Play @ Home can provide a range of educational benefits for your toddler or child from problem-solving to creative thinking, communication, and increased confidence.
Here are a few ideas to keep your toddler busy and entertained:
- Draw up a list of jobs, which can include anything from washing up to dusting, folding towels, making an indoor adventure area, cleaning teeth, helping you to prepare props for @ Home classes, and joining in with the rehearsals. Tick off jobs when completed.
- Involve your child in the planning and preparation of props for @ Home programmes. Use a stopwatch or egg timer and set your child on a mission to collect household materials before time runs out!
- Download our free spring and Easter worksheets for colouring, matching, cutting out, counting, and craftwork. If possible, provide thin felt-tips, pencils or crayons for drawing and dot-to-dot to develop muscle control. The various activities may keep your toddler focused while you run @ Home sessions.
- Provide a toy catalogue (or a magazine), a pair of scissors, and glue. Help your child to make a scrapbook. If cutting out is difficult, the pages can be torn out, which is good for building hand muscle strength.
- Shaving foam for sensitive skins squirted on a baking tray can provide a source of entertainment for little fingers. Add a few toy trucks and small world people to encourage imagination.
- Play dough (see our ‘How-to’ video) is one of the best play materials for toddlers who simply can’t sit still, and may be a life-saver when you’re running @ Home sessions. Rolling, kneading, and squashing are excellent for developing fine motor skills, and a few kitchen utensils or scissors will extend all aspects of learning and development.
- Classic games such as connect the dots, hangman, tic-tac-toe, snap, and snakes and ladders are great fun, especially when you join in. Your toddler also knows that you are fun to be with!
- Threading pasta on a string, water play, pirate treasure hidden in a bowl of polenta, matching lids to pots, pouring drinks from jugs to cups, bathing dolls, bendy straws tied together, and role-play or dressing up will keep your toddler busy.
- A tea party with Tod, teddies or soft toys, themed party hats, plates, and balloons will keep your toddler entertained. A few raisons and a pair of tongs will extend the role-play play. Encourage your toddler to wrap the gift and play pass the parcel with party friends.
- A ‘sponsored silence’ might work when you’re filming, but have a good supply of toys, comforters, and healthy snacks and drinks available too.
- Toddlers love helping with everyday chores such as dusting, cleaning, baking, loading the washing machine, setting the table, and sweeping, which encourages them to re-enact real-life events and make sense of the world.
- Toddlers enjoy moving heavy objects to new places. Weight-bearing activities such as lifting and carrying the laundry basket will keep them occupied and increase muscle strength.
- Bubbles never fail to delight toddlers: they could be a life saver when you’re running @ Home classes!
With advance planning and preparation, @ Home play can be very rewarding for you and your toddler, strengthen the bond between you, and build happy memories.
Dr Lin Day (PhD, M. Phil, PGCE, FETC, BSc, Dip Ed)
Founder and director of the multi-award winning national and international baby and toddler activities, Baby Sensory and Toddler Sense, Dr Lin Day, is one of the UK’s leading parenting experts and a renowned author within the field of babies, childcare and education. Lin is also the founder of the Baby Sensory Academy, an online ages and stages programme Hello Baby, which offers observational insight to new and expectant parents with their newborns.
With over 35 years of teaching and practical experience working with babies, parents and children, and driven by the commitment and passion to offer the best quality service, Lin aims to help provide the support and knowledge necessary to lead learning and development forwards from birth to five years. In sharing her knowledge with others, Lin hopes to inspire excitement for early education, and make a difference to future generations.
Prior to running Baby Sensory and Toddler Sense classes, Lin trained as a paediatric nurse, led the first holiday scheme for disadvantaged children, ran her own hugely popular nursery school for fifteen years, and taught and assessed childcare and education courses in the post-sixteen sector.