My son turns two in a few weeks. And BOY does he know it. He has hit the terrible twos and hit them hard. He keeps kicking the dog, throws little temper tantrums whenever he gets punished, and is just generally a big freshy-pants. I'm not ashamed to admit that I have used a few tricks to distract him from being a bad boy. Here's a couple of things to do to snap your little one out of his or her bad mood. I'm not saying that they'll turn your baby into a perfect angel, but they might give you a few minutes to breathe before you completely lose it.
Sunshine and Fresh Air - Take your little one outside. Go for a walk, or just go play outside. You don't have to leave your backyard. The change if scenery and just a bit of sunshine might be exactly what your little one needs. When CJ was a newborn, if he started crying we would go outside. The second the hot air (August in Kentucky = yuck) hit him, he would stop crying.
Bubbles - CJ loves bubbles. He loves blowing them and popping them. I'm sure your kid does too. Just start blowing bubbles while they are crying. I can (almost) guarantee that they'll be distracted enough to calm themselves down.
A puddle - Kids love water. Summer is the perfect time to let your kids sing and dance in the rain. Let them jump in puddles and get soaked. It'll just keep them cooler.
Dirt/Sand - CJ is getting a sandbox for his birthday this weekend. I cannot wait. He is going to love digging in the dirt, throwing sand everywhere, and make a (contained) mess. Even if it is just a bucket filled with sand and a spoon, your kid will love.
Balloons - Not a lot of balloons in our house due to my latex allergy, so balloons are a very special treat. What kid isn't completely fascinated with balloons? Blow up a few, or make some water balloons, have a ball(oon). ;-)
Stomping - Sing "If you're happy and you know it" or pretend you are a dinosaur. Whatever excuse you give your child to stomp around, they'll love it.
Dancing - CJ and I have nightly dance parties. It is the perfect excuse to act silly, listen to a few awesome tunes, and get rid of some energy. It doesn't matter what the music is either. Put on your favorite power ballads from the 80's or those songs you belt out when you think that nobody is listening. Your child will think it is the greatest song ever. I recommend Morris Day and the Time.
An empty box - Everyone knows that a kid will play with the box more than the toy that came in it. Save a few giant boxes from the next time you move or get a large package. Fold it up and keep it in your closet. Next time you need something to do, give it to your child. Give them crayons and let them decorate it. Turn it into Flinstones car. Make a fort. Make a rocket ship. The possibilities are endless when it comes to an empty box.
A ball - A soccer ball, whiffle ball, ping pong ball. Doesn't matter. Take the schmoops outside and let them kick or throw a ball. Teach them how to hit or throw or bounce. If you are afraid of them breaking something, give them a soft toddler ball. Teach them how to run the bases. It'll be great exercise and tons of fun.
Finger Paint - I know it is messy, but so what? You are most likely going to be giving them a bath later anyway right? Lay paper EVERYWHERE, give them some washable paint, and let them go to town. I promise you will have just as much fun as they do.
Mud - Kids love water. Kids love dirt. Kids love being messy. Therefore, mud is the perfect toy! Again, there will be messiness. Get over it. Teach your kiddo how to make the perfect mudpies. I know you remember how!
I hope these help. Remember to just have fun with your babies. As my mom-in-law said, everything is just a phase. When your kid is 15 and giving you attitude because you won't let her get that pierced, you are going to wish you had a temper tantrum throwing toddler to make mudpies with.
I wish you fun and minimal tantrums today!