Finding activities for your children to engage in during lockdown can be a full time job in itself. So, today, Im sharing 9 of our favourite play ideas to help ease the load.
1. PIPECLEANER FUN
Pipe cleaners are a great resource to have on hand-they are fairly inexpensive, come in a range of colours, shapes and sizes and incredibly versatile eg, necklaces, bead threading, people making, letter and number making, threading through a colander, bubble wands, tiaras, animal making and more.
Mazes can simply be printed at home or bought online. We recently purchased a Usborne Maze Pad (available at Booktopia) and it is amazing, allowing for both independent, one on one.
3. TABLE CUBBY
There are so many wonderful places within the home that lend themselves to imaginative play. One of our favourites is a table cubby house.
To make yours simply:
Find blankets within the home or purchase a table cubby (we love ours which was made by @Imagine 4 Kids) and throw over your dining table or lounges to create a cubby.
Let the children bring their favourite toys with them and all eat morning tea/lunch/afternoon tea inside the cubby.
Be sure to take some pics as they will be great as a talking point through the day and over the next few days and again in the years to come as your child/ren grow up and reminisce. To extend the play for a longer period of time, video the play and watch the video after.
MODIFICATION IDEA – if you have a newborn in your home, include them in this activity by nursing them in the cubby, feeding and talking to them about the play that is taking place.
4. PUPPET SHOW
This is one of our family favourites. To create your puppet show you need:
•small selection of puppets (hand and finger puppets being the most common).
•a curtain, dining table or cut out as the theatre screen.
•a storyline to dramatise (could be a made up story, family story or a popular children’s story).
•Introduce the characters onto the stage, be the audience and applaud between scenes or at the end.
EXTENSION IDEA – Create your own puppets using recycled materials. Eg. Toilet paper rolls, felt pieces, fabric and/or Make theatre food and tickets for an extra element of fun.
Stickers are a versatile resource to have in the home from play to incentive charts.
To make yours simply:
•Purchase office supply plain stickers (found in our local discount store or stationery store).
•Provide children with stickers or gel pens to create their own images on the stickers.
•Discuss what drawings have been created
•Provide children with paper to stick the stickers on
•Hang up in their art gallery
6. LAUNDRY BASKET
Laundry baskets are one of the most versatile and budget friendly play resources to have in the home. Add some mini hand size bean bags and play a tossing game, add a mini ball for throw and aim games, soccer goals, transport rides and sorting colours in washing are just a few ideas to try.
Building is an activity that requires imagination, creativity, patience, problem solving and hand/eye coordination. Places such as horse stables, farms, castles, cityscapes and towers can be a world of endless fun. Accompany the blocks with some figurines for an added dimension of play.
8. SCAVENGER/TREASURE HUNT
For a simple version, children find hidden items and for older children create clues that they can read and follow.
Ideas of what to hide (food items, Pom poms, rocks, interest based gifts).
EXTENSION IDEA – for older children consider asking them to write the clues for a scavenger hunt.
HANDY HINT – create a theme and build the ideas, clues and treasures from there. eg. summer fun, winter wonderland, autumn fall and spring sprung.
9. OBSTACLE COURSE MINI OLYMPICS (indoors and/or outdoors, suited for multiple learners).
This year we watched the Olympics and loved it so much we created our own mini Olympics. Here is how we did it:
•Collect any game materials you may already have at home that will lend itself to a challenge (eg. Quoits, bean bags, whistles, bubble wands, cushions, sporting equipment, balls, eggs and spoons, toilet roll batons, weights, hurdles).
•Set up a few different stations with a variety of activities in a circle or row. Demonstrate and/or explain how to complete each activity and that each child will proceed in the same direction but will have a staggered start. (For those that ask why a staggered start…the main reason is so each child is having a turn at something simultaneously and not waiting too long for their turn).
•For a larger group of children allocate each child a specific role (eg. Athlete, commentator, spectator, judge and tv presenter). You may create props with their roles on it, or write it on their hand or ask that they remember. Once the roles are established, children will rotate in these roles so they each have a turn.
•For a smaller group of children, each child can be an athlete and the parent can be the commentator or judge.
•Children continue moving their way through the activities for a designated time (you may wish to use a timer or stopwatch or you may go with your mummy instinct as to how much time your children need to complete an activity).
•Once children have finished the obstacle course, conduct a medal ceremony (pretend medals or a token prize of some description ( you may choose store bought plastic medals for authenticity or a food reward or something else).
EXTENSION IDEA – interview each child about how they felt about their performance and would they be back again for the next Olympics? What training can we expect to see them doing in the future etc
MODIFICATION IDEA – for those with newborns they can be involved through baby wearing and spectating. Be sure to include them in the commentary. Baby ABC the youngest sibling of athlete aka child XYZ is in the audience cheering them on. One day in the future we might have siblings competing against each other.
TIP-film your child/children participating in the event and create a movie (recommend Imovie for the apple users-something your older children may enjoy doing). You may choose to make copies on DVD’s to give as gifts to family. They would make the ideal gift for grandparents.
BONUS IDEA – CARDBOARD BOX DRIVE INS
Most children love screen time. One way to spice up their movie time is by creating a pretend drive in experience with cardboard box cars, drinks, popcorn and treats. This activity will work for both a small and large large group of children. This is a winner when hosting a play date.
To make yours simply:
•Paint a large cardboard box in chosen colour. Allow to dry.
•To make the tyres, use four black plastic or paper plates. Place a circular sticker in the middle of each tyre.
•Using a screwdriver, pierce a hole through the sticker.
•Line up the tyre and make hole through the box in designated tyre spots.
•Insert a split pin into the tyre and fasten it to the box. Create four tyres.
•Turn the box upside down and fold the two longer sides inside the box. Secure with packing tape.
•Leave the two shorter sides loose.
•Fold one of the shorter sides in half lengthways. This side will create the windshield.
•Lift the opposite short side as is. This will create a spoiler for the car.
•Make a hole each side of the windscreen and spoiler. Thread some ribbon or string through to create shoulder straps.
•Add decorations and accessories to the car eg. Yellow paper headlights, rego plate to the rear, badge on the back.
•Place the cars in front of the TV, pop on a movie and children sit inside their vehicles.
•Don’t forget the snacks.
HANDY HINT – Kennards Box Shop have a great selection of heavy duty boxes that cater for a variety of budgets.
•For little children, we suggest assembling the car together first so the bulk of the time can be spent on the fun part of the activity (decorating the car and watching the movie). Older children can participate in building their car.
Comment and share which idea you will try first.