As COVID restrictions continue to limit what we can do, and the winter days become shorter and colder, you may find yourself running out of ideas to keep your toddler entertained.
As we all know, it’s hard enough to stave off boredom and keep yourself entertained during lockdown — but trying to keep a restless small person occupied is much, much harder.
Luckily, we’ve rounded up seven of the best activities that will keep little ones occupied for hours. Read on for inspiration.
Make your own salt dough
Salt dough provides endless hours of fun — kids can use it to make all sorts of shapes then paint them and decorate them.
To make the salt dough you just need flour, salt, and water. Mix the ingredients all together, sprinkle some flour across a surface and then roll out the dough. And that’s it!
Let your kids cut out whatever shapes they want — you can do it freehand or use cookie cutters for specific shapes. Then stick them on a lined baking tray in the oven to bake until they’re solid, let them cool off, and they’re ready to paint.
This could be a great way to make some Christmas decorations to put on your tree or even send to friends and family in the run up to the festive season. Just keep a beady eye on them to make sure your toddlers don’t end up eating any of the dough.
Fun in the kitchen
Cooking together in the kitchen is a great way to keep kids entertained when you’re stuck indoors during lockdown. Whether it’s baking sweet treats together, or getting them to help with some simple meal preparation tasks, you can keep them occupied while also helping them with communication and coordination skills. And counting out ingredients can help them with maths as well.
Introduce them to new ingredients, let them make some of the choices when you’re cooking a meal, and encourage them to be more adventurous with food.
Try simple recipes like cookies, cake, or biscuits that require basic ingredients and are fairly straightforward to make — plus your toddlers will be excited to eat them. You could even have fun just decorating premade cupcakes or biscuits with colourful icing — making patterns and designs. For something more savoury, you could get your toddler to add their own toppings to pizza bases. After all, who doesn’t love pizza?
Getting kids involved with cooking from an early age will make them so more excited about food, and therefore more adventurous eaters. Not only that, it will help them to understand about healthy eating and the importance of a balanced diet, in a fun, engaging way.
Get them moving
It’s important to get your kids moving about when you’re stuck indoors during lockdown. Maybe you can’t go to the park and play like normal, but there are plenty of fun ways for them to burn off some energy in your own home.
Let your toddler pick their favourite music and get them dancing around to it (yes, you have to dance too) — and if they’re a bit older, you can even come up with dance routines together.
You could also try following some kids exercise videos — if you’re looking for somewhere to start, Joe Wicks has truly become the nation’s saviour and fave PE teacher this year — and if your own lockdown fitness routine has fallen by the wayside, you can join in as well.
Build a den
Building a den isn’t just a fun activity for your toddler — once it’s built, they have their own space to camp out in and play.
Provide blankets, cushions, clothes pegs, and boxes, and let them get creative with making their own den. The corner of a room, between two pieces of furniture or underneath a table are some of the best spaces for a den — but let your little one decide.
You can help out and give them some tips, but let them take the lead so that they feel more engaged and confident. Plus it will help them to explore the different possibilities and learn from trial and error.
After you’ve built the den, set it up with a blanket, cushion, and a few of their favourite toys and books. Perfect for relaxing pre-bed playtime and maybe even the odd nap.
Make sock puppets
Simple craft activities are great fun and making sock puppets isn’t going to make too much mess either. All you need is a few old socks, googly eyes, glue and anything else you want to decorate them with.
To start off, just add the eyes, and then let your kids decide what other features they want to add. You could create a mouth using felt, add ribbons or wool for hair — there are endless possibilities.
Once they’re finished, you have some puppets you can use to play games and tell stories — great for encouraging children to be creative and imaginative.
Set up an obstacle course
Another adventurous way to get your kids active when you’re stuck inside is to create an obstacle course around the house. Set up a course going across different pieces of furniture, and use cushions or boxes to make obstacles — but don’t forget to hide any breakables before you start!
Hide treats, toys, or even lego bricks along the way — something that your toddler has to keep an eye out for and collect as they go through the course. Not only is it a lot of fun, but it’s also going to help improve coordination and concentration skills.
Get them to tell a story
Instead of reading the same stories over and over again during lockdown, why not get your toddler to make up their own?
Start off the beginning of a story — either one you already know or a new one — and then ask them questions about what they want to happen next. Get them to describe the characters, give them options for how the story goes, or just let their imagination run wild and take over the storytelling.
These are just a few indoor activities to keep your toddler busy during lockdown. Make the most of the resources you have available at home and use your imaginations to focus on finding creative ways to keep them entertained.