Toddler activities that can entertain in the church pew or at home!
Church can be daunting with an active little one-especially for us Catholics-with our quiet worship services and often, a lack of Sunday school. Our church doesn’t have a nursery, so the kiddos sit in the pews with their families whether they are in a good mood or not! Thankfully, our tiny community comprises our church congregation, so the majority of the other church goers are aunts or cousins, our school principal, our grandma, or great friends, so they mostly laugh at Hattie’s mishaps or even reach over the pews and steal her from me to give us a break! It still makes
me Ben nervous when she gets to yelping, most likely during the blessing of the host or some pivotal moment such as this… . Our priest, luckily, is also extremely patient, and often makes a funny comment to break the tension if Hattie throws an outrageous fit.
I have found that it is much more satisfying for us all when I can bring enough goods with us on Sundays to keep Hattie pretty occupied. Despite her constant movements either on the ground or in the pew next to us, the rest of the congregation thinks that she is being quiet because they do not notice or hear a thing! I can focus on the sermon and readings more when something other than myself is keeping her focus-it’s a great scenario for all! I know that some folks believe that children need to be taught to be silent and reverent at an early age, but I am totally a supporter of the idea that kids need to be kids, especially toddlers. Hattie absolutely does not understand the concept of sitting completely silent and still for one hour, and I do not expect her to. There will be a time in the future when toys will be left at home and she will expected to participate in the mass, but until then, I will accommodate my little baby’s need for tactile stimulation.
So…What’s in Hattie’s church bag this week?
Shoes: Old Navy
Toddler Back Pack: Swankaroo (one of our all time favs)
First things first, I try to make sure her shoes are as comfy as possible, and easy to remove so that when the shoe pulling happens, we can easily slip those puppies off and then slip them back on before social time when she’ll be running around.
It is also very important to remember that your kiddo will most likely not play with one item for the entire hour (or so) that you are in church. Hattie’s attention span is about as large as a gnat, so it is the combination of things that will keep them occupied, moving from one item to the next and then creating their own little games from the available supplies. Before you know it church will be over! Just be prepared with a few attention keepers, and lower your expectations!
Our interactive items for this weekend included:
a reused plastic coffee container
tiny pom pom balls
a topless water bottle (sounds scandalous..)
Funny story-a few weeks ago I took some pom balls out of my craft closet for Hattie to play with, and she had a ball. A few days later, during a Target shopping trip Hattie started to bounce up and down and giggle in her stroller pointing to the shelf in front of her. We were browsing the $1 section, and there was a small pack of spring colored pom balls in front of her little nose, and it was causing her to feel some extreme happiness. Of course I had to giggle and hand it to her pleased to purchase something for her that SHE requested and would definitely have fun with.
At 18 months “transferring” things is a big deal. The pom balls started in the green coffee canister (the mouth was big enough for her to stick her hand into) and were transferred to the open water bottle. I had first used a washed “Naked Juice” bottle, since the mouth was smaller and more challenging to get each ball into, but it took a little effort to shake the pom balls back out, and so I opted for something with a wider opening to avoid a moment of panic as she watched her pom balls hesitating to come back out of the bottle-most likely during a very reverent moment, like mentioned above
The Easter eggs were filled with her usual Sunday treats-raisins. ( A much healthier alternative to Cheerios)
She stayed entertained for a while with the empty eggs once the raisins had been devoured and my dad, sitting one pew behind us, started to fill them with the pom balls during kneeling time.
You most likely have most of these items at home-or something similar, and if not, I can guarantee your local market has something that you can quickly grab before all of your Easter services in the coming weekend. The Dollar Tree has lots of great seasonal things for super cheap that you can use for creative fun.
I hope that your worship time is fun for both you and your kiddos this weekend!
Try to stay stress free mama’s, these are the days!