Monday, March 4, 2013

Its childs play... literally.

I never knew playing could be so much fun. I also had no idea what a 3 hour stretch of afternoon to fill before tea felt like. We don't have money for endless classes and as winter is lasting forever trips to the park are limited to once or twice a week. So, we've had to devise some fun indoor games. Here are some of our favourites-

1. Water. Any game involving water is a winner. Mostly because its free. And bubba loves to make a big splashy mess! We whip our waterproof table cloth off and pop it on the living room  floor, with a washing up bowl of warm bubbly water. Then we enjoy a series of kitchen implements getting a good wash, bash, pour etc. This easily takes up 30min and bubba enjoys helping to locate items for 'bathing'. It is worth remembering to squirrel away books, wooden toys or precious items before the 'bathing' selection is made!

Stirring up trouble
One word of caution - be sure to watch out for little hands grabbing then proceeding to tip said contents all over the floor. A small waterproof mat, whilst offering protection from splashes, will not contain a whole washing up bowl of water! (Yes, I did discover this from experience, and no, soggy carpet does not dry quickly).

Washing the stacking cups - well, they did need a clean...
2. Colouring. When we (I) am too sleep deprived to bother filling a bowl of water we go for the slightly more calm colouring approach. This requires gauging bubbas mood first. If he's in one of his attention span of a gnat moods this activity will finish precisely 3 minutes after it begins. Pre-nap is a good time to try, or after a good chasing of the cat up and down the hall (I am not suggesting cat cruelty, the cat enjoys the pre- and post- chase patting, and will follow bubba around in leiu of a chase).

Anyway, a massive roll of paper, or the inside of a cereal box make for good first canvases. Some fat wax crayons are our weapon of choice. Seems a little odd the pack advises their use for 3+ years only. But as bubba has nibbled the end of red crayons I guess this means no unsupervised use. Or I'm a bad mummy. But hey ho there we go.

3. Anything involving a box. This is an easy game that can combine activities 1 or 2. First - box selection. Part of the game in itself. Plastic food tubs are good, and can be used for stacking. Boxes with lids provide a challenge for little fingers. Hide a small toy inside and you get both a rattle then something to re-box once the lids have been prized open.

Disco Box
If you've recently taken delivery of yet another large item of baby kit you may enjoy the Large Box activity. This allows you, or bubba, to get in the box, with handy ready-made doors. Lights such as torches or light-up toys ensure that bubba gets a jolly lightshow, or a Baby Disco if you combine box play with some phat beats (by this I mean baby friendly tunes. Though bubba was rocking out to the Prodigy the other day. Bad mummy act part 2?)

Ready-made doors to the Castle
By now you will have hopefully nearly reached a meal time. Particularly if you have interposed activities with a nap, snack, or both if you're able to. Otherwise, head for what I refer to as Early Tea. This occurs when someone (yes I mean me) can't be bothered with more activity time.

This process involves Stages of Tea, where easy tea options such as cheese cubes or slices of ham, are brought out early on whilst Main Tea is made (by this I mean only heating leftovers from dinner last night). Thus extending the Tea Process until it becomes suitably near bath time. Which is precursor for bedtime. So technically you've survived the day. Well done you. No expensive classes or all-singing all-dancing toys required. Just your energy. All of it. But hey, you knew that anyway right?! That's part of your job as Toddlers Entertainer, no?

What free and fun games do you play with your toddler? Please share as I'm all out of ideas and a whole day to fill tomorrow!