Thanks to Covid-19 we are all trying to find a groove and routine for our new normal for the time being. My daily life hasn’t really changed much since I’m a full time stay at home mama, but even my routine has changed since my husband is now working from home everyday. I wanted to put together a list of fun activities and ideas for creative playtime for you to do with your little ones during this time of hunkering down. You probably have a lot of these things in your home already, but if not, I’ve included links to some of the items so you can order them online. Most of these ideas can also be used for independent playtime, but they are also so much fun to do with your kids. I also wanted to include both indoor and outdoor ideas, too. We try really hard in our house to limit screen time and electronics. So we’re always looking for fun things to do that foster creativity and imagination. I hope these ideas help you make memories with your children not only during this time of uncertainty, but whenever.
Break out some crayons and paper and get to coloring and drawing! Coloring is a great way for kids to work on their fine motor skills as well as express creativity. We have a huge easel pad that we just lay on the floor for our daughter to color on. You could also just pay a roll of paper like this, too. It’s nice to just pull a sheet off once it’s been colored on, though. We draw and color with her, too, but it’s also a great way to incorporate independent playtime to your day.
Lego/Mega Blocks/Wooden Blocks
This is another super fun activity that encourages creativity. My husband loves Legos and blocks, so this is his favorite pastime. I have never been too creative in this area, so I never liked building blocks and such. But I do enjoy building even simply towers with the kids. We have these Mega Blocks and both kids (ages 2.5 years and 8 months old) love playing with them. These are the prettiest wooden blocks and we love them!
My daughter LOVES her activity book. I actually ordered several more activity books for her, but they haven’t come in yet. This particular activity book has various activities like coloring in circles, drawing along dotted lines, and Olivia’s personal favorite, using a glue stick to glue down pieces of paper. This is definitely one for a parent to assist with because it’s designed for parents to facilitate the activities. The activities don’t take much time, but it’s a highlight of Olivia’s day.
Build a Fort/Camp Inside Your House
We recently started building forts, and they’re a hit. Olivia asks everyday for mama to build her fort… There goes mama’s
clean house, but oh well! One day they will be too big for forts and I’ll miss it. we haven’t camped out in our living yet (my kiddos are still a bit too small for that.
I bought a small set of Play-Doh and some cookie cutters for Olivia and she had SO much fun! I taped down some parchment paper onto the kitchen floor, and I’m so glad I did. When we were all done, I just pulled up the tape and threw all the extra little pieces away in the parchment paper. No mess! I know there are also all natural, organic versions, too, for the crunchy mamas. I grew up with just regular Play-Doh, so that’s what I went with. One day, I’d like to try making my own… We’ll see.
We love reading time. I read books to the kids, but they both also enjoy just looking through books, too. Reading aloud to your children, no matter how so young they are, it helps them learn language and also helps their imagination. Do you remember being a kid and your imagination would just go wild while your mom or dad read to you? My mom would read the Little House on the Prairie series to us when we were little and I would imagine being Laura, living on the prairie, etc. Even now as adults, we tend to imagine while reading books. We love reading books! Here’s one of our favorite books we read together. This is our favorite Bible. It is such an amazing children’s Bible. It ties every story into the plan of Salvation. Jesus is woven into every story so beautifully, and it’s honestly the only children’s Bible I’ve read through that has sound doctrine. I am very careful about what my children read and watch. I watch every movie before they see it, skip over parts (like in Finding Nemo), etc. I also read every single book before they even hold it. We recently got a book about the Easter Story and I didn’t think it was very age appropriate for under 8 years old, so we’re holding onto it until they’re old enough for it.
Dance and Sing
We have daily, sometimes hourly dance parties at our house! We turn on some music and start dancing. Even my 8 month old likes to join the fun. He will stand in his exersaucer and dance or we’ll stand him up on the floor so he and Olivia can can dance together. It’s really cute and lots of fun for the whole family.
Take an empty laundry basket and toss balls into in to make goals. Olivia likes to stand at the top of the stairs (this is obviously a daddy-daughter game creation) and toss them down the stairs into the laundry basket.
My sister-in-law gave Olivia these really cute, 12 piece puzzles for birthdays and Christmas, and they are so much fun. They are perfect for toddlers. Only 12 large pieces, so it’s easy enough for a toddler to handle. Usually, I will get Olivia started with 2-3 pieces and then she can start to piece it together with minimal help.
Take a Walk
Take a walk outside! Until we started potty training, we enjoyed a daily walk around our neighborhood. It’s a fun way to get outside, get some sunshine, and some exercise. My kids love just strolling around! It’s also good for me to get up and get some exercise in a fun way.
Olivia loves playing with chalk. Last year I bought like an 8 piece set of chalk for under $4 at Target in their front dollar spot. She would spend hours outside just drawing with her chalk.
Grab a bottle of bubbles, or a bubble gun and get ready for some fun! This one can be really messy, but it’s another activity that gets us outside having hours of fun. I need to find a bubble gun or something for Olivia because she very rarely can blow bubbles. But it doesn’t stop her from trying! Last year I got a HUGE bottle of bubbles for $1. I can’t remember where I bought it, but it was either Target, Walmart or the Dollar Store.
Tend to the Garden
It’s still too cold here in Colorado for this one, but last year Olivia loved helping me water the flowers and pick weeds. This year, we need to do re-landscape parts of the yard so I plan on letting Olivia help as much as she can.
Outdoor Water Activities
Here in Colorado we have a very short summer, so we try to take advantage of it. Buy a kiddie pool (they’re like $10) and throw some toys in it! Take big food storage bowls outside and fill them with water. At the end of the summer last year I bought a small splash pad for the backyard. I haven’t used it yet, but we’re looking forward to pulling it out this summer! It was like $12 on Amazon. I couldn’t find the exact the one, but this one is similar. Last year Olivia loved just playing with the hose! I would let her help me water the flowers and plants, and she would always stick her hand under the water and it would splash her. She loved it! It was more like watering Olivia than just the flowers!
Indoor Water Activities
Grab some Tupperware bowls, or something similar and let the kiddos give their toys a bath. This one gets messy, though, so I prefer bath time for water fun indoor.
Other Activities to Consider
- Think of things to do outside like playing ball. You could kick a ball, play catch, roll the ball, etc.
- Tea parties
- Hide and seek (this is a daily thing Olivia does with Daddy)
- Let your little help you with chores or baking (Olivia loves to sweep the kitchen floor while I do the dishes. She has this adorable cleaning set)! She also loves to vacuum with her play vacuum when I do our carpet. Olivia has a toy vacuum similar to this one.
- Bird watching. Recently Olivia noticed birds in our backyard and now she is always looking for birds. My other sister-in-law sent some of the cutest bird books, and Olivia will sit by our backdoor looking for the birds she sees in her books. Here and Here. The second one makes the most realistic sounds I’ve ever heard. Daniel and I frequently start looking for a bird in the house when she reads this book.
- Painting or using watercolors. I haven’t attempted this one yet, but I plan to in the next week or so. I just bought a cheap set of watercolors, so I’m excited to try this one out!
- Working out. Anytime I start to do a work out, Olivia runs over and joins me. Since I craft with vinyl, I often find her lifting weights with my rolls of vinyl! Haha!
- Toys that encourage imagination and creativity. Baby dolls or this one, blocks (linked above), gardening table, music toys, etc.