I know as a stay at home mum of 2 kids (Josh almost 4 and Amy 20 months) it is sometimes easy to stick them in front of the television to get some peace & quiet. But once I actually worked out how much television they were watching I was horrified.
So I made a pact with myself that the television would go off in the morning after Josh's favourite television show and we would play games. In doing this the kids have a more structured day and they have a lot to tell Daddy when he gets home at night.
You don't need to do activities that cost a small fortune to set up. Most households would have craft items lying around or hiding at the back of cupboards. If you don't there are always 2 dollar shops.
Some outdoor activities to try:
This is probably one of the cheapest activities to do and most of the time you can just make the mixture using cheap dishwashing liquid and an old metal coat hanger. Use about a cup of dishwashing liquid to 5 litres of water. Add the dishwashing liquid to the water as you don't want heaps of bubbles in the bucket before you start.
Harry Potter 'Potions'
It's as easy as mixing food colour and water into separate cup then giving the kids a dropper each and getting them to mix the different colours into another cup. This one is best done outside in case there is any spilt. While doing this activity you can talk to the children about what new colours you can make when you mix base colours.
Hide and Seek
....Or just run around like crazy people. The fresh air will tire the little ones out, so go wild and have fun!
This may cost a little to set up but if you wait for a birthday or Christmas present it may be the way to go. It may cost $60-80 to set up but it would be well worth the money. You can buy clam shells from the local toy shop and use one side for the sand pit and the other side for water in summer but if you do this remember to never leave the children unattended.
Fill a big tub with water and some liquid bath soap. Get the children to wash dolls, tea sets or basically any that can be washed. After they are finished give them a tea towel and get them to dry everything. You never know, they might enjoy themselves so much they will want to help you with the washing up after dinner.
Hand the children a packet of chalk and let them loose on the path, fence or brick wall. Let them draw until they have had enough then give them a bucket of water and a scrubbing brush and get them to clean it all up. My kids actually enjoy the cleaning up part the most. Just be warned that they will get wet and dirty so it is best they don't participate in this activity in their best clothes.
This one may take a little setting up or none at all (depending on how old your kids are). The night before, write some clues and stick them up around the back yard. Get the kids to follow until they find the cheap toy that you have placed there for them to find. You could buy something like a cheap cricket set or plastic golf set for about $5 and there you go, you have another game.
Make Your Own Piggy Bank (this will take a few days of drying in between, so it is a longer project)
For this you will need-
A balloon Cut up strips of newspaper (just make sure everyone has read the paper first)
Paper Mache glue (plain flour and water mixed together to make a paste)
2 ½ empty toilet rolls (the cardboard inserts) cut in half to make 4 legs and a snout.
Pink paint (or any other colour you want to use)
- Blow up the balloon and tie it off at the end. Stick the 4 legs and the snout to the balloon with sticky tape.
- Place the cut up newspaper into the glue and stick it onto the balloon, do this until you have covered the balloon a few times. Leave it to dry. This may take a few days depending on the weather.
- Repeat step 2. Again leave for a day or two until it is completely dry.
- Once completely dry stick a pin into the balloon to pop it. Then comes the fun part of decorating it. Let the kids do what they like to personalise it then leave it to dry.
- Once it's dry cut a small hole in the top so the money can go in then wait for your little angels to start asking for money to fill it. The problem with getting the money out would be that you have to cut it open but if you cut a small door in the bottom you can always tape it back up.
You could also use this craft idea to make a piñata for your child's birthday party. Fill it with sweets and small gifts and lets the kids loose!
Some ideas for Indoor Activities
I hope you all have as much fun as my kids with all these ideas.
Reprinted with permission