my 1:1 time playing isn’t always exactly 1:1…try 1:3 on certain days like today. I just direct the majority of my attention on mister P. Then, simultaneously-so do my big kids which makes P feel like the coolest kid e-ver. He just soaks in all of the attention. Can’t wait to do a 1:1 challenge for each of my kids as time goes on. For now, my toddler is eating it up! Happy tower building.
 Day 11:: PLAY IN A FORT. Notice I said “play in a fort.” Building the fort was totally my big kids’ job. P looooooved playing inside of the fort. We haven’t built man forts since baby O was born, so P got awfully excited to bring toys and books to play with inside.  We kept it up today so I could play with him more inside tomorrow because I didn’t get my full 15 minutes play session in with him today-my kids got most of it.  Here’s to playing inside a fort with your toddler. Forts make your same old toys seem way cooler by the way. Here’s to being a present mom today.
 Day 12:: FREE PLAY. Today is the day to do whatever your toddler loves you to do with them.  Just follow their lead.  For mine it was flying high superman-style, tickling, and horsie-horsie over and over and OVER again.  Oh how I love this boy of mine.  He is at such a fun (and CRAZY) age.  I’d do anything to hear that giggle.  I can almost hear it in this pic. Here’s to doing what your toddler loves today.
Day 13::  SWINGS. I don’t know about your toddler, but mine could be pushed on a swing for AT LEAST 30 minutes straight if I had the patience for that. However, I usually swing him of r little bit while multi-tasking– sometimes at the park talking with a friend or on the phone with my mom….or sometimes I give him a few pushes and hand over the job to his amazing big sister.  But, today I decided I would swing him for a full 15 minutes by actually being a “present pusher” and swinger. {like my made up words?} It was a blast of course! We practiced counting, I pretended to get hit over and over while he laughed hysterically, we sang, it was a win/win–as it always is. If your toddler isn’t into being pushed on a swing {although I can’t imagine what toddler wouldn’t be}, just play WITH him at a park on a playground today.
Day 14:: PLAY BALL. Don’t be deceived, by “play ball” I mean throw balls back and forth in any and every direction….not actual baseball. In fact, it was super hard to attempt to get ANY picture of P with a ball because he throws them almost instantly after grabbing one…these were the best I could get today. lol.
Day 15:: DANCE with your toddler! Today was a crazy day and I realized when getting ready to put the kids down that I hadn’t had my focused 1:1 time with P today. So, we turned the music up and we all had a dance party for 30 minutes! Pandora- Kid Bopz station is our go-to and we all had a fun dance party.  I did my best to focus on this babe of mine and spun him, held him, and Sass attempted to get a picture of it. While totally blurry, I kind of love it. She captured the moment.

I hope y’all enjoyed this little challenge. I hope you take the time and do it. It is super simple, but super rewarding and habit forming. I realized doing this challenge it really doesn’t have to be something crazy Pinterest creative to make memories with your kids, it just take time. I swear time is the hardest thing to give as a mom, but a little goes a long way.

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