Its challenging enough being an adult in this time of isolation but when you are a parent of young children it gets a whole lot harder.
In response we asked some of our parents from the PACT Project to share photos and videos of what they have been doing to keep their babies, toddlers and young children entertained.
Enjoy this incredible mix of ideas help your family beat the boredom!
Before we start
- be kind to yourself in this new world of quarantine, don't pressure yourself to do all the activities but maybe give some a try?
- you know yourself and your children best. Consider what might work for you in your home and bear in mind your child's age and ability
- Its ok to leave the chores for a while each day and just spend time with your children playing, chatting, reading, being creative....as Mena says 'its doesn't have to be perfect but it has to be fun!'
- What matters most is that you are there for your children....your children love you for being you and you love them too!
All the photos and videos are from parents who attend our MumSpace, Espacio Mama and Parent University Groups!
All you need for most of these activities is some paper, glue and paint. These can often be bought from local 99p/pound shops (many are still open) or affordable online shops such as The Works.
A MumSpace parent and her children show you how to do a creative Easter activity and have fun with paint
If you go out for a walk in the park why not collect some pine cones? Great for painting:
Another parent has suggested this simple idea for a homemade puzzle. Get a picture from a magazine and glue it to some cardboard (a cereal box will do). Then cut the picture into as many puzzle pieces as you like!
You can make some maracas using a plastic bottle, rice and food colouring….one of our children from MumSpace shows us how!
Face painting can be a another great activity and its doesn't have to be professional....just enjoy being creative and why not let your children paint your face or arms for fun?
Young babies will love this colourful shaker....just tie some ribbon to a wooden ring (like the kind that are used for curtains) and you are ready! Babies will love the texture of the ribbon and wood and will enjoy the movement as they shake.
Some useful websites with simple, fun creative ideas we have found include:
Why not use a toilet roll to get creative?
Even at home you can do some activities that burn off energy and are great for the physical development of young babies/toddlers.
One of our children from MumSpace loves water play with pots and pans:
And also enjoys exercising to Cosmic Kids Yoga on YouTube especially the farm and space videos!
If you don't want to use a screen there are many brilliant ideas for getting fit and staying healthy on the Change4Life website
Other families have been getting active building dens at home....if you need any tips see Kate's video.
Skipping is a great way for us and our children to burn off energy...can you keep up with this child?
Puzzles are a great way for you to help you child with their coordination and thinking skills.
Younger babies also need stimulation to help in their development and we have found the 10 Simple Sensory Activities a great source of ideas!
Some parents have said that they have been getting their children involved in chores...a great way to help them learn new skills and get active!
And don't forget that a small tube of bubble mixture can create a whole lot of joy and excitement!!
Story, singing and chatter time!
As we are reminded by Kathryn from Parent University we can read books with children from 3 months and its great to try and find a time to do this each day. Even if you are stuck at home with the same books your children will often love the repetition!
Although our Southwark libraries are shut, if you are a library member, you can still get some ebooks online. If you live in Southwark and your child was born after 2016 you may also be able to get a free book delivered to your home each month through the Dolly Parton Imagination Library.
For other fun ideas you could try a story like this online with your children
Or why not have fun chatting about these fun animal noises and learn what a squirrel, hippo and llama sound like!
For very young babies there are some brilliant ideas and videos to help you talk, bond and have fun with your child on the Tiny Happy People website.
There are several fun family recipes on our website from the family food club
Even without cooking you can have fun with your children's snack time
The twins from our Food Club are busy making (and enjoying!) fruit kebabs with their mum
You could also try baking cakes with your children and they will really enjoy the process of mixing, measuring and watching their food cook!
One of our mums recommends this banana bread recipe from Jamie Oliver... a great way to use up ripe bananas!
Pizza making is also a fun activity to try at home and you can make one big one like this family from Espacio Mama or smaller ones with different toppings....enjoy experimenting with what you have in the house!
You could also try growing some tomatoes at home...all you need is some seeds from the middle of a tomato, an egg box and a bit of soil. Its great for our children to see something they have planted grow into a plant and maybe even produce some tomatoes. 1st Place Children Centre Kids Corner show you what you do!
During this COVID-19 pandemic we have been asked to radically change our way of life and cope with a challenging situation by following government advice. We hope these ideas from the PACT community will help:
This amazing song has been created by a family from Friday MumSpace and gives key messages about the COVID situation in a fun and accessible way for our children. See if you can learn it together as a family!
If you are finding it hard to explain what coronavirus is to your children you can use this simple fun presentation that one of our parents has shared with us all:
One of the positive things coming out of this challenging time is that people in our country are pulling together in new ways to help each other, thank our key workers and support the most vulnerable. Whilst its not easy to have the time or energy to do much as a parent these are a some thoughts you could try.
You could get some paint, pens or crayons and draw a lovely 'rainbow of hope' and put it on display in your window! If you go out for fresh air with your children why not go on a 'rainbow hunt' and count how many you can see?
Another simple ideas is that you could make a Thank You card for keyworkers around you such as shopkeepers, bin collectors, estate/street cleaners...if your children help make them they will be even more appreciated!
We really hope you have enjoyed all these ideas and if you have any more please send them via WhatsApp or text to any of the PACT workers.
To find out more about our Parents and Communities Together (PACT) project see our awesome introduction video
From all of us in the PACT Community STAY SAFE and KEEP IN TOUCH!