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I have twin boys who are 15 months old. My mother-in-law does daycare for us and also lives with us. Recently I have noticed a trend where they are spending more and more time watching TV during the day. I am starting to look for some books and other resources with games and activities that they can do with Grandma. They cannot go outside as Grandma can't keep up with them so they are stuck indoors most of the time during the week.

There are a lot of options out there and I am looking for specific books and/or websites that you have used with your children that were good ones.

Update: My boys are now 17 months old and we are running an experiment where we took the TV away completely. Now things are crazy. They don't do any one activity for more than 2 - 5 minutes at a time and appear to be bored silly.

I am still looking for activities, books, websites and anything that we can use to help create a more structured day for everyone.

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Converted to community wiki because there will no single best answer, but a collection if useful suggestions. –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun May 27 '11 at 14:01
per pediatrician recommendation, try to avoid TV until the age of two, or close to it, if possible: parenting.stackexchange.com/questions/3/… –  Jeff Atwood May 31 '11 at 9:40

2 Answers 2

If you want to avoid TV then avoid the computer as well. Some things we did were get:

  • Foam Blocks, big and easy to handle though at a teething stage you have to watch them
  • Baby Book readers, LeapFrog has an infant version of stories and does both music and reading
  • VTech has some very simple games with lights and music, kept our 1+ year old entertained
  • Dolls that dance and or sing
  • Play Mats or the Child Tents and tubes you can put together to make mazes
  • Inflatable ball pits, or a kiddie pool with lots of small balls - my kids love that stuff, even the oldest
  • Little People sets, most have action and or sound

We found anything that made noise tended to be good distractions for our kids, our toddler loves my oldest's Zhu Zhu Pet. They are kind of annoying but he loves the toy running around and making weird noises.

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Just a small note on toys that make sounds: do yourself a favor and buy/select toys where the sounds are short. I agree that the sounds help attract and keep the child's attention, but it can be stressing for the parents when the child pushes a button on one toy, then moves to another toy while the first one makes noise for a minute. –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun May 27 '11 at 17:59
Yes, my point on the Zhu Zhu Pet's, they get annoying when they keep running around for minutes. Good point though! –  MichaelF May 27 '11 at 18:38

Type in "activities for toddlers" and "preschool crafts" to a search bar and you will find a million things to do online. Also try "sensory activities" because these are pretty engaging for some reason.

There is a wonderful book called, "the busy book" that will help

Give them water to splash in, dough to knead, cook with them and let them do the measuring and stirring (with your close supervision and help of course). Have them chop and mash bananas. . .

Read stories together.

Little people toys are especially popular with two's.

Act out favorite fairy tales by dressing up or using puppets.

Seat them somewhere and give each a pair of children's safety scissors and a piece of paper and just let them snip away. Yes, you'll have to sweep up (or grandma) but used once/month or so it'll probably keep them busy for awhile.

There are more ideas on my website.

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