If you’re a parent currently in lockdown with a toddler, like me, you’ve probably felt like banging your head against a wall on various occasions - if you haven’t, please let us in on your secrets!
Whilst this time is lovely to spend at home with your family, it’s not always going to be quality, happy times. Youngsters have (very) short attention spans and get bored extremely easy. We found it difficult finding activities for George (two and a half years old) that kept him occupied long enough for us to even pop to the toilet. The more bored he became, the more he wanted to eat. There’s only so much fruit and snacks we have in the house - I dread to think what he will be like when he’s older!
I did a lot of digging around on Google and Pinterest to find some activities that we could get George involved in (without having to spend money or order things online - particularly with the long delivery times at the moment). I also asked other parents on Twitter to find out what they do to keep their children entertained. What I found was sooooo helpful, so I want to share them with you in the hope that they, too, will entertain your little ones long enough for you to at least sit down with a cuppa.
Being stuck in the house all day every day can be draining for everyone. Going for a walk helps to waken you up and gets some fresh air into you, all helping your mental state. On your walk, why not turn it into a dinosaur hunt and look for dinosaur bones (sticks) and dinosaur footprints (muddy marks)? We did this with George, who’s currently obsessed with dinosaurs and he loved it. For girls, maybe go on a fairy hunt?
Who knew a simple cardboard box could be so fun. If like us, you’ve been online ordering over lockdown, I’m sure you’ll have spare boxes lying around the house. If you look on Pinterest, there’s loads of different things you can do and make with a cardboard box, however all we need to do is pop the box down on the floor as it is and George will spend ages climbing in and out of it.
Hide & Seek
Another favourite. George still isn’t quite old enough to understand the hiding aspect of the game (he jumps out from his hiding place as soon as you shout “where can George be?!”), but he does a great job of finding us. This game could keep us entertained for hours (if we had enough hiding places in our home!).
Build A Den
I used to love building dens when I was little. I’d get my favourite book and read it under there for hours. I’d do it now if I could. Maybe George is a little young for this at the moment, but we will build him a den and he soon forgets about it and wants to move onto the next thing. For children aged three and over, this could work much better. We use chairs and drape blankets or duvets over them.
Build An Obstacle Course
If you didn’t build a path of pillows along the bubbling volcanic lava when you were little, then you haven’t lived!
Any obstacle-style course will do, but the volcanic lava story makes it much more exciting. Lay items from around your home on the floor for your little one to jump over, stand on, go under or climb over - safely of course!
What child doesn’t love a bath and playing in water? You can fill almost any plastic container up with water (if you don’t have a specific water-play table) and give your little one items or toys to play in it with.
Colouring / Painting
If you have a toddler, you’re bound to already have colouring or painting equipment in the house. These activities never seem to keep George occupied for long - don’t think it uses up enough of his energy - but for children who like to create masterpieces, it’s an easy go-to.
With not much else to do at the moment and the weather being overall pretty nice, if you have a garden, you’ve probably been spending quite a bit of time in it. We certainly have. We’ve been planting flowers in pots and George has enjoyed getting dirty in the soil and helping to water them with his watering can (although we do need to make sure the plants don't drown!).
Flour has been selling out across supermarket shelves recently, so if you’ve managed to get your hands on some (or found a recipe that doesn’t need it), get your little one to help bake some tasty treats. I’m sure they’ll enjoy helping you eat them after too. Or lick out the bowl, which was my favourite thing to do after baking with my parents!
Hopefully there’s a good few ideas there that you can try (if you haven’t already) with your toddler. Obviously all children are different and some activities will work better than others. You just need to find what works for you. Alternatively, there are so many blogs and websites out there with fun ideas.
If there’s something that really works for your little one that I haven’t mentioned, please feel free to leave it in the comments section as I’m always open to new ideas, as is George!
Take care and stay safe.