Coming from a place with very limited child-raising experience – actually, none – it was very eye-opening to have a kiddo. Now that we’re deep in the life of having a two-year-old, I feel like I’m on a completely different level of “mom skills” than when he was first born. So for those of you approaching the time of having a two-year-old or similar-aged, never-standing-still child, I’ve decided to make a list of my favorite purchases that make my life so much easier.
Kitchen Helper / Step Stool
This is, without a doubt, the best item I own as a mother. Instead of a regular step stool, this is a stool designed specifically for kids that keeps them more boxed in. I purchased mine from target, and I went ahead and god the sturdy, wooden one that would last forever. It has sides that keep your kiddo from falling out and a bar across the front and back that keeps them from stepping too far back while still allowing them to crawl in and out.
Why is this better than a regular step stool? Perhaps I’m just a helicopter mom, but I am always worried about my kid stepping off the step stool backwards or slipping and busting their chin on the counter. The bar in back prevents them from stepping off backwards, and it allows me to feel more comfortable walking around the kitchen instead of standing right behind my kid the whole time.
We use the kitchen helper to wash dishes together, have breakfast – or coffee for mom – when the kiddo doesn’t want to sit in a chair, to cook together, to make desserts, to play in the sink with a bunch of cups while I’m once again enjoying more coffee, to push the buttons on the washer and drier (he is definitely my little helper), and to reach the light switches to turn the lights on and off – once again, allowing mommy more time for coffee.
I swear, the kitchen helper creates time out of thin air! The time that I usually would be frantically trying to scrub dishes while making sure my kid was balanced and not falling off a regular step is totally freed up to wash the dishes quickly and then watch him play with a few extra plastic dishes while I relax nearby – with coffee. I keep mentioning coffee, but that’s really my thing lately, so replace it with your own choice of a “mommy treat.” If you’re lucky, you could even read a magazine while your kiddo is splashing in the sink.
Just beware, if your kid is two, he will probably dump water on the floor as soon as he notices your attention is too far away. The kitchen helper is definitely not a baby-sitter. Your kid could still slip, and depending on which one you buy they might still be able to flip it over if you walk out of the room. I bought one that folds flat, and I put it away every time we’re done so there’s no risk of him falling on his own.
Slime. Yes, slime.
My brother bought my kiddo slime for Christmas. It’s usually not recommended for two year olds, but I have one of those weird kids that actually only puts real food in their mouth and not much else – usually. So if your kid likes to lick and swallow everything, then you might want to wait a bit longer for this one.
The one we have is by Compound Kings, and I don’t have much experience with other slime. This one has glitter and definitely feels like slime – BUT it doesn’t get permanently stuck to you! The one we have is surprisingly easy to roll off your skin or a plastic surface – getting it off of clothes is awful though.
We love slime… not just my kid, but I love it! I whip out the slime any time I really need my kid to let me sit down for five minutes. Or if I just need him to sit for five minutes, like when I’m making a plate of food for him.
Most slime is dangerous if swallowed – not sure of the effects, but I know it’s not good. So you always need to make sure you wipe it all up and clean your kids hands after.
I like it better than play-dough! I feel like play-dough always leaves my hands feeling grimy or salty. Slime actually makes my hands feel pretty clean! I’m sure that means I’ll have to throw it out soon, but it’s really nice to not have little bits of play-dough all over. Slime sticks to itself, so you can pretty much pick it up by rolling over it with a bigger piece.
Slime is another way you can totally enjoy another cup of coffee, however I actually enjoy playing with it too. I roll it into little balls for my kid, and he squished them all onto one finger – it’s pretty funny and cute.
Toys With Lights & Spinners
A small trinket my kid got for Christmas was a stick that had a spinning snowman in a ball on the end, and it lights up! You should never underestimate how great little things like this are.
They don’t last forever in the hands of a toddler, but they are amazing to get your kid distracted. I use it to get my kiddo into the car or to change his diaper. It’s much better than handing your kid the phone because it will hold their attention for a shorter time and they won’t zone out for several hours leaving you feeling guilty.
These have transformed bathtime. We have the ones Crayola makes. They don’t write like regular markers, but they make really fun colorful splats all over the bathtub that are super easy to clean up. We use these for obvious fun in the tub but also to learn our colors.
My kid loves the bath already, but if yours doesn’t like bathtime, I suggest getting these! You might have to help to get them going, the color doesn’t come out right away and you have to tap it against the tub to get them to write, but my son loves it!
Yes, they still sell these. I’m assuming you can get them from Walmart or Amazon because I was looking through a kitchen drawer and found my boyfriend had purchased one and never installed it.
I’m talking about the thing you put in electric outlets that let you clap to turn on and off lights or other electronics. These are like magic for kiddos. We put one on the living room light, and now my kid will just randomly clap at lights wherever we go.
It’s always unexpected and just so darn cute, I recommend this just for the joy and laughs it brings. Your kid will probably squeal and squeal when you first set it up. This probably won’t hold their attention a long time, but it will be something they think of occasionally and try to do. My son doesn’t clap loud enough yet to do it, so we’ve showed him how to slap the couch or jump with shoes on to make the noise loud enough.
If you shop around online, you’ll find that some are better than others – you should always read the reviews! We bought our kid a water table, and he loves it! Get one with a drain in the bottom and it’s easy to take care of.
Outside, we’ll fill up the watering can or grab the hose and pour the water in the top, watching it rain down through holes and spinning different parts of the table.
This is an awesome way to get your kid to study how things work. You’ll see their little mind working as they test what happens when they pour water in different places or test what sinks or floats. There’s a variety of tables out there, but ours is by Step2. They make one with balls, but I read that the top falls over, so we got the one that had little buckets and lets the water fall down from the top. It’s great for being on a patio or in the yard, but if you have limited space you might want to check the dimensions.
Hopefully, you already love reading to your kid. However, I had to include books in the list. They’re a great way to quiet down and spend time together while working on vocabulary. I love buying board books because they are sturdy in those little hands, and I don’t have to worry about pages tearing. The more you read to your kid, the more they like it, so if you aren’t in the habit of reading to them, try it before bed for a week. You might realize how much you like it, and it’s never too early to encourage reading!
Thanks for reading!
I’d love to hear some of your favorite purchases you’ve made as a parent! If you like this list, let me know, and if something’s missing, let me know too! I always love finding new things to make my life and my kiddos life more happy and fun! Hope you have a wonderful night, and go cuddle those kiddos!