Article by Nichola Ali
What can I say, lockdown life with 4 kids has certainly been a challenge and I’d be a liar if I said I have found it easy, I won’t deny there have been times that my kids have watched way too much TV and played way too many computer games (especially my eldest 2 boys!)
BUT, I really have enjoyed not being restricted to the school run timings and the overall relaxed feeling about our days.
Keeping them entertained at home is one of the biggest challenges- that and keeping the biscuit tin stocked!
In the school holidays I love to plan a day out and off we go, tires them out and the house doesn’t get trashed in the process! Sadly, we are constrained to these 4 walls so to stop me from climbing them (or clawing at them) I have been keeping them occupied with activities in the home. My moto is the simpler the better, anything to make my life that little bit easier, so you won’t find me up all night preparing activities, arts and crafts; more like chuck it all together and hope for the best. (I have blagged my way through 12 years of parenting so far and plan to continue doing so for the foreseeable!).
I have included some of the activities that were a success below:
We use a tuff tray for lots of our activities, but you can use any thing similar: serving trays, storage boxes / containers etc.
1) Tea making / potion making, call it what you will.
I have a heap of herbal teas that I wasn’t keen on so not wanting to be wasteful, I was saving them for unsuspecting visitors, well the visitors never came so here we are.
Brew a few different flavours into various jugs, pots, cups etc. have out some measuring jugs and different sized pots and spoons. Let them do the mixing (once cooled down). My 5 year old enjoyed pretending to make tea for everyone and used her little tin tea set. My 1 year old enjoyed generally making a mess but also pouring and playing with the water and towards the end tearing the tea bags open to explore those.
All in all, a cheap, easy activity.
2) Bubbly water play / fishing.
Fill a tray with water and washing up liquid, you could add food colouring too (although be careful with dye on clothing and your furniture) have a good splash around to make some bubbles and hide some toys in the water, we used little pond dipping nets to fish for items but you could use big spoons, pots or bowls. It was a lovely warm day and the water play was a welcome relief from the heat, so they really did enjoy this one and kept going back to it. Super easy to set up and pack away and everyone will have items in the home to use for it.
3) Homemade Playdough.
I did this with my 5 year old which was an activity in itself, we waited until nap time so we were undisturbed. After we had finished, she then spent ages playing with her new creation, we are about 3 weeks into this lot of dough and it’s still going strong.
This makes the softest playdough and I really do recommend giving it a go, you will never buy playdough again!
1 ½ cups of plain flour
½ cup of salt
2 tablespoons of cream of tartar
2 tablespoons of coconut oil
1 cup of boiling water
Food colouring as required
A few drops of essential oils if available.
Mix all the dry ingredients together, then add the boiling water and mix. Form into a dough and kneed once cooled enough to touch.
We then split the playdough into 3 pieces and added different food colouring and essential oils to each piece. We used lavender for the purple dough, orange for orange dough and peppermint for the green dough, this added an extra element to the sensory experience!
Store in an airtight container. Give it a go, you will not regret it!
I hope these have helped give some ideas that you may not have already tried.