Don't let all those toy makers fool you, buying those flashy bells and whistles pull toys, fake food and dolls do not mean that your toddler will be interested in them.
Keep the bathroom door open. There is nothing more interesting to a toddler than picking through the bathroom trash. Wadded up kleenex, plastic wrap, tiny dixie cups and q-tips are all the more appealing when mom screams over and over "get out of that".
But go ahead, take that trash away. It means nothing, compared to toothbrushes and tooth paste. The baby does, after all, need to learn how to brush teeth. This will involve screaming because what fun is it to just have your own toothbrush, why not cry for your brother and sister's too. And heaven help us all if the baby gets their hands on the dental floss. I suppose then, at least, there is a trail to follow.
Now let's move on to the Kitchen, shall we.
The regular kitchen chair can cause problems. While the chair provides direct access to the table itself, it is somewhat difficult, to move backwards and find your footing back onto the chair. This might have something to do with the fact that whatever coveted item in the hand will not aid in the balance of making it back onto the floor. (but it doesn't stop the baby from taking pens, pencils, homework, glasses with a tiny bit of liquid on the bottom, lunches, money and sometimes a newspaper.
All the chairs are taken? Find a cabinet that will open. If pots and pans aren't that exciting (and believe me they really ARE exciting) there's always a bag of potatoes, a bottle of cooking oil and napkins. Glorious napkins. That come out one at a time and can be ripped to shreds. Oh what fun. Everyone loves a napkin, even the dog.
Speaking of dogs. There is virtually hours of entertainment involved with the dog. Too bad she spends most of her time crated. She's fun to sit on and to chase. Who cares if she snarls, that just makes the baby love her all the more. So much more that any and all cookies, crackers, bread, pretzels, chips or fruit can be shared with her. Speaking of sharing there are PLENTY of small sized toys that will fit through the bars. Along with baby hands that can reach in and pet the doggie, whether she wants that or not.
(as a side note: I keep a blanket over the top part of the crate to create a cave like atmosphere. This blankets spends more time on the floor than it does on the crate.)
In between the kitchen and the bathroom, there are often mad dashes through open doors. These open doors are to brother and sister's rooms and those opportunities are few and far between. For good reason. Too many tiny things. That doesn't stop the interest or my heart attack when suddenly the baby drops a marble after being removed from one of these spaces... heh.
Never fear the cats are here. Or there. Or here and there. Or hiding. Or hissing. I think the ability to put a chokehold on an animal at such a young age is instinct. No amount of howling or crying will make it so the cat can wiggle free. No amount. Several of the cats are smart enough to vacate the area when the baby is around but my yuoungest cat will take her chances, if it means being pinched or held down every once in a while.
Snack time is fun and a good distraction. Crackers are good to cruch into smitherenes with sippy cups and anything sticky goes great with baby hair. The best is yogurt. Similar to paint and edible it can hold the baby's attention for a good five minutes once it is dumped onto the high chair tray.
Mixed inbetween all these "adventures" is the occasional sprinkling of toy activity. Books are thrown around or stepped on. Toy sorters are emptied and the block sized pieces are tossed around. Dolls, puppets and stuffed animals are carried to each of the different rooms in the house and any attempt to bring them back will not be pretty.
The end of the day is probably the most entertaining. Nothing will bring a baby running (or send them running) faster than that single word "bathtime". Water play is best toy ever. A single cup and bubble bath will allow for ten minutes of entertainment. There is always lots of reasoning as to why water cannot be poured outside the tub. Existing shampoo and conditions bottles and sometimes soap will come for a swim. Depending on when the baby shampoo comes out and is applied will related directly to how quickly bathtime is over.
I forgot to mention the whole getting dressed part. This is about as easy to do as wrestling a baby pig. Ok to be fair, I have never wrestled a baby pig but it HAS to be like that. I simply do not have enough arms or body parts to hold down a baby and get them dressed. Until I call shoes, then suddenly arms and legs co-operate. (in case you are wondering I do say "shoes" alot).
Granted asking about shoes will result in each and every person in the house getting their pair of shoes brought to them by the baby. Along with the insistance that they be put on, immediately.
Bedtime is the best. Blankies and stuffed animals all contained in a little pen with a light blocking curtain, sound masking and a mini-radiator. The perfect mixture for sleep.
So tell me why then, did I spend gobs of money on toys?