Toddler toy

Once a week I take the girls to their swimming lesson and I sit on the poolside with my 2 1/2 year old son for 30 minutes. Notice I put 30 minutes and not half an hour. That is because I feel every single minute of this time. Keeping my active, little one entertained, on the side of the pool without him slipping and falling or getting too close to the edge, takes all my concentration.

Last week's entertainment
Last week's entertainment

As a result I have spent time thinking about appropriate entertainment to take. The criteria is that it must keep him calm, be fairly waterproof, be light and not have lots of bits. Books and sticker books are great. So is an apple. I can get away with my finger puppets, except the wolf which can get him energised. Threading cards are also a hit.

Another frugal idea I came up with was an I-Spy container. I took an empty chocolate chip container, filled it with rice and added lots of bits and bobs to be revealed as the container is rotated. He loves to find a particular object, like a marble, and talk about it.

So far so good. It wasn’t until he played with it for the first time that I realised that I had made more than an I-Spy game. He noticed that I had added feathers and, inadvertedly, a hair and a dried piece of grass. By stroking the plastic, he could make these items jump and swirl in a fascinating way, like a tiny dancer. He is too young to understand why this works, but once he is old enough he will know exactly how a feather can be moved via static electricity. It holds his attention for longer than the I-Spy game. Despite the humidity at the pool it does work but at a lesser degree.

Don't worry Little Owl, that is not another bird in there?
Don't worry Little Owl, that is not another bird in there?

I came up with another version of this without the rice and other items. It has only feathers and a few bits of dry grass. Once the static builds up, the feathers move in a kind of magical way as he moves his hand. Almost like a magician. I’m going to get a round, clear sphere, like a Christmas bauble, that can be filled and I’ll put feathers in. It would be easier to hold in his little hands and the effect would be great. I think that this would make a good toddler entertainment for car journeys.

The girls have been fascinated by the effect and I have been able to explain to them why it works. Guess what, they wanted a version of the container.

I like to vary his entertainment every week. So does anyone have any other toddler activities which would be suitable for the pool side?

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