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Like many mums and dads, I’m working from home, trying to manage a business and raise a very active toddler whilst in lockdown. I’ve spent many days battling mum guilt. Feeling as though I’m the world’s worst mum and other days worried about how long we’d be able to last without loo roll. To say these are unprecedented times would be an understatement. After many days (perhaps weeks) of breaking down and putting myself back together again. I finally figured out how to entertain my tot despite the lack of space to run around.
If you’re a parent with a toddler or preschooler and are struggling to think of ways to entertain them during the COVID-19 lockdown. These five activities might just help you. Don’t fret if they seem a little bit different from the activities they might usually do. Simply tweak them to suit your child’s age, ability and interests.
This is an activity that I personally love. (In fact, I probably enjoy it more than my little one does). It simply involves placing low sugar cereal (such as Cornflakes, Rice Krispies or Cheerios) in a large tub with a variety of tools such as spoons, ladles, spatulas etc). Then encourage your child to scoop the cereal up or simply play with it.
It helps them to build a variety of essential sensory and fine motor skills. Which will lay the foundation for great hand-eye coordination and handwriting. It’s also a lot of fun, however, please ensure that you supervise your child throughout the activity. Otherwise, they may end up eating everything they see!
This is one of the easiest activities to set up and will keep your little one engaged and entertained for hours. Simply mix whipped cream and food colouring together to create edible finger paint. Then scoop it into a cupcake tray so that your toddler can easily use it to create beautiful artwork. It’s also handy to have paper plates so that they can paint on them or use cardboard boxes, cards or regular sheets of paper.
The third activity is so simple that only one tool is needed – plastic cups. All your toddler has to do is stack the cups up and take them down. It’s so simple but so much fun for them and you’ll be surprised at how much time they’ll spend doing this. This activity is great for building their vocabulary skills as you can use words like ‘stack,’ ‘cups,’ ‘build,’ ‘up’ and ‘down.’
Magnetic magic is a great activity for name recognition, introducing your toddler to the alphabet and teaching them letters. It’s also really easy to do. Furthermore, you only need two tools – a set of magnetic letters and a baking tray. All your child has to do is place the letters on the tray and enjoy watching them stick to it. You can also show them how to spell certain letters like CAT or DOG. Or show them how to spell their name. It’s fun and incredibly educational. You can do this activity with the number magnets as well. Nonetheless, do make sure you monitor your child especially when playing with magnets.
Having spent a small fortune on toys, I’m often amazed at how much my little one prefers simply playing with things that don’t cost a penny. One day, I stumbled upon an old plastic cosmetics bottle and a small bag of penne pasta. A light bulb went off and I decided to try and see if I could turn it into a game. That game, which simply involves placing the pasta in a bottle. This activity that will keep my toddler entertained for a considerable length of time. It’s great for building fine-motor skills. You can also make it even more educational by counting how many pasta pieces you can fit in or counting up to ten. It’s a great indoor activity and makes use of the things that are already in your home.
Although this lockdown period has been hard, it’s forced me to be more positive, to think outside of the box and to come up with ideas to not only entertain my tot but to also spend quality time together.
Victoria Ademosu is a best-selling education author, tutor and the founder of award-winning education company, TheTutoress.com. She’s passionate about music, reading and helping children to develop a love for literacy. She holds free mini English tutorials (for children ages 9-11) every Wednesday on her Facebook page.