Advanced search

Toddler who won't play with any toys!

(19 Posts)
FlatPackPat Sat 25-May-19 08:38:21

DS is 19 months; a happy, engaged and healthy little boy. But does he want to play with any of his toys? NO!

I understand that he may not have the skills to focus on one toy for that long at this age but all he wants to do is splash water at the sink. Literally. We do this many times a day but obviously it makes a bloody great mess and we both end up getting soaked. We live in a one bed flat so no garden/communal space available except the park which is a 10 min walk away.

He is at his happiest when outside, running around the park, climbing everything in sight. We live in London so I feel like I have a caged bird in the flat most of the time! He's very vocal and is constantly talking to me and telling me what he wants to do "wash hands mama!!". We go to the park everyday and let him run wild. I wfh so am with him all the time. I set up activities for him that I think he'll love. He engages for a minute or so and then is over it.

I guess I just wondered if anyone else had a toddler like this?! I'm not worried about him, just exhausted having to do constantly find things that keep him occupied and happy for longer than 1 and a half minutes (not an exaggeration!). I'm 4 months pregnant and obviously also have to find the time to work/clean/make food. I see other kids his age sitting and playing with something for 10 minutes and marvel at what I could achieve in this time.

Is this a phase? Will I at some point be able to unload the dishwasher? When do I get to sit down?!

OP’s posts: |
FlatPackPat Sat 25-May-19 10:04:15


OP’s posts: |
FlatPackPat Sat 25-May-19 19:32:55

Just me? blush

OP’s posts: |
ElyElyOy Sat 25-May-19 22:04:51

My son is still like that at 2.

He is happier helping me unload the dishwasher, or emptying the washer, or mopping the floor. Have you tried to engage him in those sort of activity: I know it’s child labour, but needs must grin

MummyBear2352 Sun 26-May-19 10:07:40

Sounds really normal. Sorry.

Sitting down will become even more of a challenge once you have two. But your 19 month old will be able to occupy himself eventually. It won’t be forever! 😊

I put my 20 mo in his high chair when I need to unload the dishwasher/cook or whatever. wouldn’t be able to otherwise. Maybe you could try this and make some edible play doh or something to keep him occupied while you’re busy? Kids always love making a mess! 😊

FlatPackPat Sun 26-May-19 18:04:57

Thanks both, nice to have some solidarity. I know it's 'normal' but DS really is on another level.. and everyone likes to mention it to me too! 'Gosh he keeps you busy!' 'Isn't he a handful?!' 'He's such a whirlwind do you ever get a rest?!' Insert my tinkly MN laugh as a response.

Annoyingly we had to give our high chair back to his nephew who reached weaning age (it was theirs to begin with) but he wouldn't sit in it for a good month before then anyway.

I've set up sooo much messy play, painting, stones, sticks, push this thing through this hole game. He engages... for a minute and then is on to the next thing hmm and I've spent 30 mins arranging something, 30 mins tidying it up, for him to play for 1 minute.

He's deffo a country kid stuck in the city. He just wants to run and run and eat stones and jump in bushes and find ants and can only really do that when we take him to the park. I seriously think a garden who answer all my prayers!

OP’s posts: |
catdogoifrog Sun 26-May-19 19:02:14

I have one of these. I have found it best to indulge their interests rather than try to tempt them with other ideas. At least until they get bored of that obsession.

So I'd suggest a waxed table clothe for your floor and maybe a tuff tray or a shallow bowl. Cheap Tea set. A few boats and bowls. You can even add food colouring to make coloured water potions, save plastic bottles, funnels etc. You can make fishes out of foil and fish with a big slotted cooking spoon. That type of thing.

My DS also likes kinetic sand, buy the proper one it's less messy.

You might have some luck with a toy that represent the park. So you can play what you do there. I'm sure there is a peppa pig playground or there's a tots town version by Chad valley. Super long link below.

We have so many unloved toys where I've tried to buy things I think would be nice, but my DS has other ideas. You are not alone !

Nj200 Mon 03-Jun-19 20:47:27

My 3 yo is the same, nursery keep saying he's struggling to stay focused or on task if it's something that doesn't interest him.
At home he has loads of toys but not interested in building tracks, Rather just push the car back and forth, won't do jigsaws or anything . He's so happy and loves to be outside , loves the trampoline and helps me load and unload washing machine . But nursery and hv making out like it's not right that he's not interested in role play and things.

April45 Tue 04-Jun-19 06:39:05

Are you planning to move then.. it'll only feel smaller with two children in a one bed.

I'd suggest you get out more, burn some energy then come back and play together. You need to teach him to play not just leave him to it. Go with his interests, like water and bring other things into it, make it a sea story etc.

FlatPackPat Tue 04-Jun-19 08:47:51

If you read my OP @April45 you will have seen "We go to the park everyday and let him run wild. I wfh so am with him all the time. I set up activities for him that I think he'll love. He engages for a minute or so and then is over it. "
So yes I do take him out to the park and engage him in activities. I'm down on the floor with him encouraging him to play and showing him fun stuff to do. He's just not in to it. I also let him do water play as often as I can hack it, at least 3/4 times a day but the clean up afterwards is epic and I also wfh so have to do that (on top of all the other stuff like cooking, cleaning, washing, shopping etc) so I don't have all the time in the world.

And yes of course I realise that we'll have less space when DC2 arrives hmm our flat is on the market.

OP’s posts: |
FlatPackPat Tue 04-Jun-19 08:51:38

@catdogoifrog thanks for the kinetic sand tip, think I'll give that a try. And I like the playground toy idea, I'll see if I can find something similar in the charity shop as I've been stung before with buying brand new toys for ££ and he doesn't play with them!

Annoyingly I have set up a water play station on the floor with bowls, spoons, things to pour from but he just wants the bloody sink still! Even tried bubbles, adding dinosaurs, cars, fabric all sorts.
I do indulge the sink play as much as poss but obviously I have to supervise all the time (soooo slippy!) and so he can only do it 3/4 times a day.

And of course when he's at playgroup he plays with all the toys there!

OP’s posts: |
April45 Tue 04-Jun-19 20:22:43

Is your expectation too high to be able to work from home with a 19 month to care for too?. You'll probably find he's trying to get your attention and will seek this anyway he can good or bad is still good.

FlatPackPat Tue 04-Jun-19 22:27:58

Nope, I'm doing just fine at doing my job alongside caring for DS @April45.

He's a very happy, healthy, thriving boy, he's just full of beans.

OP’s posts: |
cds5163 Wed 05-Jun-19 06:27:14

My son was the same way. So I had to think outside the box during the winter months we couldn't run outside and play. I bought him active toys for inside the house. I bought a slide, ball pit, kiddie trampoline, playhouse, saucer, sit and spin and a puppy to chase lol. Its been months and they still keep him active all day. I've been looking for more toys to keep him active since I'll be having another baby at the end of you month.

cavapoobags Wed 05-Jun-19 10:53:12

Try your local leisure centre they often run toddler gym sessions. They are called something quirky so you can never work our what is what from the timetables. Anyway just call them and ask my local one does multiple times, 3x per week and it's a lot cheaper than many organised classes. I think it's about £4 per session here in SE London.

For active classes you could try Toddler sense or your local library might do a movement type one called mini movers or similar, unisex dancing etc.

Prob a bit young for soft play but there's always that option, if they have a under twos area?

cavapoobags Wed 05-Jun-19 10:54:10

Sorry I meant to say try to get out to things more and find some cheaper options like toddler groups.

April45 Wed 05-Jun-19 21:01:20

@flatpackpat I would never dream of suggest you weren't caring for him.

My DS is 2 and an active boy, we get out lots.. park, shops, walks, in the garden. After we've been out he settles better with indoor activities.. usually these are based on what we've seen outdoors .. cars, tractors. He never used to be able to play alone, I've had to encourage and teach him. If you need to work whilst he's awake, try a focused activity giving him your full attention first led by his interests then you may get some time for you to do your thing. I've spent ages before setting up tuff trays and he's not given it any interest. I find a few areas works well.. trains in one corner, jigsaw in another then he can choose without being overwhelmed by choice.
I also wondered if he is napping ok? Tiredness massively impacts my DS with his concentration and patience.

FlatPackPat Sat 08-Jun-19 09:26:08

So I'm hoping DS is turning a corner with regards to his focus/concentration. I tried out another activity yesterday which we sat and did for about 20 mins! It was just some water, make up brushes and cardboard to 'paint' on but he really enjoyed it and we've done it again this morning.

I appreciate everyone's advice etc but I honestly have tried everything everyone suggests. We go out every day to either the park/play group/museums/day trips no matter the weather. We live in London so there's loads going on. He loves it when we're out and about and he's so happy and engaged. But when we get home he's just so bored and doesn't seem to want to engage in anything. He's doesn't behave badly (apart from usual toddler tantrums about not being allowed ice cream for breakfast!) but he only 'plays' for 30 secs before he's done.

I don't know if it's just cos our place is quite small so he wants more space to run around.. not much we can do about that in the short term though!

Anyway I am hoping it's a phase and as he gets older he gets better at focussed play.

OP’s posts: |
FlatPackPat Sat 08-Jun-19 09:30:50

Also in SE London @cavapoobags. We go to our local soft play every few weeks but it's so expensive! Loads of cheap and brilliant church type playgroups in my area luckily so we go to those 2/3 times a week.

He would love all that kit @cds5163 but we definitely don't have space for even one of those sadly! Going to try the kinetic sand that a PP suggested I think as that seems more compact!

His sleep is okay @April45. One nap a day which is usually 1.5 hrs and he now sleeps probs 11 hrs a night (7-6ish). His sleep was awful until about 15mos when he changed overnight and started sttn thank god!

OP’s posts: |

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in