I’m sure everyone already know this, but I sometimes need a reminder. Kids just don’t need more stuff, more toys, more specific craft, more books. They have beautiful little imaginations and love to pretend. We’ve spent hours playing fairies in the garden using rocks as ‘beds’, leaves as ‘blankets’ & flowers as ‘fairies’. I’m also a big fan of using the basic things kids love (mainly water or anything with a different texture) to increase their solo playing time. Solo play has so many benefits (least of which means you can actually enjoy a hot coffee or get something done!), including bringing out their imagination and encouraging calmness. Here are a few activities we’ve done recently which have kept Audrey (almost 3yrs) entertained for an extended period. This idea also happens to fit in with my ‘less stuff’ mindset. win win!
Sometimes I’ve been busy setting up an activity that I forget half the fun for Audrey would be in the getting ready! Making your own playdough is an obvious one and there are so many ‘cook free’ recipes out there. This one on kids spot is pretty good.
Kids don’t use pinterest and they have amazing imaginations, so anything you draw will be ‘perfect’ to them.
Set up the basics and then let kids do the rest themselves. They don’t care that something doesn’t look right or is a bit wonky, they just love colour and texture and are happy doing their own thing. They’re also a little self-centreed which is why Audrey loved this activity or creating a self-portrait.
We traced around her body on a large piece of paper, cut out a few basic ‘clothes shapes’ (you’ll see I’m no artist) and then I left her with some colourful scrap paper.
It’s all in the feel
Kids are so tactile, they love the feel of sand in their toes or hot/cold things, something squishy, something slimey. It doesn’t matter what it is, they just love to feel different things. While I initially baulked at the idea of letting Audrey create a huge mess once I really thought about the clean up involved I realised it could be fun. There isn’t much that a tea towel and some water will clean up.
An easy activity is frozen dinosaurs – I’ve always got a frozen dinosaur (or other plastic animal) in the freezer. Just put out a few different things and watch them try to get the dinosaur free.
‘Mum, this is just so much fun!’ – The pure joy on her face and in her voice when I put out a tub of shaving foam and some plastic insects. I couldn’t stop smiling, she just loved it. Rinse your hands, change your clothes and the clean up is done.