Guest Blog from Vicky – Stockport Mumbler & Maria – Poole Mumbler
Not being able to get out and about because you need to stay at home, for whatever reason, can make the days feel long. And if you have young children, the hours can begin feel like days. So what can you do to help maintain your sanity (and theirs!) and make days at home a breeze?
Schedule your day. Young kids thrive on routine. If they usually go to nursery, try to stick to their daily nursery schedule as much as possible. Think about what time they’ll eat and what time they’ll sleep and then you can build the rest of the day around that. Small chunks of time are key as little ones don’t have long attention spans and it can feel more manageable for the grown-ups too!
Try to build in some physical activity. You might not be able to venture to the park, but if you have a garden you could still get outside. If not, put a few favourite songs on and have a dance around or maybe a toddler/baby yoga video online. You could even get them involved in your own workout.
Keep nap-time if you can. The day will feel even longer with an overtired baby/toddler. It could be valuable time for you to recharge and grab a brew, or to catch up on a few jobs.
Have a few structured activities in mind as well as time for free play.
Don’t feel guilty if you put CBeebies on for a while. Get on the sofa with them and have a snuggle, or whilst they’re entertained you can pop a wash on, make tea or tick something else off the to-do list.
Some ideas for activities to try……
Run a bath – use loads of bubbles and let them have a splash about and play. A kitchen sink works just as well for the teeny ones.
Household objects – look at what you have that they could play with. Kids are intrigued by things that aren’t theirs. My youngest loves tipping all the pegs out of the peg basket and putting them back in one at a time. Repeatedly! The three year old will also join in but with counting the pegs.
Build a den – with blankets and throws and get in to read a story.
Frozen toys – fill an empty ice cream tub or Tupperware with water and throw a few small toys in. Put the tub in the freezer overnight and then the following day empty the ice block out onto a tray and let them have fun trying to chip the toys out of the ice with spoons.
Puppet show – grab some old socks, draw faces on them with markers or get creative with whatever craft supplies you have in and do a little puppet show together.
Play hide and seek (actually hilarious with toddlers!).
Make hand and footprint keepsakes. (Whilst this might seem a messy option, you’ll look back one day and be glad you did it)
Make a ‘post-box’ – out of an old cereal box. Littlies will love just posting things though whilst toddlers and pre-schoolers might make more of game out of it and write little letters and deliver them.
Rainbow Spaghetti – cook some spaghetti and separate into freezer bags (one per colour). Add food colouring and a little water to each bag (red, blue green for example) squish it all up so that the spaghetti takes on the colour and then rinse each coloured spaghetti in the colander. Don’t forget this step or your little one will have stained hands! Put the spaghetti into a safe container and let them dig in for a bit of sensory play. Older ones might want to thread some cheerio’s onto the spaghetti strands.
Indoor treasure hunt – tell them the items they’re looking for in each room and then guide them using warm, cold, colder etc.
Blow some bubbles – see if they can catch them before they pop.
Old toys – Set up some toys they haven’t played with in a while. Kids forget what they have, or sometimes just need someone to set something up and play with them. Blocks, role play, cars, jigsaws…..
Simple baking – rice crispy cakes are always a winner.
Make musical instruments – rice in bottles for shakers, elastic bands over empty tissue boxes for guitars. Pots and pans for drums. And you’ve got a band!
Balloons – play catch, see who can keep it of the ground the longest, draw a face on it, make a goal and see how can score.
Laundry basket – kids love to go sailing in the laundry basket.
Playdough – making your own is fun and super easy. Click here for my favourite playdough recipe. Add glitter, food colouring and baby oil (smells gorgeous) or even a couple of drops of lavender oil for a sensory experience.
Practice colours with a game of Twister – select a few small toys of different colours (red, blue, green, yellow) and ask your toddler to fill each circle with toys of the right colour. My little ones used to love this game when they were very little.
Foam and more foam – most supermarkets sell super cheap foam bath of different colours on the kids and baby aisle. Let them explore with it in the bath with a few Tupperware boxes of different sizes and plastic cups. Ideal if you have a Tuff Tray at home, but a large empty storage plastic box works just as well.
‘Washing-up’ – of course you’ll need to clean the items after. Allow them to explore different materials, like plastic Tupperware boxes, wooden spoons, a metal whisk, etc.
Window stickers – these have worked a treat for us. You can get them in Amazon.
Stamps – you can get a stamp set very cheaply in Amazon and most large supermarkets.
‘Paint on the window’ – let them draw with a whiteboard pen on a designated window. But make sure you explain that’s the only place they can do it. I learned this the wrong way.
Potato painting – an old classic.
Chores – ‘washing’ a wall, kitchen cupboard, etc: I have a clean spray bottle at home which I only fill with water, and lots of small cloths in different colours to make it fun for the kids.
Magic kitchen cupboard – when my kids were very little they were into everything! I used to find quite hard to cook or get anything done. So I emptied one of the low cupboards at home and I filled it with old pans, Tupperware boxes, lids, etc. I used to let them empty it whenever they were bored.
Decorating a plant pot and planting a seed – a classic!
Small toy hunt with KIDS’ chopsticks – we’ve used tiny dinosaurs or plastic fish. Add some play foam for extra fun.
Den with pillows and blankets – snuggle up and read a story inside your den.
Chopping vegetables – with a kid-friendly knife. Cucumbers and peppers work best.
Dance party – play some fun kiddies music and dance like no one is watching.
‘Gardening’ – designate a spot in the garden for each child and give them a few kid-friendly garden tools. Let them explore.
Picnic in the garden – or indoors when it’s raining: Who said lunch can only be eaten at the table?
Thanks so much to our guest blogger Vicky and Maria. If you have family or friends in Stockport or Poole then be sure to let them know about the Stockport Mumbler and Poole Mumbler websites.