My eldest daughter told me this week that she doesn’t want to go to the soft play in the afternoons anymore… she wants to stay at home instead. Confused? I was. What’s wrong with soft plays I thought? It’s great fun for little ones and tires them out, which means easy bedtimes for mama. So why didn’t she want to go anymore then? Did I overdo it in the summer months and was she bored of it? My primary thought was also… what on earth was I going to do to keep her entertained at home?
So whether you’re in Singapore and sweltering in the heat trying to find indoor activities, are abroad and struggling on a rainy day (or you child has decided they’ve had enough of soft plays), there are moments that you will be confined to your house for one reason or another. So this week I give you a handy list of indoor (and inexpensive activities) for your children. Time to get creative mamas!
1. Potato Printing – This is an old fashioned idea but such a good one! Cut shapes out of potatoes and get your children to “stamp” 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 smoother and more 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 (here‘s a fantastic one mama). Such a simple recipe and my girls certainly enjoyed tucking into a nutritious bowl!
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. It’s not slave labour when it’s fun!
4. Card making – this particular idea came from my daughter’s book, “All together painting” by Jane Hissey. The story is about toys making pattern prints and Old Bear putting them together to make a card. You can do the same with your little munchkin. Let them experiment with patterns and then mama can cut out the patterns and assemble them to make a picture for a card. Here’s what we did this week…
Sassy Mama Tip: Make sure your little one has an art apron on 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 let’s be honest, is also a lot of fun!
Sassy Mama Tip: You can dress up for this too. Nothing beats a little pop star action.
7. Sand art – all this involves is glue, a card and sand. Let your toddler make his pattern with the glue and then sprinkle the sand on. Shake off the excess and voila!
Sassy Mama Tip: Buy non-toxic glue (just in case they’re tempted to eat it).
8. Treasure hunt – this does take a bit of organisation 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: Invite 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’ll keep them busy for hours.
Sassy Mama Tip: Don’t get too worried about what the hopscotch looks like, give your child free rein to create.
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 colour bricks to you!
11. Puzzles galore – my kids are obsessed with puzzles, they’re great for their coordination but puzzle making is also a “downtime” activity. I’ve actually been encouraging my daughter to do this after lunch. She has dropped her sleep now but still needs quiet time.
12. Reading – children love stories and reading is so important for our their literacy development. So invest the time mamas and read read read!
Louise is a freelance fashion and lifestyle writer, and full time mama to two gorgeous girls. Having worked for over 10 years in fashion, it is certain that her passion lies nuzzled in her cupboards of shoes and handbags! Louise moved to Dubai in 2008 with her husband and worked for multibrand store Boutique 1 before setting up her own label, Lulu Bare.