This is a challenging time for us all and each of our experiences vary and after speaking to a fellow friend and mommy she gave me the idea of sharing my tips on what activities you can do with children under the age of 5. Of course any of these ideas can be adapted for older children.
From the beginning of the social distancing I started writing out ideas for the week- ideas ranging from preschool activities such as crafts for certain letters or numbers, circle time activities and little arts and crafts to do, (my preschool experience supported me in this endeavor) but this came to an end when my son and myself weren't approaching it with fun and enjoyment- when it became a chore I stopped. Now we do random activities throughout the day for days of the week, weather, months, letters and numbers.
I still continue with writing ideas down and they have a focus of different art activities I saw on pininterest, ideas my son gave ("Mommy can we make a rocket ship?") and activities my daughter enjoys doing. My daughter is 2 years old and she enjoys play dough, painting, water play, sand play, colouring and dancing. These activities work for my son so I write these ideas down for each week or I spread the ideas out so we don't run out of things to do.
Obstacle courses are another favourite activity they enjoy doing. My son actually sets it up using kitchen chairs, tables, blankets, pillows to create things to jump over, crawl under, climb over and run to for his little sister and him to use up energy.
Baking! Muffins are the fav. and to be honest all I can do at the moment. Unfortunately I am not the best at baking ... yet... My son loves to do fruit parties where yes in fact we cut up fruit and have a picnic inside or outside.
Sensory activities was mentioned briefly above but you can also use rice and dye it different colours, water with bubbles, ground coffee, flour (do outside if possible as it's messy... learned the hard way), pinterest has some great examples too. We did a dinosaur sensory play with a volcano we exploded.
Colouring, painting, chalk art, long walks or bike rides. My son loves to collect sticks so we use foam stickers to cut and trace flowers to put on the top of the sticks. Rock painting is another favourite thing to do. Those extra Amazon boxes (we have a collection) have been turned into a prison (my Mom ordered a police and jailbird costume for the kids), a robot and a nest for the stuffed birds we have. Games such as memory - you can make your own cards, bingo (physical activity bingo such as do 10 jumping jacks or 5 skips), and snakes and ladders. Youtube has some great videos for workouts, songs to dance to and educational entertainment. We have used virtual tours of zoos around the world too.
Of course every day is different and a lot of my wonderful ideas are looked upon with disinterest and boredom so onto the next idea on the list- I found filling a page was helpful and I use if and when the children are bored, if I need them to be entertained, or I want to do a fun activity with them.
Some days are better than others but I try to keep tablet and television use to a minimum and I try to do the shorter intervals of tablet use, for example 30 minutes of tablet and now outside play until the next transition (lunch or homework). I also know this isn't always possible and so the number one thing I have learned is to be gentle with myself. Some days I feel I got this and other days I want to hide in the closet.
You got this too Mama! Be gentle with yourself and if you are struggling please remember to reach out to local services, a friend, a family member and or anyone that can help you during this time.
I'll try to post some of the resources for activities, pictures I took and links to videos on a separate page on this website!
Contact me for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org