If you’re anything like me you’ll be scratching your head for new ideas on what to you with your toddler during lockdown, especially on those overcast days when you can’t get outside… Here are some of our favourite things to do, all based on recommendations from friends and family, and our old friend Google of course!
Make your very own Elmer the Elephant
I’m always looking for new things to do with my toddler and when my friend suggested we made an Elmer the Elephant out of an old plastic milk bottle I was keen to give it a go. Amelia really loves cutting and sticking, so this felt like the perfect crafting activity for her. Plus she loves reading the Elmer books. Win, win!
I searched for how best to make an Elmer and came across this great step by step process on Imagination Tree.
This activity was so simple and loads of fun to do together. The only complicated bit was cutting up the plastic milk bottle (which of course I did). The rest of the steps are more than suitable for kiddies to do. I should mention that I did help Amelia cut up some coloured squares as hers were more like strips than squares..
Love this activity and actually pretty pleased with the final result. And yes I did stay around after Amelia got bored just to make it look a little prettier.
Make a space rocket out of old boxes
I don’t know about you, but we have sooo many old boxes right now from all our lockdown ‘essential’ deliveries. We decided to use a load of them and make Amelia her very own space rocket, complete with go faster streamlined wings and a dashboard control unit.
I would say on this one, my husband and I had more fun putting it all together, and it all got a little competitive to say the least. However, once it was all built (to my husband’s detailed specifications) Amelia certainly enjoyed the flying aspect. Though I must say it was pretty exhausting pushing her round the room on this. Good fun activity to get rid of old boxes, but the excitement didn’t last as long as I would have liked.
Pizza making on the BBQ
I keep seeing people on Instagram making pizza and I really wanted to give this a go. However I was certain it would be quite a bit of work, a lot of mess and also wouldn’t taste as good as the photos look. However, I was really pleasantly surprised.
We used a really simple recipe off BBC Good Food and then cooked the pizza on the BBQ. The spectacle and anticipation of cooking on the BBQ made the whole thing far more exciting and the base was insanely good (taking on that wood fired taste). One thing I would say though, is be mindful what you cook the pizza on – we have this amazing oven silicon sheet which ensures the pizza doesn’t stick, but I’m sure a decent pan would work just as well if (like us) you don’t have a pizza stone. Will definitely do this again.
Pipe cleaner colander activity
I saw this one online whilst searching for “what to do with leftover pipe cleaners”…. For this activity, all you have to do is give your toddler a load of pipe cleaners and a colander and ask them to thread them into the colander. This is a great one for those fine motor skills for little ones. Amelia loved it (and it kept her busy for a good while).
At the end she got to run around like a crazy kid with it on her head and I got to reuse all the pipe cleaners for a later activity with her.
Simple. Clean. No fuss fun.
Washing toys / cars
Ok so maybe this doesn’t sound like loads of fun to you and I, but I can assure you your toddler will love this activity. And it’s so simple and relatively (relatively) mess free.
The other day, we got all of Amelia’s little plastic toys (animals and cars mainly) and she washed them with a sponge and soap in the paddling pool. Could be done in a bath, sink, bowl too of course.
Not only did all her plastic toys get a good wash (brilliant for avoiding Covid-19 germs), it kept her busy so we could get on with some gardening. Throw in some plates and cups that need a wash too and you’ll be laughing..
…PS this reminds me. Little tip if you have a little one who doesn’t enjoy washing their hands right now. Give them a sponge with soap on – they’ll love seeing all the bubbles and the soap suds. I have found Amelia is willing to wash her hands for the recommended time this way.
Grow your own
Now I’m not massively green fingered, in fact most of the time I kill basil, but we’ve found sunflower sprouting seeds and micro-greens ever so simple to grow. All you need is a packet of seeds, a plastic dish to plant them in (or you could use an old bowl or Tupperware), some soil and regular watering.
It’s been lovely to watch our seeds daily to see how quickly they grow (don’t worry you won’t be waiting long at all). And then the best thing is that you can eat them after they are grown and your little one can try out some new flavours. Unlike some salad leaves these have a really good taste (not too peppery either).
Make a ball run
My friend introduced me to this on our NCT WhatsApp group and I’m so glad she did as we had loads of fun with this activity last weekend.
We had some old guttering left over from our shed build and made a ball run with it. I have no doubt you could really have some fun with this and go mad with a complex design for older kids, but we found a simple slide for the ball with some skittles to knock down at the end was all Amelia needed to enjoy this.
TOP TIP: Make sure you use quite a heavy ball if you want to achieve a good skittle knock down!
Hope some of these ideas give you some food for thought over the next week or so. There is nothing here massively tricky to do and likewise nothing too messy (which suits me perfectly). Hope you can give a couple a try.
Comment below with any other ideas you might have too as I would love to try out some new things..