Monday, 11 May 2020

8 Easy and Cheap Activities for Children During Lockdown

We are now fast approaching the stage of Lockdown (if you haven't got there already) where you have exhausted every activity you can think of to keep the kids entertained at home. I wanted to give you 8 simple ideas that are either free or super cheap and will be sure to keep them occupied for at least half an hour. Which in fairness is enough time for you to pop a wash load on and enjoy a hot cup of tea right? 

My children are aged 3 and 7 which means finding activities that keeps them both amused can be difficult. A few of these are aimed towards Callie's aged children, preschool/nursery but can easily be made a bit more advanced with some simple changes. 

I'm far from a childcare expert but having been a Girl Guiding leader, Nursery Nurse and working for an Autism charity in the past I have picked up a few things along the way. 

Ride of Emotions

First up is an activity we got from our Early Years Fun subscription box but can be made with whatever scrap paper you have around the house. Cut out the shape of a bus, train, aeroplane etc. Basically you want a vehicle that seats lots of people. You then need to cut out some shapes for the windows, wheels and any other bits and bobs. Think wings for the plane, a face for the train like Thomas etc. 

Get out those crayons and a glue stick and let them colour and stick down all the parts. Talk about the shapes, colours, functions of the different items and they are learning as well as using fine motor skills without really putting a lot of emphasis on it.

Next comes the fun bit. Grab your stickers! We have emoji stickers in our set but you can use any face stickers. These ones are cheap on Amazon. Alternatively you can draw the faces. Either way you want to talk about the expressions on the people's faces, really open up their imagination. Why is that man on the bus angry? How is the driver feeling? Which face would you be? How are you feeling right now? 

I always find these sort of activities can give your child a platform to express their own emotions and at a time like this really help them to explain how they are feeling. 

Rainbows Around The Home

With rainbows being everywhere at the moment spreading joy across the land how about introducing them into the home. Get your child to sort their toy cars, animals, dinosaurs, LEGO into colours. My two love doing this they sort them into piles by each colour first then lay them out in a long line before ordering me to take a picture! It keeps them occupied for quite a while and you can level it up by asking them to do them in shapes, size order, species or make and model if using cars! 

Rainbow Walks

If the sun is shining why not take the rainbow hunting outside? We are so fortunate to live in the countryside but if you live in a more built up area and can do so safely a walk can do everyone the world of good. Just remember to stick to social distancing rules. 

My Slimming World group did a rainbow body magic challenge and each day we had to do some form of exercise featuring a colour. The kids got stuck in with me and each day we went on our daily walk and we had a colour to find. One day was Blue and although there were blue flowers in nature a lot of the Blue we found was man made. Pick a colour and see what you can find!

Shape Sorting with Food

Back in the house and some activities for when the weather isn't so nice. More sorting, this time with multigrain hoops but you can really use any leftover cereal, rice, pasta or beads if you don't want to use food items. We got an ice cube tray and on this particular day Callie sorted the hoops into colours in the tray and threaded them onto a lolly stick. 

You could use a selection of cups and pots and let them just roll with it. Small children love just moving things from one pot to another and there isn't too much mess to clean up afterwards as they generally eat most of them! 

Messy Play

Using the same green tray we have had so many different messy play activities. We filled it with bubbles and Callie washed her dolls, I think it has been part of a water park, a sink or float experiment and most recently for Gelli Baff fun with the Peppa Pig characters. Just don't let your child empty the contents onto the lawn because ours is still like a swamp despite raining a couple of times. 

Have a rummage around at home and see what spare plastic boxes you have. Can you declutter some old stuff to use another box? This used to have toys in but we managed to sort them and find a home elsewhere. They are also quite cheap to pick up online or in the supermarket while you are picking up your food shopping. Even a roasting tray will do the trick. 

Mama's Coffee Shop

We have really been missing our coffee shop dates. One of the first thing the kids said was can we go for a babyccino during Lockdown and they were sad when they realised we couldn't go. So, while they were in bed Mama's Cafe came to life. I wrote a menu of items we had at home, added prices and made fake money all out of scraps of paper we had at home (the green was an old document wallet I had and the cardboard was out of a parcel we had delivered. 

We baked some jam and apple tarts and I donned an apron and played waitress. Ted loved having the money and working out how much they had to spend. His maths skills were put to the test but they had just enough for a babyccino with cream and marshmallows to go with their tarts. I haven't seen them that excited in ages! This week we are attempting a fake McDonald's which given our surname I think it is quite apt. 

Printable Fun

Most of these activities have been quite simple to do using stuff around the house but if you have a printer there are so many more fun things you can do. We adore an Australian show called Bluey in our house. It is on Disney Junior but they have a website with lots of fun downloadable crafts. This one was toilet roll tube versions of the characters dressed as Grannies (a great episode) and was really easy to put together. 

Note- Don't let your little one be in charge of searching out toilet roll tubes. Callie unravelled a whole loo roll just to get to the tube inside! 

Whatever character your child loves I am sure there are printables somewhere online for them just have a look on Google. Ted adores Minecraft so I found some learning resources and colouring by numbers sheets he has been working through. 

Temporary Tattoos

These are cheap fun thing to do. I paid less than £2 for a pack thinking it would be maybe 10 tattoos and 40 arrived! Total bargain. Here is the link to the ones I got.

There are also fun kits online for making your own designs if you have some pocket money to spend or a Lockdown birthday is coming up.

With the governments latest announcements it could be months until we are back to some sort of normal. The internet is your best friend when it comes to keeping the kids occupied. No, I don't mean sticking them on the internet to play although no judgement here. Just get yourself on Pinterest, check out Facebook groups and forums. There are so many great ideas out there. Please do leave any you have in the comments too to share with other readers!

Stay Safe!

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