These past few weeks have been a roller-coaster of emotions and a never-ending stream of news headlines, to say the least! Amidst the mad scrambles for surgical face masks, hand sanitisers and disinfecting supplies, and (for those who work) getting into the swing of our respective companies’ Business Continuity Plans, many of us parents are also scratching our heads on how to meaningfully engage the kids.
The usual solutions, like indoor playgrounds, the pool or the shopping mall, now spark more fear than joy in our hearts, as we worry about our children easily picking up germs and virus in such public spaces.
We try to stay home more, but the inevitable “Mummy/Daddy, I’m bored…” is bound to reverberate within those four walls at some point or other.
Fret not, dear parents. Here are six fun and fairly inexpensive ways to keep your young ones meaningfully occupied at home during this period – aside from homework, tuition and the like of course! Who said staying home has to be “boring”?
1. Sensory Play
To us adults, sensory play kind of activities can sometimes seem purposeless or just a big mess, but our children often see it quite differently.
Photo credit: Busy Toddler
⇒ Related Read: DIY: How To Make Sensory Bins For Toddlers
Sensory play bins can be used to reinforce learning or simply as an avenue for free play. You can have individual portions for each child, or encourage them to play together and take turns.
Check out the links above for some groovy ideas to get you started.
2. Water Play
No more trips to the water park or the swimming pool? That’s ok – water play can be done at home too! With our hot and humid weather, having some splashy fun is definitely a great way to cool down.
Besides playing in the toilet, which was going to get wet sooner or later anyway, you can explore water play on the balcony, if you have one of those homes which allow for easy drainage. You can also take your water play outside just along the corridor if your neighbours don’t mind you getting the floor a little bit wet.
Make homemade water bombs to aim at a target and chalk up points for the number of bullseye hits – water guns (Check out this Pinkfong water gun at Shopee) and a bucket of water will do the trick too.
Pinkfong baby shark water gun: Shopee
Fill a bucket or bathtub with water and drop various items in it to be fished out with a hook or net. “Draw” with water on the concrete floor of your HDB corridor and watch your drawings vanish into thin air!
⇒ Related Read: 5 Fun Water Play Activities You Can Do At Home
3. Board Games
Blokus Cards Board Game: Shopee
You might associate board games as an activity for older kids and teens, but did you know that there are many suitable board games for very young children as well? Blokus, Uno, Jenga, Twister and Katamino are great for children even before they can read, and are great to promote family bonding!
4. Create Art
Now we’ve certainly got nothing against the many excellent art studios out there but there is really no need to have a structured “class” for your little ones to enjoy some art-making at home.
Take the opportunity to introduce them to something new, and don’t worry about creating that perfect piece of instagrammable art. Instead, allow them to explore the new medium for themselves and see what they come up with!
Colour pencils, watercolour paint and crayons are probably nothing very new to your kids. So how about giving them new ways to use these mediums? For example, try some of these colour pencil craft ideas, introduce them to blow-painting using straws, or create some scratch art with oil pastels or crayons.
Photo credit: Artful Parent
5. Workout Videos
Get fit as a family from the comfort of home with a vast menu of home workout videos to choose from! Choose from pilates, yoga, aerobics, Zumba, hip hop or K-pop, just to name a few. Besides burning calories and working up a good sweat, exercising together is definitely way more fun than working out on your own, and is a good way to role-model a healthy lifestyle to your children.
Here are some fun videos to get you started! You can also search for more ideas on YouTube or Netflix.
6. Reuse & Recycle
With all the home deliveries that many of us are turning to during this season, your collection of cardboard cartons and boxes, milk bottles and egg trays, are probably going to go up!
Instead of throwing them out as trash or bringing them straight to the neighbourhood recycling bin (which, if you do, good on ya!), why not take on the challenge of crafting something extravagant and out of the norm for your family?
The reason why we suggest working on something that’s more challenging for a change is that this means that the project would require all hands on deck, so it’s a good opportunity for parents and children to learn to work together. The more the merrier, right?
Or get heaps of ideas for simpler upcycled projects here.
By Dorothea Chow.
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