One month and counting!
Almost a month of Covid-19 inflicted lockdown (for Spain at least). I think it’s safe to say parents are looking for less of the “Insta-worthy” and more of the resourceful activities whilst passing the hours at home! I have been cataloguing various child friendly activities and updates across my social media streams. It has been a great way to connect with family during this time of isolation and distance.
In my attempt to keep you going, I thought I would share some of the quick and easy wins in our house for an 18 month old with a short attention span and a big personality! Despite the age of your kids, there are ways to adapt every activity to make it inclusive. They also eliminate heavy duty, time consuming clean up!
You can’t win them all
I realised pretty quickly after becoming a Mum for the first time in 2018, that my son wasn’t seeking perfection from me. What he responded well to was reassurance, routine, love and fun within clear boundaries. I enjoy connecting with my inner child; particularly now my son can replicate my silliness and does so without any inhibition.
I know everybody’s situation is different, everybody’s child is different. Enjoying some areas for play and learning more than others. I run with that, and have set areas or toys and books for play that day. Add in some “home made fun” in between and we’re off to a good start. I’ve never been a stickler for specific timings other than requiring him to nap at least once a day. Besides that, we eat as a family without the television and the bedtime routine of bath, story (whether audio or read), last milk and bed.
Whatever kind of plan/ routine/ structure you have managed to apply during all of this, I applaud you. Others might disagree, but I don’t think any of us love being with the same people 24/7, even our kids. I used to look forward to hearing all about Avery’s day at nursery and receiving picture updates of the adventures.
Anyway, all things considered the unplanned togetherness has been enjoyed for the most part. I’ve tried to make the most of materials at home before they go in the bin and that is the best part. Children’s imaginations are endless and the activity might not go to plan, but even a cardboard box can captivate them. So don’t despair just yet and go get those empty Amazon boxes!
Easy – peasy portraits
This activity requires a little bit of prep work by an adult and drying time. Once your portrait outline has been created and dried stuck to the flat surface (card etc.) It can be used again and again. Maybe trying different material to fill it with, or swapping out dried goods for paint or cotton wool or buttons. Realisticially, any other house hold materials you can think of!
What you need:
- Glue/ glue gun/ tape of some description
- Scissors/ kitchen knife if no scissors available to be safely used by an adult
- Container(s), (depending how adventurous you want to get with your material) filled with: dried beans/ lentils/ dried pasta shells/ dried rice
- An old sheet/ towel or plastic table cloth reserved for messy play
- Cardboard box of any size depending on size of “portrait” you would like; alternatively a piece of paper will do or one side of an empty cereal box (just be mindful that what you stick down or material you fill the canvas with may be heavier than the surface you are sticking to).
- A tablespoon/ wooden cooking spoon/ play shovel/ plastic beaker or hands will all do equally as good a job!
1. Cut one side of either your box, cereal packet or get 1 sheet of paper so you have something equivalent to a ‘blank canvas’.
2. Use the remainder of the card or second sheet of paper to cut 2 inch wide strips, (if using paper I’d suggest doubling up so it has a greater thickness to it and is more resistant when glued).
3. Cut enough strips to make either a simple self portrait of your child, or simple shapes that can be easily filled e.g. star, flower, circle, heart
4. Decide on your arrangement and put an ample amount of glue on the flat surface before applying the strips to your flat canvas, using the side of the strip to create a raised profile from the card. This should create depth to your canvas and allow each shape once dry to contain your material.
5. Once you have stuck all of your strips to create a portrait or other 3d arrangement, allow it to dry (mine was left overnight with some books ontop to add pressure).
6. Once it has dried, put it at a convenient level for your kids to begin having fun. Ensure you have protected whatever surface you are working on; (floor level or garden space if you have it is great to throw a sheet down and makes it easy to retrieve beans or lentils)
7. Provide a tub or a variety of different containers with rice/ beans/ lentils/ cotton wool balls and encourage your child to fill the gaps in the portrait until all the materials are used up.
8. If you want to reuse this you don’t have to use glue or paint at this point, it just makes for a nice activity to fill and feel different items in your cupboards.
Maybe you haven’t been able to get to the shops to buy eggs for an egg hunt. But making your own Easter egg decorations is a fun way to add some colour to the house!
What you need:
- Piece of paper/ card/ old square or rectangular milk carton
- Colouring materials e.g. crayons, pens, pencils, paints
- Cut up shapes from paper, magazines, pasta or coloured rice, sequins, glitter, stamps (the possibilities are endless!)
- Scissors* (depending on your material surface)
- String or pipe cleaners
- Marker or pencil
1. If you are using a square/ rectangular carton, be sure to rinse it out and make it flat before cutting the top inch and bottom inch off. Next cut up one side so that you can open it out and have as big a work surface as possible. Use a cloth to dry it if it is still wet from you rinsing.
2. Use a marker or pencil to draw a big egg shape on your sheet (a simple Google search for basic Easter egg images will also work if you have the resources to print, or want an outline to copy).
3. You can either cut the shape of the egg out before or after decoration!
4. Use glue, sequins, colouring pencils crayons or whatever you have found to decorate your egg. (Because the material we used was foil covered, I carefully scratched the surface of the paper to lift the foil and allow the crayons colour to stick a little better.
5. Allow your materials to dry if necessary, then cut out your egg.
6. Finish by carefully using either a pencil or nib of scissors to create a whole on either side of your egg and use a length of string or pipe cleaner to create a little hanging hook. Alternatively blu- tack, cellotape to the fridge, doors or windows to invite the Easter bunny to leave you an egg!
Follow more of my mama musings and life in Spain on Instagram @LivingMotherhoodCreatively