High chair activities are a one of my favorite mom hacks. They are, in my opinion, nothing short of genius.
High chair activities are exactly what they sound like – activities your infant/toddler can enjoy while strapped into that multipurpose chair. The beauty of high chair activities can be summed up by these three perks:
1. Mess containment
2. Child occupation
3. PARENTAL FREEDOM
A fourth perk, that may not work for everyone based on the setup of their home, is that I can see my kids in their high chairs from the kitchen while I prep meals/baby food, fold laundry at the kitchen table, or while I pump on the couch (or catch up on This Is Us). Our chairs also have wheels so I can easily move our activities from one room to another.
Below are some of my favorite activities. I suggest you work them into the mix ASAP – you won’t regret it!
Crayons, markers, colored pencils; whichever you fancy! Let your child choose a few colors (make them point them out to practice colors!), give them a coloring book or sheet of paper and let them have at it. One of the great things about this activity is that their is virtually no mess. However, be prepared for lots of “I dropped its” and crayon retrieval.
This activity is what first introduced me to the wonderment that is the high chair activity. When Hank was a newborn and sleeping most of the day it was difficult for me to prep meals on maternity leave because the twins would pester him or try to climb in the swing with him. In order to keep them in sight and away from him, one day I had the brilliant idea to plop them in their highchairs and give them a book to read while I made breakfast. And viola, the high chair activity, at least for me, was invented!
Kinetic sand is great for fine motor skills and much cleaner than regular sand. The great thing about kinetic sand is it sticks together and makes clean up super quick!
All you need is a couple gallon sized Ziploc bags, shaving cream, and paint or food coloring. Fill the bags with shaving cream and add paint to the corners or food coloring in various spots, and close the Ziploc bag (I like to seal it off with tape just in case it pops open).
Then give it to your child in their high chair and let them run their fingers over the bag, mix colors, draw shapes etc.
Did she say PAINTING?!? Indoors?!? Why yes, I did. Now, before you have a heart attack, with proper preparation the cleanup for this activity can be minimal and totally worth the fun!
- Drop cloth – If you have a plastic painter’s drop cloth, put this under the high chair to catch spills. You can also use an old blanket or cut open some large trash bags.
- Cover the high chair tray with plastic wrap or plastic grocery bags (just throw it away when finished and you shouldn’t even have to wash the tray!).
- SMOCKS – If you don’t have smocks for your toddlers, buy them NOW. You can use an over-sized old shirt, but I prefer these easy, wipe-able smocks. And you can’t beat the price! (Also great for messy meals like spaghetti!)
Once you have the area covered, give your kids finger paints, watercolors, etc and watch their imaginations shine! I like these kits:
Indoor water table
Bring summer to your kitchen! Use a cookie sheet (Or your high chair tray if it has a deep lip) add some water and give your child some bath toys, sponges, spoons, plastic cups, etc. Then let them splash!
All you need is a muffin tin, construction paper and colored pom poms! Tweezers or tongs make the activity more difficult and helps with fine motor skills!
I like to call play doh the gift that keeps on giving. Let your kids play with it in an open room and you’re bound to be finding colorful chunks around your house for days, or weeks! But confined to a high chair and the play doh debris stays on or around the high chair (unless of course you have a thrower). Change things up with play doh tools, spoons, forks, stamps, etc.
This is activity is great for hand I coordination as well as practicing colors. Give your toddler a handful of pipe cleaners set up a kitchen calendar upside down on their high chair tray and have them poke the pipe cleaners into the holes.
We have not actually tried these yet, but I have seen many a toddler on social media seemingly enjoying them. Word on the street is that the Easter Bunny may be bringing some of these!
Hahaha. But yes, we have resorted to strapping the twins into their high chairs for timeout because anywhere else we put them they will not stay, or one can “save” or play with the other. We put them in the high chair and turn it toward the wall. One minute for each year of age. If you’re a toddler parent (twin toddlers even!) and can get them to stay in time out you deserve some sort of award!
I hope you find these activities as amazing as I have the past seven months and if you have any other ideas to add to the list please let me know!!