A cheap and easy way to beat boredom in your young child is to let them get wet! Water play provides a great sensory experience and allows the child to observe the properties of different objects (if they sink or float) as well as practice some practical life skills (like water pouring!). I could tell L was ready to start drinking from an open cup when she was about 12 months old because she had been practicing a lot when I brought out the water bin.
This past winter was very cold and snowy here. Sometimes we were stuck inside for days at a time and needed some new activities to beat our cabin fever. One thing that always worked was a water bin! To set up inside and during the winter, I spread out a few towels on the floor. I filled an old dish bin with warm water and added some baby shampoo for bubbles. I threw in a few kitchen utensils, and one of L’s favorite activities was born!
Now that it’s summertime, we do the same thing outside — although since she now likes to drink the water I usually forgo the bubbles. I fill the bin with cool water from the hose outside and throw in a few recyclables for pouring. I also put in a small pool toy with sinking fish that L can scoop up in her net. You can put anything in, really. This water bin keeps L occupied for a very long time while also allowing her to cool off in the heat.
You can buy expensive water tables at the store with lots of fancy attachments. Those look really neat, but I always remember this: One man’s trash (or recyclable) is a toddler’s treasure! Why spend all that money when L is just as happy (if not more so) with an empty smoothie bottle and a bin of water?