My eldest daughter told me this week that she doesn’t want to go to the soft play in the afternoon; she wants to stay at home. Confused? I was. What’s wrong with soft play? It’s great fun for little ones and tires them out, which means easy bedtimes, right mamas? So why doesn’t she want to go anymore then? Have I overdone it in these summer months and is she bored of it? My primary thought is also: what on earth am I going to do to entertain you at home?
Whether you are in Hong Kong and sweltering in the heat trying to find indoor activities, or abroad and struggling on a rainy day, there are moments that you will be confined to your house for one reason or another. So this week we at Sassy Mama give you indoor and inexpensive activities for your children. Time to get creative mamas!!
1. Potato Printing – This is old fashioned but a good one! Cut shapes out of potatoes and get your children to print in different colours. They will love this activity and will be proud to show off their artwork to papa when he comes home from work.
Sassy Mama Tip: Do the potato cutting when your child is not there, as you don’t want them trying to get involved where knives are concerned.
2. Make your own play dough and then spend time with your child sculpting different animals or shapes. There are many recipes online! I particularly like the ones which involve a bit of actual cooking, because the play dough seems to comes out more smooth and malleable, but there are non-cooked versions too that you can do with your little one.
Sassy Mama Tip: Dye the play dough into lots of different colours with food colouring and add a few drops of glycerine for more shine.
3. Little chefs – most children love helping in the kitchen in one way or another. Choose an easy recipe that you can do with your little one. I loved these yummy rice krispie treats that Sassy Mama suggested a few weeks ago. A simple recipe, without the worry of hot ovens, and my girls certainly enjoyed licking the bowl after.
Sassy Mama Tip: Another idea I love is getting your child to help prepare dinner. My daughter is so happy with a bowl full of vegetables to wash. Its not slave labour when its fun!!
4. Card making – this particular idea came from my daughters book “All together painting” by Jane Hissey. The story is about toys making pattern prints and Old Bear puts them together to make a card. You can do the same with your little munchkin. Let them experiment with patterns and then mama it’s your turn to be creative. Cut out their patterns and assemble to make a picture for your card. Here’s what we did this week…
Sassy Mama Tip: Make sure your little one has an art apron, as this one can get messy!
5. Indoor shot put – you can make your own beanbags and do throwing games. It helps with coordination and the kids love it!
Sassy Mama Tip: For busy mamas, you can also buy beanbags at a low cost so fear not!
6. Dancing and Singing – my daughter loves music. She may have a terrible singing voice like me, but I still encourage this type of activity as it stimulates brain and language development and lets be honest it is also a lot of fun!
Sassy Mama Tip: You can dress up for this too. Nothing beats a little pop star.
7. Sand art – all this involves is so glue, card and sand. Let your toddler make his pattern with the glue and then sprinkle the sand on. Shake off excess and voila!
Sassy Mama Tip: Buy non-toxic glue or make your own…
8. Treasure hunt – this does take a bit of organization but is super fun especially for older kids. You don’t have to have amazingly expensive or extravagant prizes; it’s the taking part that the kids love.
Sassy Mama Tip: Bring other children over to play this game. The more the merrier!
9. Make your own hopscotch. This will fill up a whole afternoon. From the drawing to the colouring, the assembling to the playing, it will enable hours of entertainment.
Sassy Mama Tip: Don’t get too worried about what the hopscotch looks like, give your child a free rein.
10. Stickle bricks or Lego – my little ones love their stickle bricks and they really find pleasure in building (and destroying!!) towers, choo choo trains and much more.
Sassy Mama tip: Make this game even more educational by learning colours. Ask your little one to pass certain bricks to you!
11. Puzzles galore – my kids are obsessed with puzzles, they’re great for their coordination and mind but puzzle making is also a “downtime” activity. I’ve actually been encouraging my little one to do this after lunch. She has dropped her sleep now but still needs quiet time.
Sassy Mama tip: Start puzzles from different points to reinvent old ones. My daughter can do her aeroplane puzzle from the top in 5 minutes flat but start from the bottom right hand corner and it may take more thought.
12. Reading – children love stories and reading is so important for our little ones development. So invest the time mamas and read read read!