It can be hard to find ways to entertain babies, toddlers and young children when you’re stuck indoors for most of the day, but, with a little imagination and a lot of mess, there are lots of fun ideas for keeping little ones happy and engaged during the Covid-19 lockdown period.
Here are five fab ideas for keeping small children happy indoors…
1. Carpet picnics
Just because the sun isn’t shining, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a picnic! Grab your picnic blanket and paper plates, and get to work making a fabulous picnic spread with finger sandwiches, chopped cherry tomatoes, cheesy pineapples, cucumber sticks, dips and lots of cake!
For added atmosphere, put your sun hats and shorts on, and ask Alexa for some beach-inspired tunes.
The kids will have loads of fun, and the novelty of eating whilst sat on a picnic blanket will hopefully inspire them to eat some healthy snacks, too.
2. Kitchen table crafts
If you don’t consider yourself a very “crafty” person, fear not! Why not subscribe to a monthly activity box full of craft ideas and fun ways to spark little imaginations?
We love the Rainy Day Box, which – for the princely sum of £6.99 a month – will send you a letterbox-sized parcel with three craft ideas, all of the equipment and bits and bobs required, and even a cool idea for a recycle task where you reuse a household object like a toilet roll tube, a pop bottle or a washing up liquid bottle. The crafts are always super fun and creative with a different theme each month. All you need from home is scissors and occasionally glue or sticky tape.
If you’d prefer to make your own crafts, go wild and make pasta collages, potato paint prints or re-use a load of old cereal boxes and let the kids build a rocket or a robot. If you need inspiration, Pinterest is a great resource for creative ideas….
3. Make your own slime (sorry!)
Kids love slime, it’s as simple as that! If you don’t mind a bit of mess and are prepared to supervise with eagle eyes, we have a great slime recipe that’s guaranteed to work every time and uses household ingredients and stuff you’ll find in the cupboards.
You will need:
- 100g PVA (school) glue or melted stick glue (like Pritt-stick)
- 100g warm tap water
- Shaving foam (not shaving gel)
- Food colouring (or a couple of different ones to make different colours!)
- Baby lotion
- Liquid laundry detergent (such as Bold 2in1)
- Pour the glue into a big mixing bowl. If you’re using melted pritt-stick style glue, chop up the sticks and microwave them for 10 seconds at a time, and stir stir stir until runny
- Mix the warm water gradually into the glue
- Add in a couple of drops of food colouring and mix with a wooden spoon
- Stir in a couple of big heaped spoons of the shaving foam
- Add in a small squirt of baby lotion to make the slime more stretchy
- Mix in the liquid laundry detergent. This is where the magic happens! Add in bit by bit and get the kids to knead the mixture with their hands – all of a sudden it will turn into slime and detach from the sides of the bowl.
- Your stretchy, fluffy, colourful slime is ready to play with!
4. Banana bread muffins
Baking is a sure-fire way to keep the little ones happy, and they get a delicious treat at the end of it too. Banana bread muffins are always a winner. They use up old bananas that otherwise would be thrown away, and are easy peasy to make.
We adore this recipe from Love Food Hate Waste, that includes ingredients you’ll be sure to find knocking about such as butter, flour, caster sugar, milk and eggs. You can add in extra ingredients yourself, so if you have any chopped pecans, chocolate chips, fudge chunks or banana chips in the cupboards, get creative in the culinary department and chuck them in.
The children will love mixing and licking the spoon, and you can take care of the oven and baking side of things! Yum.
5. Den building
Building dens together is a simple pleasure, and is just the type of thing that your kids will always remember. Sometimes, the easy, cheap and creative things are the ones that are fondly recalled when you grow up!
Get creative with old sheets, tables, cushions, play equipment, clothes airers and even fairy lights if you’re feeling a bit extra!
Children love building dens, and babies will love crawling into these cool spaces and feeling the different textures.
As always, there’s loads of inspiration online if you’re a bit stuck….