Struggling for indoor play activities for your under 2 year old? We’ve picked our favourite, simplest ideas to keep younger ones (and you!) entertained at home.
1. Homemade fruit paints
Making homemade fruit paints is great way for older babies to explore what painting is all about in a safe manner (because they can put the paint in their mouths)! It shouldn’t require much additional work as you can tie it in with your usual meal prep and just set some aside.
Purée some colourful fruit in a blender - try to stick to simple single colours like reds, greens, yellows. You can add some food colouring to make it more vibrant. Little ones can use their fingers, hands or a paintbrush to make their own creations!
Or why not try yoghurt as a safe starter paint too?
2. No-cook play dough
Another way to use store cupboard ingredients to create a safe, sensory experience for your little one! The recipe is simple
120g flour, 120g salt, 475ml water, 2 tbsp oil
Combine the flour and salt in a bowl first, then make a well in the centre and add oil and food colouring. Pour in the water and mix until you get the right consistency (you may need to add a little more flour). You can use pastry cutters or other things around the house to make different shapes.
3. Ice, ice baby!
Ice is a great introduction to science for your child – exploring how it feels to touch and understanding how it turns to water when it melts! To make it even more fun, you can freeze ‘treasure’ objects inside a larger ice block, like little play figures, flowers or glitter. Just fill a recycled ice cream tub or yoghurt pot with water, add some treasures and freeze it for a few hours. Let your little one see how it melts over time and turns to water. More fun with water in number (4) below…
4. Water play
Water trays can come inside if you prep a suitable area with a messy play mat, or you can make your own water tray using a relatively deep tub filled with shallow water. Even better…why not create an indoor beach? A small paddling pool filled with a little sand and a bucket and spade gives your little one new textures to explore and the fun of a summer’s day even when it’s not!
Water is also a great substitute for paint on different surfaces - use it to make hand and footprints on an outside path or get your little one to ‘paint the fence’! ;-)
If you haven’t discovered the joy of bubbles for little ones yet, where have you been?! Bubble machines are one of those toys that will keep your child entertained from the moment they can see their surroundings, for many years to come. However, like with all the best play ideas, you can also make your own bubble mixture at home
300ml of water, 50ml washing up liquid, 1 tbsp glycerine or 60ml of corn syrup (not essential but this will help your bubbles form and make them glisten), drops of food colouring (optional)
Pour the washing up liquid into the water, trying not to let foam or bubbles form while you stir – hint – a chopstick is great for this stage! Add the glycerine or corn syrup and stir until mixed together. If you can, let the mixture rest before using it. You can use old bubble wands or find kitchen implements like slotted spoons, fish slice, or colander to make some interesting bubbles! Adding food colouring makes colourful bubble play and you can introduce a straw to blow through to make bubble paintings too!
6. Learn Makaton
Makaton gives parents and carers a way to communicate with infants and toddlers before they have the skills to verbalise. Mr Tumble on Something Special @cbeebieshq and YouTube videos are great for this, but we recommend also looking up ‘Makaton signs for babies’ and using these signs when reading stories, watching TV and when out on walks with your little one. Hello, goodbye, animals and feelings are all easy words to start with.
7. Fun with recycling
Cardboard boxes and cardboard tubes seem to entertain kids of all ages (adults included)! Here are some of our favourite ideas for what they can become with a little imagination
a telescope, binoculars, a treasure chest, a rocket, a car, a pirate ship, a castle, a shop
To make your box last longer, you can decorate new pieces of paper and stick them on with blue tack depending on what your box has become that day.
Why not bookmark this blog and share with other parents needing some indoor inspo for entertaining their little munchkins too?
Amy & Julie x