Keeping kids entertained is challenging at the best of times, let alone in these (dare we say it?) unprecedented times and as parents and caregivers, we’ve never faced so much time at home. Being in and out of lockdowns for close to 18 months now in Victoria, it’s safe to say that our home activities have been well and truly exhausted and we all just want (NEED!) a break.
Elaborate, complex and messy toddler activities are a distant dream (or nightmare?) of lockdowns past, so we’ve put together a list of tried and tested activities that will help break up the screen time and keep toddlers active and engaged, without the added stress and mess of cleaning up!
Here are 15 creative things to do with toddlers when you’re stuck at home (or during a lockdown):
1. Kinetic Sand – this stuff sticks only to itself (not to you or your little ones!) so it makes for a fun and easy to clean activity that your toddler will love. You can mold, shape or squeeze, it just like wet sand. Genius (find it here)
2. Garden scavenger hunt – don’t worry Mammas, you don’t have to plan anything in advance! Just print out a garden hunt like this one (there are heaps of these online) and send your tiny tot into the garden to find them, ticking them off as they go!
3. Find 10 different types of leaves in the garden (this could also be added to a walk if your little one is getting bored on yet another walk around the block).
4. Teddy Bear picnic outside in the garden – simply pop down a picnic rig orblanket and make lunch a little more exciting by inviting your (bear) friends.
5. Sock puppets – did you think these were only cool in the 80’s and 90’s? Well, you were probably right, but these are a fun activity that won’t make too much mess and can be made easily! Just stick some eyes on it, a few pipe-cleaners for hair and bob’s your sock puppet uncle.
6. Make some playdoh (if you haven’t already). This one is a good recipe. So easy and great for sensory play!
7. Make a magic potion using aromatherapy oils, glitter, water and petals.
8. Save your wet wipe lids and make a colour matching drop box!
9. When your toddler(s) isn’t looking, add a fairy door to a tree outside. They’ll be entertained for ages wondering how it got there and where the fairies are. We love this one from the local arts and crafts store.
10. Celebrate something – with so much time spent at home, even the smallest celebrations can create a lot of variety and fun for your little people. You can celebrate anything from a birthday to the first day of Spring – try paper streamers, decorations – whatever makes it fun and a little different from your day to day!
11. Baking – ok this one isn’t very original, we probably did enough baking for a lifetime during 2020, but did you decorate your baking? Sometimes it’s easier if you (the parent) make the biscuits or cake and just let your little one help decorate them! Less mess, more fun. Gingerbread is a great, healthy go-to.
- Make a sensory bag – sensory fun without the mess! Combine water, different sizes of glitter, and a few little toys inside a zip lock bag and seal tight (you can double bag if you’re worried).
- Toddler slime – we know, this sounds messy but it ISN’T! This recipe is for bouncy, stretchy slime (thanks to @craftandboogie on Instagram)
(Mix clear glue, green food coloring, and lots of glitter in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix 1/2 cup warm water with 1 tsp. borax until completely dissolved. Add borax mixture to the glue mixture, little by little, until desired consistency is reached.)
- Make a sticker line! This sounds so simple because it is! Draw a path on a large piece of butcher’s paper and encourage your toddler to place stickers along the line until they reach the end! Great for fine motor skills development!
- When all else fails, host a dance party – this one may require some effort but you’re little one will love it and will probably sleep better after exerting some serious energy!
What are some of your favourite (messy or not) activities to do with kids in lockdown? Tell us in the comments! x TNS