Monday, April 13, 2015

15 ways to entertain a toddler while waiting...

at the hospital (or anyplace, really!).  Last week, Hope and I went "home" to help take care of my mom after knee replacement surgery.  I thought she would only be in the hospital for a couple of days but she finally came home on day four.  That meant three full days of being at the hospital for me and Hope.  Here are a few ways that I found to entertain a 4.5 year old while at the hospital for nearly thirty hours!
15 ways to entertain your toddler while waiting at the hospital
Color Wonder coloring books - Before our trip, I packed Hope a small backpack (the size that she could carry herself).  Inside were colors, coloring books, a book, her iPad, lip gloss, hand sanitizer, and a water bottle.  One of her favorite things was a new Color Wonder coloring book.  A nice, quiet activity that she could do herself.  Bonus that I didn't have to worry about her making a mess!
15 ways to entertain your toddler while waiting at the hospital
puzzles - One of my mom's friends, Jo, brought a small bag of goodies for Hope to play with.  Her absolute FAVORITE thing in the whole bag was this box of four small puzzles.  She put them together about 367 times!
15 ways to entertain your toddler while waiting at the hospital
iPad - While I didn't want her on her iPad the whole time, it was a nice distraction for her every now and then.  She enjoyed showing her cousin, Kylie, her favorite app - the Jib Jab Christmas Elves!  She gets a serious case of the giggles when she can take your picture and make you dance around!
15 ways to entertain your toddler while waiting at the hospital
roam the hallways (finding an aquarium is a bonus!) - When my mom needed to rest, we took to the hallways!  Hope loved skipping down the hallways!  We were lucky in that this hospital was specific to spine and joint procedures.  It was small so Hope roaming the hallways wasn't disruptive to any patients or staff.
15 ways to entertain your toddler while waiting at the hospital
15 ways to entertain your toddler while waiting at the hospital
15 ways to entertain your toddler while waiting at the hospital
 finding an aquarium with "Nemo" was a fun find while roaming around!
15 ways to entertain your toddler while waiting at the hospital
lunch off site - It's hard enough to keep a toddler occupied while waiting so you definitely do not want them getting hungry!  It was a nice little break to leave the hospital and head to our favorite lunch spot - Chick-fil-A!  It's even better when mom lets you get a milkshake with your lunch!
15 ways to entertain your toddler while waiting at the hospital
  I had to giggle - she had to take the top bun off cause "that's how daddy eats his"!

let them help - Once we got back to the hospital, we were back on duty.  Hope LOVED being able to help out!  She helped clean off Dede's tray, would get her walker for her, and make sure her water was within reach.  She really was a huge help!
15 ways to entertain your toddler while waiting at the hospital
15 ways to entertain your toddler while waiting at the hospital
naps! - Hope isn't a napper anymore but I was pleasantly surprised when she curled up on the couch and took a nice little nap one afternoon!
15 ways to entertain your toddler while waiting at the hospital
take a walk - I mentioned roaming the hallways, but getting outside was one of our favorite things to do!  We normally would just walk around the hospital but one day we walked a couple of blocks to the grocery store.
15 ways to entertain your toddler while waiting at the hospital
15 ways to entertain your toddler while waiting at the hospital
 curbs and retaining walls are perfect balance beams!
15 ways to entertain your toddler while waiting at the hospital
15 ways to entertain your toddler while waiting at the hospital
 these landscaping rocks were fun to walk through and she also picked out a couple to color with her crayons
15 ways to entertain your toddler while waiting at the hospital
play in the electronic doors - During our many walks, I also found out how exciting electronic doors could be!  Hope thought these were magical doors that opened just for her!  :)  She would walk through them and curtsy as a thank you to the doors! Never underestimate simple things that could bring extra joy to your little ones!
15 ways to entertain your toddler while waiting at the hospital
15 ways to entertain your toddler while waiting at the hospital
15 ways to entertain your toddler while waiting at the hospital
raid the patient nutrition fridge (with the nurses approval, of course!) - Hope quickly won over the nurses so they would let her choose anything she wanted from the patient nutrition fridge.  It's hard to compete with chocolate pudding and Peppa Pig!  :)
15 ways to entertain your toddler while waiting at the hospital
acts of kindness - My very favorite way to entertain Hope was doing little things for others.  Remember our walk to the grocery store?  While there we picked up a bouquet of flowers and a couple of boxes of band-aids.  We divided up the flowers and she was able to share them with six nurses at the hospital.  I worked with her to tell them, "thank you for taking care of my Dede."  This wasn't easy for Hope.  She isn't shy (at all!) but would hide behind my legs when it was time to give out the flowers.  It took a few minutes but she finally got up the courage!
15 ways to entertain your toddler while waiting at the hospital
the nurses LOVED the flowers!
15 ways to entertain your toddler while waiting at the hospital
She also colored cards and used band-aids as stickers for other patients on this wing.  She gave them to the nurses to hand out.
15 ways to entertain your toddler while waiting at the hospital
the patients were so excited about getting these cards - a couple even asked Hope to come visit them!
Andrea from Momfessionals recently posted about a great service project,
Cards for Hospitalized Kids.  She designed the cards that we used -
you can find them here.
15 ways to entertain your toddler while waiting at the hospital15 ways to entertain your toddler while waiting at the hospital
 we also left a little surprise for a couple of people to find at the vending machines!
printables found here

take it outside - Coloring the cards was fun but it didn't keep Hope's attention for long.  We had to space it out and work on one or two for a few minutes and then do something else.  A great rule of thumb (for our family) is that kiddos will usually complete the number of items for each year of age they are.  Hope really loved working on the cards outside!
15 ways to entertain your toddler while waiting at the hospital
special surprises - Hope loves the Itty Bittys from Hallmark.  A few months back, I purchased a few for her when they were buy one, get one half off.  I had intended to give them to her for Easter but held on to them when I knew we were going to be at the hospital for a few days.  Each evening before we went to bed, I would give her a new one.  Some might consider this a bribe but I considered it a thank you gift for being such a trooper! :)
15 ways to entertain your toddler while waiting at the hospital
Lady and Tramp were k-i-s-s-i-n-g!
15 ways to entertain your toddler while waiting at the hospital
we stopped by Dollar General one day and she was super happy when I said she could have this My Little Pony book - when you are spending that many hours in a strange place, little happies do wonders to make their day!

favorite meals - I realize that food has taken up more than one spot on this list but it's SO important!  Hope LOVES Italian food and I knew she would be thrilled if I could find some place for dinner that would satisfy her hunger.  She was beyond excited when spaghetti was delivered to our table (probably because I let manners slide for a few minutes!).
15 ways to entertain your toddler while waiting at the hospital
15 ways to entertain your toddler while waiting at the hospital
and finally - take a break from the hospital - On the fourth day, we thought my mom might be able to come home so we decided to hang out at my parent's house and wait for her instead of heading back to the hospital.  Hope was able to ride her bike, go check on the animals, and swing.  This was just what the doctor ordered!  :)
15 ways to entertain your toddler while waiting at the hospital
15 ways to entertain your toddler while waiting at the hospital
15 ways to entertain your toddler while waiting at the hospital
15 ways to entertain your toddler while waiting at the hospital
I didn't set out to make a list of things that would entertain her (cause I wasn't sure how Hope would react!) but she amazed me at how well she did.  She took ordinary and turned it in to extra-ordinary!  I don't know what I would have done without her!  She was my buddy and I was so happy to have her helping me!

But, don't get discouraged if your little one gets tired of waiting...it happens to the best of us!  :)
15 ways to entertain your toddler while waiting at the hospital
Have a blessed day!  Gig 'em and God bless!
Holly

Just a reminder about the Waiting on...Wednesday link up here at While I'm Waiting!  A place where you can link up what you are waiting on, going through, making, just about anything - as long as it's family-friendly!  Come back Wednesday and link up your awesome posts!
You can check my favorite link-ups page to find the awesome girlies I'm linking up with today.  Show them some LOVE! :)

30 comments:

  1. These were great things to share. I absolutely love the vending machine surprises left. And, how you modeled giving to others with the flowers and cards. What a perfect way to teach her about cheering others up and all the lessons that come with giving. My daughter and I spend days in the hospital when she has procedures done due to her disability and I would have loved having a little friend like that come along and cheer us both up. Well done mama!

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    1. Thank you, Michelle! Doing little random (and not so random!) acts of kindness is my love language. I love to see others smile and it's fun to watch Hope "get" it too! Little ones have so much power to spread happiness that they are completely unaware of. I couldn't believe how happy the patients were when the cards were delivered. It was just a piece of paper with some band-aids with lots of coloring outside the lines. But, it absolutely made their day! Proof that it's the little things that people appreciate the most! Thank you for stopping by! Have a wonderful week!

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  2. Love this list! Super practical ideas!!

    Elizabeth
    allkindsofthingsblog.com

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    1. Thank you, Elizabeth! Hope showed me that it's truly the little things that make them happy! Thanks for reading!

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  3. That is exactly how I eat my chicken sandwiches and hamburgers too, Hope! Good choice! She is a doll and what a trooper!

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    1. Thank you, Kim! She really was a trooper! Thanks for stopping by!

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  4. Great suggestions! I'm hoping it'll be a while before we spend a lot of time at the hospital again, but I wish we had had a list like this a year ago.

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    1. Thank you, Stacey! True! I really hope no one has to use this list but just in case... Thankful for knee replacement and that we weren't dealing with something much worse!

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  5. first of all what a cutie and she was so good. I think those are great ideas we can all try.

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    1. Thank you, Karen! She really blew me away with her helpfulness and cooperation! I'm glad you stopped by!

      Have a great day!

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  6. Hope is such a cutie!! That is so sweet that you did acts of kindness and gave the nurses flowers :) she definitely has a great role model!

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    1. Thank you, Katie! Doing little things for others is my favorite! Hoping that it sticks and that she grows up and continues to serve! Have a great day! Thanks for stopping by!

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  7. Hope is definitely a super flexible girl and always soaking up all the joy in life!

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    1. It wouldn't have been the same without her there! She truly, truly does know how to soak up all the joy!!! I love to just sit back and watch her!

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  8. Pinned this to my 'Kids advice' board. Definitely tips I needed! It's so hard to entertain a toddler while waiting somewhere!

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    1. Happy these could help, Marina! Thanks for stopping by!

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  9. My children are past the toddler stage but I so enjoyed reading these and remembering. Sometimes I miss even though I love the ages they are now.

    I hope you can stop by:

    http://collettaskitchensink.blogspot.com/2015/04/family-time-into-woods-41415.html

    Colletta

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    1. Thank you, Colletta! Thanks for stopping by! Looks like you guys had a fun movie night!

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  10. I love when young moms help other moms out with what has worked for them in the various situations of life.

    Your list of activities were so creative and varied, keeping boredom, I'm sure, to a minimum.

    But young moms aren't the only ones who benefited from this. I am a new grandmother! I haven't had an infant in the house since my youngest, who is 24 now, and whose own daughter I will have the privilege of babysitting. I will definitely remember these activities because as we all know, children can get bored pretty quickly. ;-)

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    1. Thank you, Karen! Your words meant so much! We're all in this together! You'll have to let me know which activities your grandbaby liked the best (any share with me any that I didn't list!). Thanks for stopping by! Have a great day!

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  11. I love these ideas I've been spending some time gathering items to keep my boys busy while I'm in the hospital with baby #3. Non-messy coloring and puzzles are already in the bag!

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    1. Congratulations!!! Three kiddos is a magic number (or it was for us!). I finally felt like, "I got this!" and have really soaked it all in with our "baby". Thanks for stopping by!

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  12. Goodness me - who knew that hospitals could be soooo much fun! Thanks so much for linking this up to the 100th parenting pin it party.

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    1. I was pleasantly surprised too! :) Thank you for stopping by!

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  13. Wow what a thorough list! These are all great ideas! I love the photos of her playing in the doors.
    Thanks for sharing on the Shine Blog Hop!

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    1. Haha! Yes, a thorough list - that's what happens when you are there for so long! :) We had to start getting creative! Thanks so much for stopping by and for hosting! Have a great weekend!

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  14. I especially loved the idea of making card for other patients! Thanks so much for sharing this on my Grandma Ideas Sharing Time link up. You're the best!

    Nina

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    1. Definitely one of my favorites too! Thanks for hosting!

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  15. These all sound like perfect distractions! LOL Great list!

    Thanks for linking up with the Saturday Spotlight!

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    1. Thanks, Alycia! We had lots of fun! :)

      Thanks for stopping by and for hosting!

      Have a wonderful evening!

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