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Easy Toddler Activities at Home (Low Clutter)

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How to Keep a Toddler Busy

I’ve had to get creative finding ways to keep my older kids active indoors and engaged instead of bored. But toddlers are a whole other ball game!

Toddlers are at an interesting place developmentally. They are big enough to no longer be happy in a gated area or playpen but they’re not big enough to be able to roam free either…

Whether you’re homeschooling, making dinner, or just need a few minutes to yourself, finding safe activities that will keep your toddler engaged is a must. These easy activities will (hopefully!) help you keep your toddler busy without resorting to a screen.

How to Keep Toddlers Busy

A few minutes to ourselves is nice, but directing a toddler’s limitless energy has benefits for them as well. These tips will help you encourage your toddler to be a little more independent which can help you have a few minutes for older children or activities you need to do on your own:

  • Encourage them to be self-directedThe more we trust our kids to be able to play on their own the more they will be able to. Try to avoid turning on the TV and instead remind your child that you’re working on something and you will be with them in a few minutes.
  • Include them in what you’re doing when possible – If you’re making dinner, find something your toddler can help you with like rinsing fruit. They will feel included and you’re also building skills for the future (and they might eat some veggies too!).
  • Show them what they can have – Dedicate one drawer, cupboard, or cubby just for them. Fill various (safe) objects you already have around the house. Change out the contents once a week to keep things interesting. This post on setting up a Montessori-inspired area at home also has some (simple) ideas.

Easy Toddler Activities

Here are some of my favorite activities for busy toddlers that don’t involve screens or a lot of extra toys (although a few well-chosen toys are worth their weight in gold!). Many of these activities don’t require many supplies, so they’re perfect last-minute and use materials you probably already have.

Splash Bucket

This activity is incredibly simple but I’m always surprised how long a toddler can be occupied with it. Get a bucket, dishpan, or any vessel that you can fill with water. Place a towel on the floor and the bucket filled with water on top. Add some natural bubble bath, small toys, water toys, or whatever you have available. You could even add measuring cups or scoops (if you don’t think your toddler will dump it on the floor)! If you are worried about water getting on the floor, put down a tarp first. You could also do this activity outside if the weather is nice.

Hole Punchers, Safety Scissors, and Other “Tools”

Kids love being able to use tools that they see adults using. Depending on your toddler’s age and ability, some of these tools could be a fun way to spend 20 minutes. Grab a stack of construction paper and a hole punch or safety scissors and let your toddler make you some confetti.

Tweezers and tongs are other tools that are fun for toddlers. Standard medical tweezers aren’t going to be easy enough for your toddler to use so I recommend toddler tweezers. Gather some small toys or items for your child to pick up with the tongs or tweezers. Some ideas include beads, small stones, pieces of plastic drinking straws, and dried beans.

Discovery Bowl

Kids of all ages love digging. For toddlers, you can fill a bowl or shallow pan with rice, dried beans, or even play sand. Rice or play sand may be best for toddlers who love to put things in their mouth.

Bury a few toys in the bowl for your toddler to discover. Give your child a paintbrush and a plastic spoon to use to “excavate” the toys they find. Here are some ideas for fun things to bury in your discovery bowl:

  • Small wooden toys or blocks
  • Cotton balls
  • Dinosaur bones (made from baked playdough)
  • Matchbox cars

For slightly older children you can bury puzzle pieces. Then your child can find all the puzzle pieces and put them together.

Tip: Add a few drops of lavender essential oil to make this activity a soothing and relaxing one!

I Spy Bottles

Fill an empty plastic bottle about half full with rice. Add fun extras like glitter, sequins, beads, shiny objects, and small toys. Hot glue the top on and let your toddler explore. The best part of this toy is that your toddler can’t spill it!

Build a Balance Beam

Anything that’s more than a half inch off the ground can be a balance beam to a toddler. A 2 x 4 wood board works really well, but be creative and use what you have available.

This is best as an outside activity but can be used inside as well. If you do this activity inside, your balance beam may need to be shorter than what you can use outside. It should work fine though and your child will love it. Your toddler can spend time learning to balance moving from one end of the balance beam to the other.

Homemade Playdough

Homemade playdough is so easy to make and kids love it. Use this recipe for regular playdough dyed with natural food-based dyes. Or use this recipe if your kids can’t come in contact with gluten. This playdough will last a long time if you make it ahead as well.

When you’re ready to set up the activity, put the playdough on the table and give your toddler some of your cookie cutters and other safe kitchen tools to use.

Bubble Wrap

Bubble wrap has saved us many times when a toddler was not happy with mom needing to work/clean/help the older kids with school work. Instead of throwing out bubble wrap that comes in the mail, bring it out only at times when you need your toddler to be occupied without your help. That way it’s a fun surprise. You can even tape it to the floor and have her walk over it to pop the bubbles.

Party Balloon Volleyball

I’m always surprised by how enthralling a mylar balloon can be for a toddler. When it’s filled with helium toddlers love to pull the string and dance the balloon around in the air. Even balloons that are not filled with helium can be a lot of fun for toddlers (as long as they don’t start biting them!). (Obviously, please use this and all of these activities with parental supervision!)

Obstacle Course

Create an obstacle course outside with outdoor toys and anything else that you have (old tires work well). Show your toddler how to go through the obstacle course (or let him do it his own way!). If you can’t get outside for whatever reason, gather soft things like pillows, blankets, cushions, etc. inside on the floor. Build an obstacle course with these soft objects for your toddler to explore inside.

Newspaper Basketball

When you’re stuck inside and your toddler (or older kids) are getting antsy, put together this easy indoor basketball game. The best part is it won’t make (much) of a mess and won’t break anything. Crumple up newspaper into balls and have your toddler try to get the balls into a bucket or trash can. Have your child count how many got into the basket and how many landed on the floor. (Older siblings tend to want to get in on the action too!)

Toddler Activities to Inspire Exploration

These toddler activities are not just for getting a few minutes to focus on something else (though that’s important too!). The hope is that they set the the foundation for an active childhood as they get older, too (preferably with lots of time outside!). Here’s to happy exploring for our toddlers as they grow, and a few minutes of peace and quiet for mom!

Please help me add to this list of ideas! What sanity-savers do you have to share? Let me know in the comments!

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Post-vaccine surge? Michigan’s spring coronavirus case spike close to previous year’s autumn high

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(Natural News) The spike in new Wuhan coronavirus infections recorded in Michigan over the spring is similar to a spike seen during the 2020 fall season. According to a Wall Street Journal analysis, the state’s daily coronavirus case count averaged more than 7,000 for almost two weeks – before taking a slight dip to 6,891 on April 20. This echoed similar figures back in November and December 2020, which saw sharp rises in infections for those two months before plunging.

Back in autumn of last year, Michigan averaged more than 7,000 cases per day for a span of 10 days. New infections dropped slightly, then briefly spiked as the December holidays approached. It then fell to the low 1,000s for the succeeding two months – until ascending again in March.

According to University of Michigan internal medicine professor Dr. Vikas Parekh, the sudden increase in new infections could be attributed to several factors. Among the factors he cited was re-openings, which increased people’s interactions and mobility. Parekh said the loosened restrictions contributed to the spread of the highly contagious U.K. B117 variant.

“As the B117 variant spreads nationally, we will likely see other stats [with] their own surges – although I hope none are as bad as Michigan,” the professor remarked. He continued: “The milestone just tells us we are not yet in the clear, especially as we still have large portions of our population who are not vaccinated yet.”

Parekh also expressed optimism over the lower daily caseloads the Great Lakes State reported. He said he believes both cases and hospitalizations have plateaued and will likely decline soon. The professor commented: “[COVID-19] positivity has been declining now for one week, which is usually a leading indicator of case decline.”

Meanwhile, the state cited younger populations and youth sports, such as basketball, wrestling and hockey, to increase new COVID-19 infections. Because of this, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called to suspend youth sports and indoor dining in the state. She also exhorted high schools to conduct remote class sessions for two weeks to curb the spread of the pathogen.

Michigan still experienced the spike in cases despite having one of the highest vaccination rates in the country

During the opening stages of the U.S.’s immunization drive against COVID-19, Michigan boasted of having one of the highest vaccination rates nationwide. A report by Bridge Michigan even noted the initial “frenzy for vaccines” that “far exceeded the state’s limited supply.” But things have appeared to turn around for Michigan, as it now struggles to reach the 70 percent vaccination rate needed for herd immunity.

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Scottish mom’s legs turn into a pair of “giant blisters” after first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine

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(Natural News) Sarah Beuckmann of Glasgow, Scotland, felt a tingling sensation in her legs and noticed a rash flaring up around her ankles a week after getting her first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine on March 18.

She also had flu-like symptoms right after the vaccination.

Beuckmann called her doctor to arrange an appointment the morning she noticed the rash, but by the afternoon her skin was already breaking out into blood-filled blisters. Blisters also appeared on her legs, hands, face, arms and bottom.

“I ended up asking my husband to take me to A&E,” said Beuckmann, referring to “accident and emergency,” the equivalent of an emergency room (ER). “When I got there, my heart rate was sitting at 160bpm, which they were very concerned about. I got put on an ECG machine.”

Doctors determine AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine triggers the rash

Medics carried out tests for HIV, herpes and other skin conditions to work out what triggered the rash, but all results came back negative. Doctors finally determined that the vaccine caused her rare reaction after carrying out two biopsies.

“Once they found that it was a reaction to the vaccine, they put me on steroids and that really seems to be helping my progress,” said Beuckmann. She had been advised by her doctor not to get the second dose of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine because of her reaction.

Beuckmann spent 16 days at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. She was discharged to recover at home. The 34-year-old mother of one is currently wheelchair-bound due to the bandages on her legs and blisters on the soles of her feet. She may need physiotherapy to help strengthen her leg muscles.

“They are starting to heal and they’re looking a lot better than they were but as the blisters started to get worse, they all sort of merged together,” she said. “I didn’t know what was going on.”

With the blisters merging, her legs have looked like a pair of “giant blisters.” Beuckmann admitted that at one point she feared her legs might have to be amputated.

Dermatologist agrees COVID-19 vaccine causes the blisters

Dr. Emma Wedgeworth, a consultant dermatologist and spokeswoman at the British Skin Foundation, agreed that Beuckmann had likely suffered a reaction to the vaccine.

“Vaccines are designed to activate the immune system. Occasionally people will have quite dramatic activation of their immune systems which, as happened in this case, can manifest in their skin” Wedgeworth told MailOnline. “This poor lady had a very severe reaction, which thankfully is extremely rare.”

It is not clear why Beuckmann, who works in retail, was invited for a vaccine. Scotland’s vaccine rollout was focused on people over the age of 50 when she got vaccinated, although vaccines are available to those who are considered at risk from the virus, or live with someone considered vulnerable.

At least 20 million Briton have had AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, which drug regulators say causes a rash in one percent of cases. They say rashes caused by the jab tend to go away within a week.

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Trojan labs? Chinese biotech company offers to build COVID testing labs in six states

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In 2012, BGI acquired Complete Genomics, a DNA sequencing company and equipment maker. The funds for the $117.6 million purchase were raised from Chinese venture capitals. The company has expanded its footprint globally. According to its website, BGI conducts business in more than 100 countries and areas and has 11 offices and labs in the U.S.

People are concerned about China’s access to American DNA data

Some said that with Complete Genomics providing an American base, BGI would have access to more DNA samples from Americans, helping it compile a huge database of genetic information. Some also worried about the protection of the genetic information’s privacy.

According to a 2019 report from the U.S.–China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC), BGI “has formed numerous partnerships with U.S. healthcare providers and research organizations to provide large-scale genetic sequencing to support medical research efforts,”

There are three main reasons why many people in the biotech community and government have expressed concerns about China’s access to American DNA data.

In the “60 Minutes” interview, Evanina discussed the very likely scenario in which Chinese companies would be able to micro-target American individuals and offer customized preventative solutions based on their DNA.

Evanina asked: “Do we want to have another nation systematically eliminate our healthcare services? Are we okay with that as a nation?”

The second concern is that China may use DNA to track and attack American individuals. As the USCC report states: “China could target vulnerabilities in specific individuals brought to light by genomic data or health records. Individuals targeted in such attacks would likely be strategically identified persons, such as diplomats, politicians, high-ranking federal officials or military leadership.”

The third concern is that China may devise bioweapons to target non-Asians. Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, discussed it in his article “What Will China Do With Your DNA?” published by The Epoch Times in March 2019.

He wrote: “We know that the Asian genome is genetically distinct from the Caucasian and African in many ways. … Would it be possible to bioengineer a very virulent version of, say, smallpox, that was easily transmitted, fatal to other races, but to which the Chinese enjoyed a natural immunity? … Given our present ability to manipulate genomes, if such a bio-weapon can be imagined, it can probably – given enough time and resources – be realized.”

An article from Technocracy said: “China’s aggressive collection of American DNA should be doubly alarming because it can only spell one ultimate outcome: biowarfare. That is, genetically engineering viruses or other diseases that will be selectively harmful to U.S. populations.”

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