She was "supervising" while I cleaned the bathroom. ;)
Let's be honest: This is easier said than done many times. Plus, some kids are more easily entertained than others. Regardless, I thought I would share my ideas (what works for us, anyways) on how to keep your toddler busy.
1) Put their toys away regularly
I've talked about this before in a previous post, but it bears repeating. I read on another Montessori focused blog (long enough ago that the name is eluding me) that kids get bored more easily if there are tons of toys laying around. From personal experience, I have to agree. Lots of toys scattered all over the place can be overwhelming (for kids AND parents). I try to pick up after Myka at least every other day (we leave certain toys out and rotate some) and she is a lot more prone to play by herself if everything is arranged neatly. It may seem like a pita at first but trust me, you should notice a difference in how long they stay engaged in play by themselves before long.
2) Play WITH them/Show them how to play
It is said that children are born with an imagination, but I am a firm believer that as parents we need to help foster it as much as possible. Children will, of course, love when you take the time/have a few spare minutes to play with them. Also, if you would like them to be able to play by themselves more so you can, for instance, get dinner finished without interruption, they may need some help in learning how to play by themselves if they're used to constantly interacting with someone. Show them how they can use their imagination to play with dolls, cars, build with blocks, etc. You get the idea.
3) Let them play with what THEY'RE interested in
This seems like a no-brainer, but thought I would mention it anyways. Kids are going to play a lot longer and be more engaged with toys that they enjoy playing with, not ones you want them to play with.
4) Let them watch or help with chores
Let's face it: We can't always or want to get everything done that needs to be done around the house while the kids are napping or after bedtime, especially if you have more than one! Try letting them watch or help with chores. Give little Billy a dust rag. Let little Rachel hold the dust pan while you sweep. Myka was quite entertained today with the dust pan while I swept the kitchen. She also likes to "help me sort laundry". Young kids like helping, mimicking others, and doing "grown up" things. And hey, as long as they aren't making things worse, what's the harm? :)
What do you guys do to keep your toddlers entertained?