The Busy Mum Guide: Entertaining Toddlers | Learning Letters

I always had visions of being this amazing crafty mum. Who always had a bright idea that would lead to hours of fun and learning. The kind of mum wouldn’t bat an eyelid at the pen marks on her new worktops or the spilt glitter on the floor. Or the play-doh colours being all smooshed together.

Nope. I’m definitely not that kind of mum.

Some Mumma’s are simply amazing at arts and crafts and exciting activities. Whilst others try, fail miserably and think sod that for a game of soldiers, where’s the iPad? Well, I’m the latter and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

Jokes aside, (I only reach for the iPad when things are going hideously tits up) I just find the whole getting crafty thing a lot of bloody effort. It never takes long for our home to look as if Marshmellow Man has ransacked Hobby Craft pissed as a fart. Then I’m left finishing off whatever ridiculous activity that looked doable on Pinterest, whilst Elsie is nowhere to be seen.

It’s all just such a faff.

However, I am really conscious that Elsie is going to get a tad bored over the summer holidays.

She’s never been very good at playing with toys or entertaining herself. She would much prefer to have an adult conversation, whinge or watch television. Eye roll. So even though I’m vowing to carry out my alternative summer holiday plan, I still wanted to put together a couple of simple activities that I could reach for when I sense that she’s getting bored or perhaps we’ve slightly overdone our television time.

The Montessori Teaching Method 

I’m a big fan of the Montessori teaching method. Although Elsie isn’t in a Montessori pre-school anymore, (sadly, her previous school closed down at the start of this year) their whole ethos and methods really appeal to me. Encouraging independence and self-development through supported, flexible and natural activities all in a very calm, thoughtfully prepared environment.

Sounds ideal, doesn’t it. Although, all of those things are sometimes hard to achieve in a busy, manic household where your time is limited and you’ve got people screaming at you from all angles. I’ve been mooching through Pinterest and have tried and tested a couple of fairly easy activities for pre-schoolers.

They didn’t take that much time to put together, trust me, there are a zillion other things I’d rather do than get out the craft box, but for the sake of our sanity and Elsie not becoming a couch potato this summer, sometimes needs must.

I’ve arranged them into order depending on ease, prep time and ability (oh, and attention span) and last week we focused on learning the letters of her name. All activities encourage developing their fine motor skills, patience and concentration skills.

Entertaining Toddlers | Learning Letters

Tracing Letters with Buttons (Prep Time 5 Minutes)

You Will Need:

  • Buttons
  • Card
  • Marker Pen

Simply draw out the letters of their name on some card with a Sharpie. I threw in some squiggly patterns just to keep her entertained for longer. Using the buttons ask them to cover and follow the lines to create each letter or pattern.

Elsie loved this activity. She helped Nanny to pick out a load of buttons from her sewing kit and put them into a pot. She then entertained herself for a good ten minutes picking out all of the buttons and placing them along the lines before she got bored and started dropping the buttons on the floor, by accident, she said. Moo.

Matching Letters (Prep Time 10 Minutes)

You Will Need: 

  • Foam Card (or normal card)
  • Wooden Pegs
  • Pen

I ordered this cheap pack on wooden pegs from eBay. Simply write each letter of their name on a peg. Then write their name along the foam card leaving enough space between the letters for the pegs to be positioned at the top of the card to correspond with each letter.

When I found this activity on Pinterest and thought that Elsie would enjoy it as it’s something a little different. She enjoyed matching each letter but found the peg part a bit tricky. It’s definitely an activity that we can practice together over the summer and then hopefully she will be breezing it all by herself soon enough.

Spelling Their Name (Prep Time 15 Minutes) 

You Will Need: 

  • Card
  • String
  • Stapler
  • Foam Card (or normal card)
  • Sharpie
  • Scissors

Simply cut out items of clothing using the foam card. Spell out their name. Staple the string across the card to make a washing line. Then add pegs to each of the items and hang on the line.

We’re not quite there yet with this activity, but it worth a try. Elsie recognised the letters of her name, although she quickly got frustrated with the pegs and me trying to help her. So I guess this is one for the future or on a day when she’s not so cranky.

What activities do you do to help your little one learn the letters of their name? 

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