Trying To Stay Sane With Toddlers

Obviously, this isn’t nursing related, but while we are all doing our best to #stayathome during the current Covid-19 pandemic, I wanted to help other toddler parents out there. So I’ve cobbled together a list of fun stay at home activities. I wanted to share these ideas all with my family and friends, and also have a handy list for myself.

I cannot take any credit for these ideas – they are just random things I have come across and saved. I have tried to acknowledge where I found them, but for most I had just saved a picture to my phone and don’t remember where they came from originally. If this was your idea/original post – please email me so I can give the appropriate credit.

If you would like a PDF version, you can find one here:-

Tunnel Time

Balloons:-

  • Keepy Uppy (Thanks to Bluey)
  • Make balloon faces – draw faces / stick eyes on / glue hair on etc
  • Indoor Tennis

Balloon Round Up

Edible Mud

Mix 1 cup Cornflour with 1/3 cup cocoa.

Add water 3 tablespoons at a time, mixing thoroughly, until it drips off the spoon.

Add gummy worms / snakes etc. Whatever you like.

Floating Balls 

You can also give them patterns to copy

Popcorn Races

Need – Popcorn, straws, masking tape as a finishing line.

Make your finishing line on the table or the floor. Each person gets a piece of popcorn and a straw. See who can blow their popcorn over the finishing line first.

Rock painting and hiding – check out NSW Rocks Facebook page

Hide and Seek

Make Overs

Let kids do your make up. Let them practice painting nails on pieces of cardboard with hands drawn on them. Make your own face masks at home with stuff like quick oats and yoghurt.

Pull out your old crimpers / curlers and do crazy hair day – you’re not going anywhere!

Buy some face paints and do whatever designs they want (or that you can do).

COLOUR MIXING

Water based – Make up cups of different coloured water (food dye + tap water). Give empty bowls and let them pour the colours in to see what colours they can make. Best to either do outside or if inside put a towel under the bowls.

Flour based – Cover the bottom of a large container with an inch or two of flour. Give them the small cups of different coloured water. Use teaspoons to add the water to the flour to make different colours. Eventually, it will turn into slime for them as well.

Oil based / Lava Lamp – Add water to a large, clear jug (about 1/3 full). Add oil (any type) to the jug (so there is about an inch of oil on top of the water). Give the kids undiluted food dye and have them add it to the jug with droppers. (You can get plastic droppers online – https://www.amazon.com.au/Droppers-SENHAI-Silicone-Pipettes-Eyedropper/dp/B073JG5WF9 )

Rainbows – from 7 Days of Play.

Kids can also stick the cotton balls on – or you can do this beforehand.

Cloud Experiment – www.Mrsplemonskindergarten.com

Fill a clear cup halfway up with water. Fill the other half with shaving foam. Use a dropper to add food colour on top and watch it float through the cloud like rain.

Mini Masterchef

Give them bowls of flour, cocoa, coconut, rice bubbles, cooked pasta – whatever you have floating around in the cupboard. Let them mix it up into whatever concoctions they want to. Can also add in leaves / dirt / flowers / water etc to make it as messy as they like.

Sponge Stacking

Could also use pasta / cheerios etc instead of straws. Can stick the skewers into playdough if you don’t have sponges as well.  Get them to reuse the items to make necklaces / bracelets.

Hair Dressing Game – The Dad Lab

Need – toilet paper rolls, coloured paper, kids scissors, stapler.

Staple coloured paper that has been cut into strips onto the top of the toilet rolls. Then let the kids give hair cuts. Can also use just paper ‘models’ instead.

CRAFT IDEAS

  • Loose play craft – give them a big piece of cardboard, random craft stuff and glue and let them at it.
  • Cards – Make cards for your friends / family and send them via snail mail
  • Family hand and foot prints

Jellyfish –

Egg Carton Craft

Fairy Houses

Need – Cardboard rolls, cupcake papers, coloured paper/wrapping paper, textas etc

Hugs

Make a hug to send to family ( https://www.kiwico.com/diy/Arts-and-Crafts-Ideas/1/project/Send-a-Hug/2060 )

 Then let your child colour it in and post it off.

Contact Pictures – Happy Toddler Playtime

Use masking tape, to put contact (sticky side out) onto a window. Give them an assortment of stuff to stick on it (EG cut up tissue paper / cellophane / cotton wool – can also use natural stuff like leaves/flowers etc). You can also use a marker to draw an outline of an animal (EG a bunny) on the non-sticky side before putting up. Then they can fill the shape in.  You can also stick the contact to a table or floor if you prefer.

Animal Slippers

Hand Print Bunny

Easter Flowers – egg carton, pom poms, paint, pipe cleaners

Feed the Bunny – 7 days of play FB page

MATERIALS
• Box
• Plastic Bag
• Tape
• Pipe Cleaners

TO MAKE THE BUNNY
(1) Draw a bunny on top of an old box;
(2) Cut a hole for the mouth and the belly;
(3) On the inside of the box, place the plastic bag inside (zipper side up), ensuring that it begins above the mouth, and can be visible within the belly.
(4) Before taping the plastic bag down, trace a hole on the plastic bag where the mouth is, and cut out the hole on the side of the bag facing the mouth.
(5) Secure the plastic bag on each side with tape, and secure the plastic around the mouth hole with tape as well. This will allow the carrots to enter through the mouth, and fall into the bag for a fun transparent view as well as easy retrieval.
(6) Secure the cardboard box to the wall with painters tape, leaving the top part of the box open so that you can retrieve the carrots!

TO MAKE THE CARROTS
(1) Cut 3-4 green pipe cleaners for the stem;
(2) Then wrap an orange pipe cleaner around the stems making them very tight at first, and then a little looser until you reach the end. This will give it a thin to wide look like a carrot!

Lettuce Practice Cutting – just let them loose on a head of iceberg lettuce and scissors

Toy Hide and Seek – if they are distracted for a few minutes, take some of their bigger stuffed toys, and hide them around the house / backyard.

Make a fort / cubby house

Can be as simple as you like – eg throw a large sheet / doona cover over your dining table – or as fancy as you can get – think couch cushions / rearranging furniture etc.

Indoor Bike Ride – From My Bored Toddler FB Page.

You can put a scenic/ cartoon trail video for them to ride along with. (note training wheels need to be propped up high enough to lift rear wheel off the ground)

What’s in the box Game – from The Dad Lab

Blow Up Animals – from The Dad Lab

You’ll need – Couple disposable cups, straws, light washing up gloves, rubber bands. Use a pen to poke a hole in the bottom of the cups. Pop a glove over each one and secure with the rubber band. Use the straw to blow up the gloves. Can draw faces / numbers etc onto the gloves as well.

Threading – The Dad Lab

Will need toilet rolls, hole punch and some pipe cleaners. Draw a face on the toilet rolls. Punch holes at various spots at the top and bottom of the rolls. Get the kids to thread the pipe cleaners through. Could use straws or uncooked spaghetti instead of pip cleaners if you want.

Tong Transfer – 2 baskets, 1 pair of tongs, fill with anything you have available (Plastic eggs, soft toys, little cars – as long as you can pick it up with the tongs). You can make it harder / easier by changing the items in the basket / moving the baskets further apart / changing the size tongs used.

Playdoh

Make your own no cook playdough :-

  • 2 cups plain flour
    • 1 cup salt
    • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
    • 1 cup cold water
    • Food colouring

Combine all ingredients. If too wet, add more flour. If too dry, add a bit more oil. This doesn’t keep as long as cooked playdough, but is great to make with kids.

Can also add – glitter/sprinkles for unicorn theme, leaves / dirt / petals for natural theme, coffee grounds for smell and texture, your favourite essential oil for smell.  Put some cardboard on the ground and let them squish the playdough with their feet for a different sensation.

Salt Dough – can also make other shapes (use cookie cutters / playdough cutters etc)

SENSORY / MESSY PLAY

Shaving Foam

Cover an outside table with shaving foam. Let the kids whack it with plastic fly swatters

Slime – tip a large bag of cornflour into a container. Give the kids a bottle of cheap conditioner and let them mix it together. They can also add other things they find – water, dirt, leaves etc.  (If your shower is over the bath – it is great to do this in the bath).

Rainbow Rice

In a zip lock bag, mix 1 cup of rice with 1 tsp vinegar and a couple drops of food colour (more you add the darker the colour). Seal the bag and squish it around until the rice is coated. Spread out on a tray to dry (the smell will go away once fully dry).  Can make as many different colours as you like.  Let them play with different spoons / buckets / funnels etc. Empty drink bottles are good for them to try and fill.  Store in a container and lasts for ages.

Can also use this method to colour uncooked pasta to use for craft or making necklaces etc.

Coloured Worms

Cook spaghetti as per packet. When cooled, split into portions for each colour you want. Mix each batch with a small amount of food colour – you will want to wear gloves when doing this! Spread out to dry off a little.  Let the kids cut it with scissors or use their hands or feet to squish it.  As this is cooked pasta, it will only last a few days, so make small batches only.

When it is getting time to toss it out – mix up some jelly and cover the ‘worms’ in it. Let set overnight. Then they can try and dig out the worms – or stomp them out like this:-

Dino Stomping Yard

Set up a large tray or container with anything crunchy that you have – eg broken up weetbix, corn flakes, rice bubbles, nutrigrain, chips, taco shells etc. Put some dinosaurs (or whatever small animal toys you have) in there and let the kids stomp them around and squish everything.

Milk the Cow

Colour in your glove. Poke some small holes in the fingers. Fill with water (or milk if you want). Start with a parent holding. Then can get one kid to hold it for another. Then they can try holding it for themselves while milking.

Repair Shop

Any old / broken appliances you have lying around, get out some tools and pull it apart with them.

ONLINE

TV SHOWS / MOVIES

SCAVENGER HUNTS

OUTDOOR

  • Paint the fence / house using water and paint brushes
  • Any large boxes you might have – turn into large painting canvases for them.
  • Chalk drawings on sidewalk / driveway / side of (brick) houses
  • Wash the car together – real cars and their own toy cars
  • Water pistol fight – can use spray bottles for littler kids
  • What’s the time Mr Wolf – great for younger kids, might need 2 adults/ older kids to help
  • Bubbles – can use things like fly swatters, nets, spoons etc to try and ‘catch’ the bubbles

Water Balloons:-

  • Good old-fashioned water balloon fight
  • Tie filled balloons to the clothesline and let kids at them pinata style
  • Put filled balloons on the trampoline (with a net) and let them bounce until all popped

Bubble Snakes – from The Dad Lab

Need:-

  • Old socks
  • Disposable drink bottles
  • Washing up liquid

Chop the bottom off the drink bottles. Pull the sock tight over the cut off end. Mix 2 capfuls of washing up liquid in with 2 cups of water. Dip the bottle into the bubble mix – blow through the drinking end. Add more washing up liquid if needed.

Egg and Spoon walking / races – can use real eggs or balls. Kmart also sells kits in their party section. The bigger the spoon you use – the easier it will be. The heavier the item on the spoon – the easier it will be. To make it harder, you can combine with obstacles.

Scooter / Bike Riding Paths (for the Central Coast, NSW)https://playinginpuddles.com.au/the-coasts-best-bike-paths-and-scooter-tracks-for-kids/

Stroller friendly walks ( for the Central Coast, NSW)https://playinginpuddles.com.au/central-coast-stroller-walks/

Backyard Obstacle course – this is a fun one with things you might have at home or can get from Kmart / Big W – https://www.facebook.com/watch/?ref=saved&v=10157568580244213

Bear Hunts – Act out “Going on a bear hunt “– great to do during a bush walk, or even just around the house.

Mud

Use any old baby pool / containers you have around to make a mud pit. Clean soil / dirt. Let them add water (with hose or watering can) to mix it up. Cover with lid (or an old cot sheet) overnight and can use again.

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