Whether it’s an extended rainy period, flooding, snowstorms or the COVID-19 pandemic, we are pleased to share some ideas for indoor activities that might help keep you and your children entertained under difficult circumstances!
As COVID-19 spreads across the UK, many parents are finding themselves in some form of isolation or social distancing. Because schools, playgroups and nurseries also closing, many families may find themselves stuck indoors, feeling a bit lost.
Let’s face it, there’s only so much Peppa Pig or Fireman Sam one parent can take in a day and so the thought of extended isolation at home with bored children might send chills down the spine of many parents – especially if your usual ‘go-to places’ such as soft play centres and cinema’s aren’t available either!
Although we usually focus on Buggies and Travel Systems, we’re parents first and foremost and so we’ve put our heads together to capture some activities that we’ve used with our little ones of various ages and that we hope to help you through this time!
Indoor activities for children 0-2 years
Since your baby routine may be well established, it might be easier to try and keep to that routine as much as possible rather than to unsettle your baby by changing your approach too much.
Naturally at this age, your little ones are heavily reliant upon you. They will already be enjoying playing, singing, cuddling and story-telling with you and spending time together.
Here are some great indoor activity ideas for 0-2-year-olds that you could build into your baby’s routine:
- Singing nursery rhymes – you’ll already have a repertoire of these that will have driven you to distraction, we’re sure, but they love one’s with actions like ‘I’m a little teapot’ or ‘twinkle twinkle little star.’
- Play counting games – count their little fingers or toes or count the stairs as you walk up and down them.
- Listen and repeat – listen to the sounds that your baby makes and repeat them back to her. Point out to your baby the sounds around you.
- Read – share stories and books together.
- Move, reach and grasp – encourage baby to reach for things, mirrors, toys or blowing bubbles.
- Play a game to make baby laugh – from about 5 months old babies enjoy physical humour, for example, playing “Peekaboo”
- Surprise baby – blow a raspberry on their tummy or make a funny noise to gently surprise baby.
- Activity “where is your nose?” – talk gently face to face with your baby, point out different body parts’
- Activity “bridges and tunnels” – make some bridges and tunnels using cushions or blankets, lift baby over bridges and let them enjoy crawling through the tunnels.
- Socks puppets – why don’t you turn an old sock into a fun hand puppet.
- Sing action songs – such as “round and round the garden”, tickling babies tummy or “this little piggy went to market”, playing with babies toes.
- Music and movement – put on the radio and encourage them to gently move in the rhythm of the music with you.
Indoor activities for children 2-4 years
From age 2 onwards, your child will be becoming more independent and your well-practised routine may be becoming less structured.
To try and keep each day ‘fresh’, you might consider drawing up a list of things that are going to be happening each day. Aside from helping to pass some time, it can help get your little one excited about activities to come. It can also bring a sense of comfort to children who may be feeling anxious or unsure about why they are not going out as often.
There are lots of planners you can use or download, but we really liked this Fiesta Crafts Planner where you can get your little one involved in helping map out your week.
Here are some ideas to help fill your planner!
- Musical statues – this oldie is a goodie and your toddler will love this game. Put on some music and dance around together holding in position when the music stops.
- Fun action songs – singing some fun action songs together such as ‘incy wincy spider’, ‘Row, row, row your boat’, ‘head shoulders knees and toes’ or ‘ring a ring o’ roses’. Have a quick look on YouTube for inspiration if you run out of songs!
- Build a fort or den – build a den using a couple of chairs and some blankets and pillows. Children will enjoy playing make-believe inside their cosy hideout.
- Cardboard boxes – don’t all children love cardboard boxes? We’ve often wondered why we’ve bothered with the actual birthday present! Why not let them loose with a cardboard box with some pens to let their imaginations come to life. From puppet shows to tiny towns, the possibilities are endless!
- ‘Move like an animal’ – ask your little one to pick an animal and then move around pretending to be that animal. For example ‘jump like a frog’ or ‘waddle like a penguin.’
- Painting – from finger painting to potato or sponge stamping, this will keep your toddler getting creative.
No need for brushes, water or the usual mess that comes with painting, these solid paint sticks twist up and down just like a glue stick and dry within minutes!
- Play a game like ‘Simon Says’ or ‘what’s the time Mr Wolf?’
- Colouring – simply get out some sheets of paper or colouring sheets and pens and let their imaginations do the rest.
- Baking – why not make and decorate a small batch of cupcakes or some Rice Krispie Cakes. Not only will your child love the mixing and licking the spoon at the end, but you’ll also have your pudding and treats sorted for the week too!
- Rhythm game – make a drum and stick using a wooden spoon and a tin or saucepan. Ask your toddler to copy a simple rhythm pattern you create. Or let them come up with the rhythm… (and if they get too excited by it, we won’t judge if you leave them to “self-entertain” for a short period whilst you close the door and make a cuppa!)
- Treasure hunt – hide an object and ask your child to look for it. You can give them clues and let them know if they are ‘hot’ or ‘cold’.
Indoor activities for children 4–6 years
If your child’s school has closed you may be sent home with some age-appropriate resources. We have included some links to some school-based resources below. However, even schools throw in some fun and so how about some of the following ideas for when the school activity gets a bit boring?
As with 2-4 years, consider drawing up a list of things that are going to be happening each day – see link above for a great planner you can use to get your kids engaged with planning out each day!
- Make an indoor obstacle course and play “The Floor is Lava.”
- Play “I Spy” inside or out the window.
- Board games and jigsaws –board games and jigsaws are great; they could even make their own board game if they’re feeling creative.
- Baking and Cooking – as with 2-4-year-olds, this is something that always gets them engaged. For slightly older children, you could let them join you preparing dinner or you could let them bake some simple buns and let them enjoy decorating them.
- Host an indoor picnic – make lunchtime more fun by hosting an indoor teddy bear picnic. Put down a picnic blanket (or any blanket for that matter) to provide the full experience. Maybe ask them to set a table an have your own indoor restaurant and roleplay.
- Get Building – you could build a Lego model, a tower of playing cards or something else! If you want to use lego every day, check out the 30 day lego challenge here
- Write a list – of things that make you happy, things you are grateful for or things you are good at.
- Fact files – Spend some time with your child researching on the internet and then make a fact file about an animal your child likes. Perhaps include some drawings or perhaps watch a few YouTube videos. Some zoos also provide downloadable fact sheets.
- Have a disco – you can enjoy some family time hosting a family dance party in the living room or make up a dance routine to a favourite song.
- Hide and Seek – the always popular hide and seek can provide some fun indoor entertainment.
- There is a movement #frommywindow where children are encouraged to put their arts and crafts in windows. The idea is that when children go out for a walk (not in groups) they can look at the work of the other children and keep up their spirits.
- Reading – read with them each day. Talk about the book, make predictions, think about your favourite characters and design a new front cover.
- Film time – remember to enjoy some quiet time snuggled up watching a family movie with some popcorn.
Additional Useful Resources
Finally, here are some useful resources we’ve found that you might want to take a look at. These are especially helpful for educational ideas.
- To support parents and teachers, Twinkl have made their services free for a month. You can download lots of age-appropriate educational activities from www.twinkl.co.uk/offer . Use the access code: UKTWINKLHELPS
- Primary Resources various worksheets for all primary school subjects: www.primaryresources.co.uk
- National Geographic have some activities and quizzes available visit www.natgeokids.com/uk/
- There are also lots of free resources from Oxford Owl for home: www.oxfordowl.co.uk/forhome/
- This is a good website for all subjects, especially useful for maths games: www.topmarks.co.uk
- To practice times tables visit: www.ttrockstars.com
- To practice phonics sounds visit: www.phonicsplay.co.uk
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