Whatever the reason, we can sometimes find ourselves stuck indoors trying to entertain the kids. And that's when the reality of just how long the day really is when there's no choice to leave the house.
Well I'm no fairy godmother and cannot promise miracles but I can certainly help when it comes to keeping the kids busy with limited resources...call it my super power!!
And let's be honest, we've all sat and played with the kids for what feels like hours and it's only been 10 minutes or looking at the clock and the afternoons seem to drag. My best advice for this would be to break down your day into chunks of time, perhaps hourly slots. Be clear with the kids what you're going to do that day and maybe introduce a visual timetable of what is going to happen and when. This can also be a useful tip so that the kids know as and when they will have time watching TV and so saves them constantly pestering for it!
And this leads me nicely onto my 5 tips for days indoors:
1. Create a Theme for your Activities
Playing around a theme can be really effective for young children and can bring all of your activities together. Themes such as foods, shapes, colours, space etc not only help children to get excited but can also motivate you to think outside of the box when creating play invitations. And that's not only with toys etc but also the things you talk about, read, watch etc.
2. Take Inspiration from Anywhere!
It's amazing what can inspire small minds. From walking past a muddly puddle to spotting a ladybird in the kitchen! Use everyday items or situations to inspire your play and go with what they are interested in. If your young child is showing an interest by observing, asking questions etc, why not bring it into your play?
And if there's nothing particularly sparking their attention, grab a book, or watch an interesting programme that might just get them thinking! Bringing Peppa Pig or any of those well known characters can be really inviting for children to want to play.
3. Extended Activities
If you are investing your time (and energy!) to set up an activity, then use it wisely. For those play invitations that will only keep them for a short period of time, flick the kettle on, keep it simple and let them play.
However there are other activities, like pretend role play etc that are worth investing your energy as once they are set up, they are often those that children return to over a period of time. For example, a shop, where children can develop lots of different lines of play will often be played with over a couple of weeks so set it up and leave it out. And if its not being played with, tweak it slightly, change it from a food shop to a pet shop with soft toys!
4. Always Have Something Up Your Sleeve!
What is it they say in the scouts...be prepared! Yes this is just the same for play. Always have in the back of your mind...."ok after this what's next?" Have a little plan of activities you can do. Something quick, simple, easy to grab and set up. And as always, like I say...if you're stuck grab a book! It can save you and your little ones getting stressed!
Kids love novelty, something new can be super exciting! So let them play somewhere they've never played before. Under the dining table, behind the sofa, in the hallway, in the sink, in an empty bath, in your bed! Anywhere! Let them take their usual toys and all of a sudden they will think it's AMAZING!!!
And the same goes for their toys. Bring outdoor toys inside, take indoor toys out. Add plastic toys to bath time. Move toys from downstairs upstairs and vice versa. Trust me, it can add a lease of life to old or ignored toys!
Alongside this, I have also created two free downloads you can print out and stick to the fridge so that you don't feel stuck when your housebound with young children. Please feel free to send these on to any parent friends with kids who might be in a similar situation. And of course, I would love to see what you get up to so please send in any photos of your play adventures to @play.hooray or add to the community group and help inspire fellow parents, carers and educators.
More Useful Links
As I'm sure you're aware I love to share play inspiration on a daily basis so don't forget to check out my weekday L!VE play demos (all saved on the playHOORAY! Facebook page here) and regular posts on Instagram.
And of course, we have our extensive range of playPROMPTS available in the shop here catering for all ages of children and lots of different types of play. playHOORAY! also offers printable versions and other play products. Simply use PLAY10 at the checkout for 10% off. Click here to browse the range.
playHOORAY! is also excited to announce that the playPROMPTS APP will soon be launching which I really think will help you to keep the kids entertained with those everyday household items! Announcement coming soon on social media channels.
Love Claire x