Lockdown with a Toddler: Activity Ideas
What a strange old world we live in at the moment. I’m not sure any of us ever expected to have to live through a pandemic and a lockdown situation and yet here we are. Most of us with children are just trying to get through it one day at a time.
I’ve been incredibly lucky over the last two years and I’ve been able to be a stay at home mum so I’m used to being with my daughter all the time but for those mums who work full or part-time it has suddenly opened up a whole day to fill with activities and no idea where to start so I thought I’d offer a few suggestions.
What is it about children and water? They just love it! You don’t even need access to a garden, there are lots you can do inside. Strip them off and let them splash around in a sink bath, put a towel down with some bowls and let them pour and mix. Get creative with a milk bath photoshoot, or pour water outside and create a splash pool. Or you could get them started on the chores early and have them water all the plants. Alternatively, you could try freezing berries in ice cube trays, my little girl is obsessed with ice at the moment and this makes it healthy and interesting. A bucket of water and a paintbrush is also an excellent way of entertaining your child outside as they can ‘paint’ the fence or ground.
CHALK & PAVEMENT
Very simple and very cheap, all you need are some chalks, the ground and their imagination. Create giant dragons, draw hopscotch and get involved yourself, practice colour and number play by asking them to stand on the correct number/colour or ask your toddler to find something that matches the colour on the ground.
We are allowed to get out for one walk a day so make the most of this time for a change of scene and a chance to tire your child out. If you are lucky enough to live in the countryside make the most of the fields and space, especially now the weather is nicer. Pretend you are searching for the Gruffalo or look for the best walking stick. If you live in a more densely populated area see how many rainbows you can spot in windows or see what sounds you can hear. See how many different ‘types’ of things you can collect, the best way to do this is to get an egg box and fill it with their finds.
ARTS & CRAFTS
My daughter loves crafts and it’s a very easy way to keep her entertained. You don’t even need to be a pro, one of her favourite things to do is stick things to paper, even if that’s just cut out shapes. We also have some blank cards and envelopes and she loves making cards for her grandparents which you could then post to cheer everyone up, as it’s really tough not seeing family at the moment. If you are feeling more creative then head over to Pinterest or Google and see what you can find. I’ve been making animals out of card and letting my daughter stick googly eyes wherever she sees fit. Make playdough aliens or buy a roll of brown craft paper, roll the whole thing out and let them get creative – this also doubles as handy wrapping paper for future presents.
BAKING & COOKING
It seems like since we all went into lockdown everyone is a baker but it is such a good activity for toddlers, albeit a messy one. Put aside any ideas of a controlled environment and go with the flow, nobody will see the mess apart from you anyway. You don’t even need to be a good baker there are so many box kits now. Besides your toddler won’t care, all they want to do is mix and lick the spoon. Banana muffins, homemade pizza (use tortilla wraps or pitta bread for ease), Rice Krispie cakes, there are heaps of easy options available.
Even if you start the day with the best intentions never feel bad about using the TV for 5, 10, 25, or an hours peace and quiet. Dependent on your child’s attention span you could try a film, although I find my daughter only last about 30minutes. Short films like Zog, The Gruffalo or The Tiger Who Came To Tea are firm favourites in our household.
The ultimate tool in distracting and entertaining. You can do anything with a cardboard box, including building a castle, making a robot head, or turn it into a train. Why not cut slots in the top, colour around them and encourage your toddler to drop the right coloured sticks, pom poms, paper, through the holes. Put your toddler inside the box with some crayons and let them go mad decorating.
After Arts & Crafts, my 2-year old’s favourite activity is den building. All you need are two chairs and a sheet or if they already have a little tipi even better. She loves bringing all the cushions in and choosing which toys to keep her company. If you have a garden/outdoor space why not collect sticks on your walk and make a stick house. We are lucky enough to have woods just behind our house so we have been building a little den there too.
If you don’t have anything else pots, pans and a wooden spoon are the way forward. Noisy, yes. Entertaining for your child, definitely. Get some toilet rolls tubes (if you manage to find any toilet roll that is…), decorate them and turn them into an instrument. Fill containers with different levels of water to make music or fill bottles with rice to make shakers.
Some of these suggestions may seem obvious but hopefully, you can find something in this post that inspires you to try something different and fill your day. If all else fails, purchase a bubble machine to get five minutes of peace because what toddler doesn’t love bubbles!