As a toddler mom, I am always playing, moving, and doing – and honestly, having the best time. Now, as I expect my second child, I've found myself in search of activities that are a bit less involved than a lot of the games my toddler and I typically play. Don't get me wrong – I love doing science experiments, playing a house-wide game of hide and seek, practicing our hockey skills, and running full speed to and around the playground, but sometimes I just want to lay on the couch.
After falling in the slump of turning on the TV for more than "just one show" like we used to, I've found that my daughter is really at her happiest when the TV is off, when some fun music is on, and above all else, when we're playing together. Here are seven activities that invite all sorts of fun, without demanding too much movement from me.
1. Forts. The simple act of getting in and out or sitting and doing almost nothing under a "tunnel" is exciting for little ones. In our house, our couch is basically always in the form of a small fort, which limits the amount of actual work. I stand watch at the L-shape corner cushion or under the tunnel for intruders, while LG plays for nearly an hour every day. She hosts tea parties with or without me and works on her ninja climbing skills while I get to direct her and enjoy the stillness.
2. Restaurant. In our house, LG has discovered a "cash register" that's really an old iPod dock in our guest bedroom, which is upstairs. While I and her other patrons (usually stuffed animals) make our orders downstairs, LG is hard at work going up and down the stairs taking money, bringing back change, and making all of the food/drinks we're ordering from her kitchen. She loves it, gets exercise, explores her imagination, and we can even work on math skills of counting money or food items while I sit idly by.
3. Trains. At two years old, LG still needs some help putting the wooden train set together the intended way, but after almost two months of playing with it, she's grown comfortable doing much of it on her own. I can sit quietly with my coffee while she creates stories of trouble on the tracks, says adorable things like "Express coming through!" from the Thomas and Friends series, and jumping with excitement when she's able to connect an entire line of trains that doesn't come apart after going up and down the big hill.
4. Hide and Seek. The great thing about toddlers is that they find nearly everything amazing – especially the concept of hiding. LG loves hide and seek just as much when I bury myself into a bedroom closet upstairs as she does if I simply put a blanket over my head. When it comes to finding her, she also is totally OK with giving me a verbal confirmation of where she is. Not only is this hilarious, but it also allows for me to stay put for the most part.
5. Open-Ended Play with Toys. From kitchen sets and baby dolls to building blocks and stuffed animals, the right toys can lend themselves to endless fun for little ones. I've grown particularly inspired by our Green Piñata shipments as they are all developmentally appropriate, none of them contain batteries, and if/when any novelty wears off, we get a brand new set. Finding toys that your child can do more than one thing with is key if you're looking for a break, and making sure your child has the skills required to play independently is going to make this time more enjoyable for both of you.
6. Salon. Whether it's a hair salon, nail salon, make-up stand, or massage parlor, my daughter loves getting to play with my own personal, adult hair brushes, make-up, nail files, you name it. Put a crate together of everything you've got that won't stain the couch and isn't exhorbitantly priced (in case it gets ruined, which it honestly might). Take your apprentice to the family room or wherever you can be comfortable, and let him or her get to work!
7. Doctor. Throughout this pregnancy, we've talked a lot about sickness in our house – to try and explain to LG why I'm not my typical, energetic self. Despite the guilt I've felt during these sick months, I've also noticed my daughter explore the doctor role like never before to make sure I'm OK. It's sweet, it promotes learning, and well, it lets me stay right on the couch where I want to be. Using the Hape Doctor Kit we got in our latest Piñata, I taught LG all about her doctor tools and you'd be amazed at how much fun we both had.
I'd love to hear your own couch-friendly activities! Share below in the comments or hop on over to Instagram and tell us there.