10 Ways to Keep Your 2-Year-Old Engaged and Learning

{OR} "What To Do When You're Two". {or} "I Started Writing This a Month Ago"

Facts about me right now:
I'm scared about homeschooling.
My two-year-old isn't napping.

Our current schedule isn't working.
My boys want the same thing. All the time.
I'm searching for quick, easy solutions.

It seems like solutions often come in two categories -- MESSY and PARENT-INTENSIVE.

Did you not hear me just say quick and easy?? =p

We've got shaving cream play, painting with pudding, apple stamping, sponge painting, rice/noodle/bean sensory buckets, and name your own favorite mess making activity "____________________".

Then there's the plethora of time-intensive activities, like make your child an airplane out of cardboard or design a backyard car wash out of PVC pipe {love this idea by the way, but how??? when???}. Can I hire someone to activity scout, gather materials, and build for me, while I tend to the children?

So. Yeah.

I wrote that awhile ago. I'm not quite as scared about homeschooling now, mostly because I've let some of the pressure out of my tires. My two year old is *sometimes* easier to entertain and *sometimes* plays rather nicely with his big brother. They are sharing better, with a LOT of repetitive training from both parental units.

And my husband did make a PVC pipe car wash *in his spare time* on a Sunday morning.

But the question remains -- are there fun, engaging activities for a two year old to enjoy, while I spend more instructive one-on-one time with his brother, the preschooler? Activities that don't take too much time {prep or clean-up}, don't waste materials, and don't require me to supervise or be 100% involved?

What will hold his attention? He really just wants to be in the middle of whatever we are doing {reading books? he's sitting virtually on top of the book, turning the pages before we're ready; crafts? we haven't really even attempted to do anything with glue or scissors; YouTube videos? he someone knows how to press the spacebar to pause already}

So I have done my BEST to collect some ideas {still not convinced they will work, but gotta start somewhere}:

#1. pots and pans with wooden spoon strikers {strategically placed to avoid noise pollution in the school room}
#2. play dough {there will be a bit of mess, I know...but better than finger painting unattended}
#3. beads and pipe cleaners {going out on a limb here, last time I tried this, beads were flying and we still haven't found them all}
#4. make a "snacklace" -- cheerios laced onto a string and tied around neck or wrist {hmm...potential for widespread crumbs}
#5. balloon play -- try to keep an inflated balloon up in the air {will it engage for more than 5 minutes? will it pop?}
#6. a big cardboard box, with window and door {or whatever the going trend is}
#7. sock toss game, rolled up socks and bucket to toss them into {really, I doubt they will end up in the bucket}
#8. wrist and ankle jingles, so he makes music while he walks {entertaining or annoying?}
#9. cotton balls, to build with {to spread all over the house}
#10. spray bottle in the backyard {bet he'd really like this one, now to teach him not to spray in the house}

If you have wisdom amassed over countless years of dealing with two-year-olds of all shapes and sizes...or just a few more thoughts than my half-awake brain can muster, please let me know. =) There are many ways to do that -- a comment here on my blog, an email, a note on my Facebook page, a message in a bottle, a pigeon messenger -- you know, many ways to connect. 

Thanks always. ;)