Busy toddler cereal construction site is busy mom’s solution!

by Alenka

I need to cook dinner. The clock is ticking, the tummies are not getting any fuller. Take out is not an option. My toddler, my dearest Sunshine, still recovering from his fever, is desperately clutching my hands and doesn’t let me even glance towards the kitchen… what am I gonna do, what am I gonna do, what am I gonna do?! Time to get serious: common, move your trucks, The Baby Cereal Construction Company is coming!

- a tray or a disposable tablecloth (clean up will be MUCH EASIER).
- some trucks, backhoes, whatever little construction cars you have
- a spoon or two
- a large tupperware container, or a baking sheet, or a foil tray
- Baby cereal or other construction material (more details below)

Construction site set up:

1. Pick a construction spot.

I was debating against the floor, kitchen table or the kitchen counter. I figured that on the floor, my Sunshine will find more objects to incorporate into the construction process, making cleanup a lot more difficult. On the table – too far away, too much independence. On a kitchen counter – perfect: if he needs help or if his creation takes a wilder turn, I’ll be right by his side.

2. Mess-protection

The tablecloth on the floor beneath the table and a chair was an afterthought… but a really good one. On top of the kitchen counter I put a tray (I’ll pick a bigger one next time), and a tupperware container: not too big, to avoid too much “construction material ending up all over the place; yet, not too small – his construction machinery need some space.


3. Construction material

I was about to throw out some of my unused baby cereal, so we just used that. It might as well be flour, grain, or homemade bread crumbs, if you don’t mind blending some left over crackers, old toasts, even stale bread.

4. Construction vehicles

I made he has a dump truck that can be loaded with baby cereal and tip his load back out. Otherwise I grabbed whatever other little cars were easy to find: it was a little excavator, cement truck and a tractor. I added a few spoons to make loading the dump truck easier.


5. Chief Engineer

SAFETY FIRST! I spent some time making sure he my Sunshine is sitting securely in his seat and wouldn’t take a sharp dive to the floor in the heat of the construction process (or send his whole construction site in the same undesirable direction).

6. Make your dinner!

Actually, THE FIRST TIME WE DID IT – IT FLOPPED. My Sunshine’s fever spiked again, so the spoon was guilty of grabbing too little baby cereal, the cars were moving in the wrong direction, the mommy definitely did it all wrong. Yet while he was busy punishing his underperforming equipment on the kitchen counter, I finished whatever was necessary for a quick bite and put the disappointed engineer to bed early. Cleaned up the mess. Thought how great it would’ve been to put the disposable tablecloth underneath. Poured the baby cereal back to the box and… forgot it on the counter.

The next morning my Sunshine awoke feeling completely refreshed. Weather it is the recent fever, or upcoming teeth, or just our personality, he was not feeling delightful just yet, but definitely much-much better. So, the first thing he did, he gathered all his favorite little trucks, headed towards the kitchen counter, pointed to the box of baby cereal and demanded to put the whole thing back in place!

So I did. WHAT A SUCCESS!! Now he did feel delightful. It was incredible to watch him so fascinated. Looking at my Sunshine using a spoon or a tiny excavator’s bucket to fill in his truck, I was marveling what a terrific SENSORY EXPERIENCE it turned out to be, what amazing PRACTICAL SKILL BUILDING activity it really is. And, I’ve got to make everyone’s lunches. And unloaded the dishwasher. And, even had relaxed breakfast, which is a really rare treat for me!