Some of you might have seen from my insta-stories that I have had a lot of messages recently asking for activities to do with tiny ones. My games are usually aimed at 2-5 year olds as I started them to get my little man ready for school. However, I have a few ideas for littlies as well that I played with my two when they were wee babes so I am going to share them here to hopefully help out you lovely fellow parents that asked.
- POTS, PANS and PASTA…now this is a classic. A lot of you will think – “oh yes we do this all the time” but sometimes we forget or just haven’t thought to do it, so this is the reminder of an oldy but goody. When Flo was crawling and sitting and I wanted a few minutes to prepare dinner, I would sit her in the kitchen with multiple pots, pans, utensils and dried pasta. She would bash, “mix” and transfer them for long enough to allow me to chop some veg! A fab fine motor skill activity.
- PHOTO PUZZLES…If like me you have random photos around the house that you haven’t got around to framing or are spare from printing 100 because you needed to reach the 20% off code, then put them to good use. Chop them up and make them into ‘puzzles’. For very little ones just cut them in half with curved edges and let them put them together and talk about who is in them. As they get better chop them into more and more bits. Kids love to see familiar faces at this age so it’s the perfect way to practice names and lots of language.
- SOFA FORTS AND TUNNELS…Again, a classic but have you tried making a tunnel for your baby to crawl through? Get a sofa cushion and put it between a coffee table and chair or over two chairs. Make a fort at one end. I once made a tunnel around our lounge and got a soft ball they had to push through the maze. Good for gross motor skills. Oh and to extend it, throw a blanket over the top and give them a torch, or if they are very little you hold the torch in the fort and make shapes.
- MESSY PLAY – now not all babies enjoy getting messy but some love it. I have mentioned before about doing messy play with shaving foam but that just isn’t good for little ones who put everything in their mouth. So instead use natural yoghurt! Get a tray and put drops of natural food colouring in it and let them ‘paint’ – if you want to mix up texture pop some frozen peas and sweetcorn in too – paint funny faces with them. Just remember to strip them to their nappy first and have a bowl of bubble bath water and a towel ready nearby!
- HOMEMADE SENSORY TRAY…get a shoe box or a tray and grab the following sort of items; an empty plastic bottle and half fill it with the quinoa you kidded yourself you’d eat when on a health kick, or fill with fairy liquid and water to shake bubbles, a scrubbing or nail brush, some old jewellery, some plastic cups, tin foil and scrunch it into large balls, ribbons and laces, some keys or key rings, loo roll, anything safe – and let them explore. Here’s a picture of one I pulled together in five mins that even Flo and Ewan had a play with.
- BALLOONS…I always keep a packet of balloons in my random crap drawer for boring days or birthdays. Blow up a few and draw funny faces on for your little one. Let them bash it around ands try to catch it. If you want to, get a paper or plastic plate and try hitting the balloon with their ‘bat’.
- HIDE THE TOY… get three cups/buckets/bowls and three small toys. Hide them under each and reveal them to your bubs. Move them around and see if your little one can find them again. After they get bored, extend it by popping the toys on top of the cup and grab a ball and see if you can knock them off by throwing or kicking. Screwed up tinfoil always works in place of a ball if you can’t find one!
- GIFT BAGS AND BOXES…does anyone else keep hold of gift bags and boxes? Well get a few out and fill them with random toys and let your baby go through them all and discover them. This works really well if you put tissue or newspaper in too so it takes them a while to unwrap them. Empty tissue boxes work well too.
- STEPPING STONES…get five cushions or pillows and lay them in a line on your floor. Hold your babies hands or bounce them onto each one counting as you go. Can they get from one sofa to another without the crocodile catching them? Make them into a mini obstacle course with a sofa cushion tunnel – ready, steady, GO!
- PUZZLE HUNT…you know those puzzles where they have to put the pieces in the hole? Hide the pieces around the room, or put them in a pile on the other side of the room. They will have to go and get them and bring them back to do the puzzle – it extends the game and makes it more interactive.
- RECYCLING WATER PLAY…You know all that plastic crap you put in recycling. Tubs, cartons, soap pumps, shampoo bottles. Well dig them out and fill them all with water and put them in the garden. Add a plastic jug or a washing up bowl of water too. Put drops of food colouring in the water to jazz it up if you like. Then let them get wet!
*OK so the eagle eyed amongst you will realise that I’ve written 11 ideas, not five. I promise I can count but once I started writing I remembered the other things I used to do with them at this age so have popped them on too. I know some will seem obvious and sorry if you’ve tried them all before but I hope it might spark some ideas of your own to try, and if so, let me know. Also, apologies for the random photos but I don’t have a baby now to test them out on!