When I recently asked my community to share their barriers for playing with their little ones, one of the most common answers was the housework.
Sadly, many of us are feeling overwhelmed by the jobs around the house and trying to keep on top of those whilst entertaining a little one can be really difficult. I can totally appreciate this. I get it too. Sitting and playing with your little one while you mentally write a list of things that need doing.
So I have complied a list of 10 activities you can set up for your little one to keep them entertained so that you can tidy/ clean/ do things around the house. These mess free play ideas will require very little prep but will hopefully provide lots of entertainment, obviously I cannot promise miracles but I hope it helps!
1. Sticky washing line
This is ACE and can be set up in any room that you're cleaning. A piece of sellotape stuck between door handles or chair legs and let you little one stick their plastic toys to it. They will love the novelty of being able to pull the pieces on and off, giving you some minutes peace!
2. Water and foam shapes on the windows
Ok, this does involve water so depends on how you're feeling but I think it has the potential to keep a little one entertained for a long time! Spray and sponge a small amount of water to a window or kitchen cupboard and let your little one stick foam shapes or letters from the bath onto the surface! Again they will love it and a good one for when you're unloading the dishwasher!
3. Cardboard Box
It's a classic but it's a good one! Keep those ridiculous sized boxes from your online shopping for those days you want to clean! They can be moved to any room you're working in and act as a huge cardboard play pen. Throw in a handful of pens, stickers, or blankets and soft toys to keep the little ones busy so you can get busy too! And the best thing is, you can chuck it in the recycling once you're done!
4. Playing on the Fridge
Next time you need to get some jobs done in the kitchen, why not use the fridge to entertain your little one. Brilliant because of the magnetic surface at your child's height, your child can sit and play with anything magnetic such as letters, numbers or did you know magnatiles stick too?!
5. Playing in the Sink
Sometimes we need to go for novelty for young children to get them interested in play, so how about setting up some of their toys in the sink? It could be empty or with a shallow amount of water but it might just keep them quiet so you can clean the bathroom or hallway!
6. Shoe Shop
Ahh a good one for when you're tidying or cleaning the hallway! Get a handful of shoes out with a pot of coins and you've got yourself a shoe shop! Super easy, let your little one pretend to play shops while you clear that pile at the bottom of the stairs!
7. Hide and Seek
This can be a good one for when you're frantically moving all around the house. Take a simple puzzle and hide the pieces in different rooms. You can encourage your little one to find the pieces and return to complete the puzzle one piece at a time. It might just allow you to sort the washing!
8. Washi Tape Bath
Another good one for keeping your child entertained. In a dry bath or shower tray use washi tape or masking tape (because it comes off easily!) to create roads for your little one to use with their toys as you run a hoover around upstairs!
9. Post-it Names
Post-its are one of my favourite resources to use with little ones as they are so versatile yet children are drawn to them! Why not write the letters of your child's name onto a post-it note or the numbers they know up to 10. Then hide them around a room or downstairs for your little one to find and stick to paper to spell out their name! Bingo, this might give you a minute to do the washing up!
10. Get Them Involved!
A final tip, depending on how you're feeling or your child's mood is to get them involved. Ok, it can make the job slower and you have to have patience but can be lovely to get the little ones involved after all, its you they look up to and often want to do all the things that you do. Maybe a little cleaning kit of their own, a sponge, dustpan and brush can encourage them to think their helping! Cleaning and looking after your environment is a life skill and helps children to take responsibility and look after their things so why not get them in good habits from a young age?
Finally, I would also recommend you check out The Organised Mum Method. Gemma has created a brilliant cleaning rota meaning you clean for just 30 minutes each week day, leaving your weekends free to play with your babies guilt free. Here blog and social media pages are super useful and FREE. Click here to follow along!
Happy Playing...and cleaning!