If you and the children are stuck for ideas when the weather is not so great, take a look at these ideas to keep the children entertained and away from the TV and computer!
So Winter is here! We need lots of ideas for activities to keep our little ones busy during the cold snap, I have come up with just a few ideas to keep you and your children busy indoors and out!
Splash in puddles - So it's raining-that doesn't mean you have to stay indoors all day! Put on your wellies and waterproof, grab your brolly and go splashing! Children love a good excuse to get wet and muddy! (just remember to take a towel and dry clothes for afterwards) This will support physical development and knowledge of the world they live in if you talk about where rain comes from and how it helps plants grow etc.
Snowflakes - Decorate the house for Christmas! Using squares or circles of paper, fold them in half and then half again and again so that you have a triangle and then make small cuts at the point and along the edges. Once you have finished the cutting open it up-you have your first snowflake! Make lots and thread onto wool, cotton or string and hang around the house.
Christmas cards - Great fun for those wintery days and people will love the personal touch! You can either buy blank cards and envelopes or make your own from plain card. Use glitter, tin foil, coloured paper, paint, cotton wool, holly leaves, hand painting-anything you can find-be imaginative! Make reindeers, Santa, stockings, snowmen, Christmas trees-the list is endless!
Put on a show! - Most children are performers in one sense or another, so give them the opportunity to perform! They could put on an 'X Factor' show, or 'We've got Talent!', they could act out their favourite story, or make one up. They may want to do a dance, or show you what they have learnt at Kung Fu! Close the curtains, get out the popcorn and perform away! Why not work together to write a story/short play to get everyone to act.
Shaving foam play - A favourite with everyone! Cheap and leaves little or no mess! Either in a paddling pool, on a table or tray squirt some shaving foam. Spread it around, draw patterns, write letters, put it on your hands and clap - snowflakes! The shaving foam will eventually disappear leaving everything clean!
Cornflour and water - Mix together. Great for all ages. You will see that the mixture has two consistencies- it feels almost solid until you pick it up, when it will turn to liquid and slip through your fingers! Add food colouring to change the colour.
Visit your local library - Get the children away from the computer and register them at your local library. Make regular visits, even with babies. Let children choose books and change them regularly - it's free!
Make pizzas - Get in the kitchen with your children-pizzas are just one thing that children love to make! You can make simple pizza's by just using a slice of bread, toasted on one side with tomato puree, cheese, and any other favourite topping on the other side-pop under the grill to melt and then you have individual pizzas! If you want to make bigger pizzas or be more adventurous, buy readymade or make your own pizza base. Why not make pictures with the toppings - faces of each other are great fun-then they get to eat their sibling!!
Homemade playdough - This is so easy to make and children love it! (Recipe) use any colour of food colouring. Store in an airtight container to make it last. Encourages imagination and fine motor skills.
Swimming - If there is a pool local to you, don your swimming costume! This is usually reasonably priced. Being safe in water is so important for all ages - most places will allow you to take the tiniest of babies. So get out there and teach your children how to swim and how to be careful and safe around water.
Indoor treasure hunt - Give the children a list of things to find (for example-a stripy sock, a stamp, a teddy bear, a book about animals-think of things depending on the age of the children), or tell them to find things all beginning with the same letter (maybe the first letter of their name). The winner is either the fastest to find everything on the list, or the one to find the most things with the same letter. For younger children get them to find things that are all the same colour.
Baking - Whilst on your visit to the library pick up a children's recipe book and get baking!
Shakers/Sensory Bottles - Collect empty plastic drinks bottles and their lids, wash them and let them dry. Fill the bottles with anything you have in the house- one with pasta, rice, couscous, buttons, water and glitter etc. Babies and young children love shaking, watching and exploring these free toys! Encourage your older children to help you make them. Superglue the lids on once you have made them.
Pasta jewellery - Every princess needs a tiara, bracelet and necklace and every prince needs a medal! Use tube paper and tread onto string or wool. The children can decorate the pasta first with paint and glitter!
Get Arty! - There are so many things around the home that can be used to make beautiful pieces of art - couscous, lentils, rice, pasta, buttons, beads, tin foil, scraps of material etc.
Hand and feet painting! - Great fun for all ages! Let your imagination run wild - make a handprint sun or tree, a foot print butterfly.
Make hot chocolate! - What are your favourite things to add to make your hot chocolate extra special? I love the ever faithful whipped cream, marshmallows and flake, but I also love putting Malteasers in the bottom too!
If you're lucky enough to get some snow don't think about how it grinds traffic to a standstill - get outside and have a snow fight or build a snowman!
Ria has 2 girls and previously worked in nurseries for over 15 years and left managing a day nursery when her eldest was born. She now works for Raring2go! as our Digital Content and Strategy Manager
If you are interested in writing for Raring2go! or featuring on our site please email Ria.