Yesterday I decided to experiment by spending a whole day in with my toddler to see how well I could entertain her using toys, puzzles, artwork and books without either of us having a meltdown.
With chicken pox doing the rounds at nursery, this was perhaps more than just a subconscious decision based on the fear that if I am going to be housebound for more than one day at a time that we will get through it with some quality time together (and no more than 30 minutes of TV!).
On this occasion, it was mainly the Siberian weather and a slight cold putting me off from going outdoors for the whole day or mixing with noisy kids at a local soft play centre. Here’s how it went…
Being creative in small places
Our current home is a little on the ‘cosy’ side, but that’s not to say that I haven’t been able to find innovative ways to entertain using the space that we have or making the most of local facilities.
With a very young baby I found that some of the best toys around were based on the simplest things. With this in mind we would spend lots of time at sensory rooms provided by my local authority.
So why not bring the sensory experience to your own home? Sensory toys are fantastic for children who have sight or hearing impairments or other physical or learning disabilities, but they can also benefit any child growing up.
Even if you don’t own specific sensory equipment there’s plenty of other ways you can liven your little ones up – from drawing and painting, to moulding Play-Doh animals and objects, creating Mega Blok, Playmobil or Lego constructions ,or doing jigsaw puzzles.
Playroom wish list
Keeping me going throughout the day was the thought that we do in fact have a house move imminent, meaning more space for play. The grand plan is to create a dedicated playroom featuring lots of calming and interactive sensory equipment to offer opportunities for the little one to be creative and more involved in role-play.
Play mat – when your little one starts to sit up unaided, a whole new world opens up. We went for the Sensory Number Play Mat from Soft Floor Kids UK, which has been amazing and now at the age of 21 months is still proving useful. We take out all of the shapes and we then work out how to put them all back in. It’s also a good educational tool as your child starts to recognise colours, numbers and shapes.
Another nicely contained creative play kit is the fun Artzooka wooden spoon puppets. Using small paints and stickers, kids can make up to six different characters to play with or keep on display.
A den/play tent – if you are a bit short on space you can create their own little world. Fill a tent with cushions and their favourite cuddly toys or if you can handle finding balls in random places, you could also turn it into a ball pit. Argos sells The Chad Valley Pop Up Play Tent for just £10 or you can buy the Sensory Dome from the ELC.
Of course you can always get a better offer on all these lovely items on www.flubit.com 😉