5 Activities That Have Made a Huge Difference in My Toddler's Life

both kids are finally napping and i feel i actually have a second to write! lots on my mind right now and i just wish there were more hours in the day to share everything and do everything i want. i have about a hundred draft posts, but this is one that is weighing near and dear to my heart at the moment. this isn't my typical blog design or nail art post. instead, this one is all about Bronx. usually i keep my family matters to my other more personal, family blog. however, i wanted to share here, in hopes that some other mom out there, who is feeling like me, or has a child like Bronx, will be able to use these ideas and links and know she's not alone!

Bronx is a very active and energetic 2, almost 3-year-old (birthday in July). He's always been go go go, climbing everything, running everywhere, very independent, great motor-skills, and has a crazy-awesome sense of direction. on the other hand, he's never shown a huge interest in reading. i was sad at first, because i LOVE reading, and always loved having my mom read books to me when i was little. but from the time he was little - i'm talking like under a year old - and i would try to sit him on my lap and read to him, he'd just push the book away and want nothing to do with it. i tried not to over-analyze his disinterest in reading, but the older he got, and the more i saw his other little friends loving reading and talking, the more worried i became.

okay so let me clarify a little: Bronx can totally talk. he jabbers on in his own way a ton....it's just...no one but Kevin and I can understand him. haha. sooooo not helpful. he says some words okay, but not like i'm seeing other toddlers his age talk. not a lot of clarity or even interest in learning to talk more. over the past year i had kind of worked with him on learning his shapes and colors, but nothing seemed to be really sticking with him, and he sure as heck didn't want to sing the alphabet. he actually would say: "mom, no!" when i would start to sing it (cue mommy tears and frustration)! throughout all of this, i kept getting reassurances from my parents that "Bronx will learn when he's ready" and "Don't push him too hard or he'll just hate it". all words of advice i greatly appreciated, and of course i do trust my parents (they raised 6 of their own kids, who all turned out just fine!)!

i guess things came to a head one night about a month ago, when i was researching and reading about what a 2-3-year-old should be doing and learning, and Bronx didn't really know any of it. he doesn't know how to count, or say the alphabet, or sing any songs. i am serious when i say that he literally shuts me down when i try to sing to him! (and i try to sing a lot! nooooooo!) he is a mini Kevin. totally opposite of me, who loves singing and reading and yeah, everything artsy. i decided right then that i was going to actively do better to help Bronx learn and grow in ways that were fun for him. i had been really bad at that beforehand...not purposely, but i definitely wasn't trying as hard as i could.

so, thanks to the sharing power of Pinterest, here are 5 activities that have made a huge difference in my toddler's life lately:

1. COLOR MATCHING (ideas found from here and here)

i'm sure you have seen a billion pins and pics of this idea floating all over the internet. and that's because it's a fantastic idea! besides the fact that he's matching colors up, he's also getting dang good at pinching those clothes pins. and yeah, putting it on cardboard makes it a lot more durable and steady for him to hold. i hot-glued everything, and it's been a month and still holding strong.
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here's another color matching game that he can do. totally simple and easy (muffin tin from the dollar store). not to mention: he loves any excuse to play with mommy's "treasures" (aka old beads that had no use).


when getting the ping-pong balls (for the following activity), i saw these foam letters and snatched them up. at first i started lining them beneath their match, but he now can do almost all of them himself ("w" and "m" are tricky sometimes)!


hands down his favorite activity. this kid is obsessed with balls and playing and just sports in general, so this little alphabet basketball game was a no-brainer when i stumbled upon it! 26 ping-pong balls, bought from the Dollar Store, and 2 containers (we use whatever we have close by...a laundry basket most times, or empty toy bin!). he picks a ball, i make him look at and say the letter, and then he gets to shoot!


a cookie sheet and magnet letters (dollar store and walmart). seeing Bronx start identifying each letter makes me SO HAPPY. when he plays now, sometimes i even catch him singing random letters! ..."QRS..." is my favorite to hear right now!


i totally thought this cute little idea would be a hit, but he just isn't into numbers right now. he says them after me, but doesn't care to say them himself yet or want to really match them up. instead, he just tries to squeeze as many cars onto one "parking spot" as he can. haha. i may have to bust out some new activities for numbers for the Bronxinator. we'll see (:

again, these aren't any new ideas that i thought up all myself! there are about a zillion awesome resources for helping toddlers learn their numbers, shapes, colors, letters...you get it. everything on the internet or in books. these just happen to be the 5 activities i picked for Bronx, that have made a huge difference in the past month for him. i can't even tell you how proud i am that he can actually say the alphabet and sing it with me now!


  1. Fun ideas. I might have to make some of those color matching activities. Wes just isn't catching on to any colors lately.

  2. Love these ideas! I can't wait to use them when I have little ones. :) Bronx sounds a lot like Matthias when he was little! Matthias could ride a scooter pretty much as soon as he could walk and was so into everything large-motor! But it took him longer to learn how to talk and I know my mom had to work with him to get him more interested in the quiet, small-motor activities. He got lots of ear infections, so my mom took him to the ear-nose-throat doctor and found out that his ears needed tubes put in (I think to help fluid drain?). Basically, there was stuff clogged in his ear canal, which had been keeping him from hearing certain letter sounds, so since he didn't hear all of them correctly, he couldn't pronounce every sound correctly. Once the tubes were put in, he could hear correctly and his speech started to improve. Most elementary schools around here have a free preschool speech program, and my mom signed him up for that, which helped him improve tons at pronouncing all the sounds. That way by the time he started kindergarten, he was talking well enough that teachers and classmates could understand him, and just going to speech once in a while to work on sounds he still struggled with (like 'r's). You're Bronx's mother and spend more time with him than any other adult, and as time goes on if you feel in your gut that something's keeping him from being where he should be, trust your mama instincts. It can't hurt anything to get ears checked by an ENT doctor or look into preschool speech programs at schools in your area. Tons of kids need tubes in their ears or have speech impediments, and the earlier you catch it, the sooner it will improve. Sometimes it seems like more of a boy thing, too--all three of my brothers had speech problems and my mom will tell you that putting them in preschool speech made a huge difference. Not only did their speech improve but their behavior did too, because they weren't getting frustrated when people didn't understand what they were saying anymore. If you want, I can send you my mom's phone number or email address, because she can explain all of this better than I can. I know she'd be happy to talk to you about it, she's always telling young moms worried about their toddlers how much tubes and speech helped my brothers! Either way it looks like you're doing a great job of helping him get more interested in those pre-reading and small motor skills and that's so important!

  3. These are awesome ideas. Thanks for sharing!


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