At Saplings, we are very aware that increasing numbers of parents may be forced to self-isolate now or in the coming weeks in the company of healthy and stir-crazy toddlers and babies and that this can be a lonely and emotionally difficult experience particularly when exacerbated by concerns about elderly or vulnerable relatives, financial worries and lack of supplies.
We all hope that this situation will bring out the best in all of us in terms of mutual support – I, for example have set up a What’s App group for close neighbours so that we can help each other emotionally and practically as far as possible.
In terms of keeping your children
occupied, you know better than us what resources are available to you at home and the interests of your children so, although I would love to send lists of innovative and stimulating creative ideas, you will probably not have access to the materials you need but may be able to adapt some of our ideas
I would avoid making pasta necklaces and playing doctors with toilet roll bandages! LOL!
One activity that provided an opportunity for critical thinking and deep involvement for an extended period of time was set up by Lou, in Tiggers. She wound selotape over the top of a tuff tray - you could use a deep baking tray - in a criss-cross pattern, then filled the tray with small pom poms - you could use cotton wool balls. The children were given small tongs ... tweezers ... to manoeuvre the pom poms out of the tray through the holes.
Play dough can be made simply with flour, water (half water to flour) and non-toxic paint or food the dough is far more absorbing than the end result. If you have essential oils, you can add them, you can make it gritty, you can collect sticks and stones to add to their creativity if you want to
Cornflour/water is messy but absorbing in that it is a solid when moved suddenly and a liquid when poured or handled gently.
Story telling – all the better when created about the child and evolved through discussion about characters, plot … what happened next?! The children love to record the story on an i pad and play it back.
Loose parts – toddlers love to transport as I’m sure you’ve noticed. A bowl of buttons, cotton reels, out of date pulses or cereal (we all have some, surely!) and a variety of cups and utensils is always a winner.
Make a song sack out of pictures printed and placed in a bag or pillow case. The child picks one out and identifies the song from the picture then you have a rousing chorus of Baa Baa Black Sheep or similar.
These are just a few ideas to start, any parent with tips or strategies to keep your child absorbed and happy is welcome to post as a comment on this page or e-mail them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.