Monday, October 15, 2012

Ode to Masking Tape

I hereby declare today Toddler Tuesday!

You don’t have to be a home school mom like me to have multiple moments during your day when you are frantically trying to figure out what to do with your toddler or preschooler!  Let’s see who can relate.  Those of you who have a child between the ages of 1 and 4 in your home, please answer the following questions:

1.      Do you ever need to take a shower?
2.      Do you ever use a telephone device to make an important phone call?
3.      Does your family eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner?
4.      Has your little one ever inadvertently created a volcanic mess in the matter of seconds that needs immediate clean up detail?
5.      Do you ever need to communicate two sentences at one time to your spouse?
6.      Do you ever need a few minutes to lovingly discipline an older child?
7.      Do you ever find yourself needing a few minutes to teach another child a new concept or help them with an old one?
8.      Have you ever had an ordinary infant diaper change turn into an explosion, necessitating an emergency bath?
9.      Have you ever needed to sort laundry without having a short, little helper unsorting it even faster?
10.   Do you ever need 5 minutes of uninterrupted time to organize something in the little one’s room, but can’t do it while they’re asleep because, well…they’re asleep?

If you’ve answered “yes” to any of the questions above, then you may be interested in some new ways to keep your little one engaged in some independent play time!

I literally keep an ongoing list of ideas to entertain my children, from crawlers to school aged.  As you know, you have to keep things fresh and exciting to keep these little ones’ attention!  My master list contains some amazing ideas that I’ve jotted down over the years, full of lessons to be learned and things to be explored.  Many of those activities require some prep time (which is worth it).  However, sometimes you have an unexpected visitor, phone call, or are just running out of time and low on brain cells.  For those moments, friends, grab a roll of masking tape!  I now keep several around the house.  I’ve listed my 5, 5 minute or less masking tape activities to buy you at least 5 minutes!  You can get rolls of cheap masking tape at the dollar store by the way…no need to buy that expensive $2.00 stuff ; )      
Ode to Masking Tape!

1.  Create a Road to Zoom Cars

            Prep Time:  5 minutes

            Materials:  Masking Tape and toy cars

Go crazy!  Connect the tape and make it twisty.  Take it up the walls.  Make it go under the table!  Once your tape road is down, zoom a car or two to show them what to do…it won’t take long to catch on ; )  You can also make a wide road for big trucks by taping parallel lines of tape. Bonus:  they LOVE to clean up the tape when play time is over!  All my boys played with the road, even making road blocks, bridges, etc. 


2.  Masking Tape Table

            Prep Time: < 5 minutes

            Materials:  Masking Tape

Take strips of masking tape and lay it down in no particular pattern all over a table.  It will take them about 5 minutes to remove the tape and will probably spend longer playing with it afterwards.

 3.  Save the Toys!  Masking Tape Ball

            Prep Time: <5 minutes

            Materials:  Masking Tape and small toys (we use army men or action figures)

Make a giant, messy tape ball, occasionally “trapping” a toy while continuing the tape ball.  (Don’t make it too tight, or frustration may ensue) Hand over the tape ball and have your little one save the toys!

4.  Fill a Shape

            Prep time:  <5 minutes

            Materials:  Masking Tape and blocks or legos

Use the tape to outline shapes on the floor.  Have your little one fill the shape with blocks.  This occupies little ones and helps older ones learn spatial concepts.  I made this a preschool activity for my 4 year old and simultaneously made it a busy/learning activity for my 2 year old…love the double duty activities!


5.  Name Tape

            Prep Time:  <5 minutes

            Materials:  Masking Tape, a blank wall, and a flashlight

Write your child’s name on the wall with masking tape.  Get a flashlight and show them how to trace the tape with the light.  Undoubtedly, this will not only be a lesson in name recognition, but will turn into many more minutes of flashlight play!


That’s it folks!  Like I said, there are many wonderful ideas, but for busy moms, I think the best ideas are the ones that don’t require the craft store, take less then 5 minutes to set up, and can entertain little ones independently and engage their creativity!

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