It became clear very early in the moving process that Peanut was going to make my job more difficult. A LOT more difficult. When I started trying to pack, no matter what super fun activity I set out for her to do, she was much more interested in what I was doing and unpacking everything I put in the box or adding unwanted surprises to the box. I almost packed up a cup of grapes she snuck in at one point….so, I had to get a bit more creative and find a way for Peanut to get involved in moving.
The good news is, I was successful. I found a few activities that kept her busy and feeling like she was helping Mommy out. Unfortunately, I was so busy I didn’t always get pictures so I’ll try to explain it well! Also, tell us of any ideas you had while moving that kept your toddler entertained and out of trouble!
1. Big box coloring. I found a giant box Peanut would have a hard time getting out of, threw in some markers (since she doesn’t get to use markers very often I knew she’d be excited about it), stripped her down to her diaper, and put her in the box. I took the cap off a few of the markers and showed her how she could color all over the box. She happily started repeating “color” over and over and making a master piece in the box.
2. Big box stickers. The big box worked out so well at keeping Peanut contained where I knew she wouldn’t get into something and get hurt that I wanted to use it for something else. So, what else do toddlers love besides markers? Stickers! I grabbed some sheets and put Peanut in the box with a variety of her favorite stickers. She had so much fun. To make the activity independent I folded the sticker pages back so she could grab the stickers without my help. Before she was done, she had all kinds of stickers all over the box and her self…but she was happy and I got stuff done!
3. Box races. Peanut came up with this idea on her own and I just encouraged it. When she stole my empty box I was just about to start filling and ran away pushing it all over. I put her baby doll in the box and told her to push her baby. When she was done pushing her baby, I had her push the markers around, which made a fun sound in the box. When she was done with the markers, I switched out the markers for a stuffed animal. Switching out what she pushed around seems to re-spark her interest in the fun and she discovered what would happen to that item as she pushed it along.
4. Toy packing. After watching me pack away room after room, Peanut really wanted to help and kept trying to put whatever she could find in the box I was filling. I gave her a box of her own, a stack of toys, some newspaper and let her pack away her toys. She packed and unpacked the box several times and it kept her from sneaking surprises into the real moving boxes!
5. Stuffing boxes. This was one of the first things I tried to keep Peanut entertained while I was busy packing. She loved filling the box with newspaper, emptying the box, ripping the paper up and crumpling it up more, then stuffing it back in the box. It kept her entertained for a good long while. She even tipped the box over and crawled in with the newspaper, which she thought was hilarious. It was such a simple way to entertain her, but it worked!
Hopefully these ideas will help keep your toddler out of your hair while you’re packing and moving! We all love our kiddos, but we all know how hard it can be to pack while your little love is trying to undo everything you’re doing or sneak in an extra item (or 10!) into the box!
Now, if you have any tips on getting life back to normal quickly after you’ve moved, I’d love to hear those. We are still trying…but stick with us, we’ll be back at it soon!