Recently my daughter and I have gotten into a daily routine, which I realised made this neat little mantra: make it, bake it, move it.
As she has gotten older (she’s just turned three) I’m finding the days easier and more enjoyable as we are able to do a bigger variety of activities together. Also the imaginative play has well and truly settled in which is just wonderful.
I don’t have the difficulty of juggling a toddler and a baby, but even if you do I hope you can find some of these suggestions useful.
We love craft! Here are a few of the simple activities we’ve done recently:
Dinosaur fossils. All you need is some air dry clay, a rolling pin, biscuit cutter and a plastic dinosaur. The fossils can be hidden in the sandpit for a fossil hunt, or give them as gifts to friends.
Papier mache animal. We had lots of balloons left over from a recent party and I got inspired to make a papier mache animal. The only items required are newspapers, craft glue (watered down), a balloon and paint. It’s a great one too because it becomes an ongoing project, that you can pick up anytime without much preparation.
My daughter loves to be involved with any kind of cooking activity, even if it’s just to watch. We have a couple of simple recipes we make each week. Her favourite ways of helping are stirring the flour, grating anything and cutting out biscuits.
The easiest thing to make would have to be popcorn, our proportions are 1tbs coconut oil to 1/4 cup of popcorn kernels over a medium heat.
Another great bake it activity is making playdough, which then covers points number one and two. We follow the recipe on the cream of tartar jar, which is:
2 cups plain flour
4 tbs cream of tartar
2tbs cooking oil
1 cup salt (I reduce this a bit)
2 cups of water
Mix the ingredients in a saucepan, stir over medium heat for 3-5 minutes or until the mixture congeals. Add dye.
It really helps if you can get out of the house. Talk a walk to the park, go to the library, visit friends. We are without a car during the day and sometimes the thought of public transport is very unappealing, especially in winter. So for us sometimes it’s just a scoot round the block. Other days we only get as far as the mailbox or the compost bin, but it all helps.
And don’t forget music! Put on some of your favourite 80s hits (showing my age here!), The Beatles or Bob Marley or whatever floats your boat, kids just love ‘em.
In an emergency…
A meltdown is coming and you’re at the end of your tether, here are 3 instant fixes.
Something noisy: Grab 3 pots and a couple of wooden spoons and voila! Instant drum kit! Yep it’s noisy, but it’s kinda good for getting all the frustration out.
Something quiet: Ask your child to choose their three favourite books and get comfy on the couch. I find by the third book, things have calmed down. It’s a bit like pushing the reset button.
Something active: Choose your child’s favourite music and have a boogie in the lounge room together. Sometimes you just gotta ‘shake your sillies out’.
Now you are exhausted and just need a break?
Whip up some popcorn, grab a dvd and curl up on the couch together. You may even get a sneaky 40 winks…
Hints and Tips…
Balloons and bubbles: Always keep these in your third drawer. A hit with kids from the under ones up to Pre schoolers.
Keep a list: On your fridge is a good spot to keep a list of activities when you just can’t think of what to do next.
Get organised: Spend an evening researching ideas online. I find Pinterest wonderful for this (and a tad addictive!).
Have a craft box: We have a large plastic storage box filled with all sorts of bits and pieces, from loo rolls, to wrapping paper and plastic lids. Sometimes you don’t even have to think of something to make, you can just pull out the box and let your child have a rummage through.
There are so many ideas once you start looking, here are a few more:
Start a circus!