Activities to entertain the Under 5’s

We had such an amazing summer that when we started getting rainy days again I was at a loss as to what to do with the toddlers. For months I have just opened the kitchen door and let them out into the garden to amuse themselves and thrown them a few snacks intermittently. But with the arrival of Autumn it was time to pulll out the big guns and think of some fun indoor activities to break up some boring days. For other activites check out my post from last year here – Entertaining toddlers

What’s Missing Memory game

What's missing memory game

Something really easy to start off with. Grab any toys within reach and show then to the kids. Keep it to no more than 6 items so they don’t get too confused. Get them to repeat back what each thing is then cover them with a blanket. Get the kids to shut their eyes and remove one item. See if they can find out what i missing. When the items are covered with a blanket you can also ask them what’s underneath to test their memory. Older kids can play this too you can make it harder by adding more items or removing more than one.

Newspaper golf

Newspaper golf

Most people will have an old newspaper or something lying about that they can roll into a long stick and cellotape together. This requires the very least of your art attack skills, but believe me it gets you at least half an hours peace! Bend the end of your newspaper stick over to make a club shape and make one for each child. Grab a soft ball – ball pool balls are best as they won’t break anything (at a push scrunch up some more newspaper and cellotape it into a ball shape – cheap as the proverbial chip!) You can either get mugs from the kicthen and place them about and get the kids to try and putt the ball into them or else just let them bat the ball from one end of the room to the other. If you have more than one child the gold clubs will soon be turned int swords but being made of paper they don’t do much damage!

Sports Day

Sports day

This is one of the kids favourite things to do. Most afternoons I would love them to curl up on the couch and watch a movie, mainly so that I can have a hot cuppa or attempt 10min shut eye! But sometimes you want them to have a break from the TV. Sports Day only really gets pulled out the bag when I need them to burn off some energy and we can’t get outside. Egg and spoon race, relay, three legged race, beanbag toss, mini assault course, races. The world (depending on your energy levels) is your oyster! Having a three legged race just me and my son using one of my scarfs, I have never seen him laugh so much in ages. He talked about it for the rest of the week and wanted one every afternoon – maybe it wasnt such a good idea!  If you want to go all out you could have little prizes or a scoreboard. You can adapt to suit the space you have and equipment nearby.

Car drawing

Car drawing

My daughter would sit at the table happily drawing for ages. My son gets bored after 5 minutes! So I cellotaped two felt tips to one of his favourite cars and bingo! A new love for drawing. You could just do one colour and have a few different cars or do like I have above and it looks like it’s making tracks. Really simple and gives them something new to do.

Masking tape roads

Masking tape roads

So, all of my activities are things that you can do with items around the house, making them free activities. This may require you to buy some masking tape if it’s not something you keep around. It is a great investment and a brilliant one to stick in your holiday bag too. Caravan or hotel room you can whip up a race track wherever you are and it keeps them entertained. Toy cars are something that has always held my sons attention and we had lots of different race tracks but bits always got lost or it was a hassle to set them up. So I started to tape out little tracks and it’s now become a regular thing. My daugher likes little boxes taped out that she pretends is a zoo for her animals with fields and roads for her My Little Ponies – gender stereotyping at its best eh?! But it is what it is and they like what they like!

Sink or float

Sink or float

Definitely better done outside then they can make a bit of a mess! But easily enough done with a large bowl in the kitchen or in the bath. Just pick a few items and ask the kids if they think they will sink or float. Eggs, bananas, apples, toy dinosaurs and stones are all good ideas to use. If you are extra crafty you could even whip up a paper boat to float then get the kids to add small stones one at a time until it sinks. They have lots of fun.

Washing Basket Fishing

Washing basket fishing

A personal favourite of mine this was dreamt up after trying unsuccessfully to keep the kids out of the washing baskets when I was doing the laundry. Get them an empty washing basket and give them some tongs or kitchen spatula – it’s amazing what you can find to do with stuff round the house! Either put out some toys and let them ‘fish’ or else put out coloured bricks and ask them to catch different colours. A great learning tool and we have been using it to teach counting. Asking them to catch two blue and one red then getting them to add them up. The kids are mostly quite happy just to use their imaginations and play away at boats for hours!

Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger Hunt

One we used quite a lot over the summer was a scavenger hunt. Armed with a picture list and a pencil we would go off on lovely walks. But this is easily transferable to an indoor activity. Replacing outdoor items for things around your own home. The kids also love a treasure map. I make up pirate maps with an X marks the spot and give them to the kids, then I shout out instructions pretending the carpet is a river and the couch is a forest they have to get to the treasure. A pack of chocolate coins is the best investment and hiding a few behind cushions make for a frantic search (and leave you enough time to grab a cuppa and snaffle the left of the chocolate stash in the kitchen!)

So what do you think? Some nice easy ideas that don’t stretch the imagination too much and are free. But give the kids a bit of a break from the tv and make for lots of laughs.

For my favourite outdoor activities even in the winter check out Great places to take the kids and what they can learn from being outdoors

Let me know what you think.

Pam xxx

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