Summer in the UK can mean rainy, wet weather while cold wintery conditions in SA mean we are spending less time outdoors than we usually do. Wherever you are in the world when the weather is not too great it can be a battle to think of things to do with your tots indoors. Baby Sense to the rescue! Here are 20 fun and easy activities to try on a rainy day.
1. Bring out door inside
Bring toys you usually have in the garden inside. You may find that they are used in different ways. A paddle pool filled with beanbags or soft toys is different to a paddle pool of water. A skipping rope becomes a bridge or part of a fantasy game.
2. Indoor construction site
Allow your little ones to use pillows and blankets from around the house to build a den/fort. The different size and texture add a whole new dimension to construction as opposed to blocks or Lego.
3. Make a head box
Find a large empty box. Cut off the lid flaps and one side so when you turn it upside down it makes a box that your baby/toddler can lie under and look at objects on the bottom. Cover the inside of the box with black paper and then hang and stick shiny objects onto the box like star stickers, glitter balls, shiny fish shapes, you choose. Your baby can spend ages just looking at everything.
4. Make a sand free sand box
Find an empty trough/tub that your little one can sit in. Put dry pasta/rice at the bottom of it and add in measuring cups, funnels, Tupperware boxes, toy cups and sauces, anything your little ones can explore with their hands.
5. Shaving foam
Shaving foam is great for tactile play. Use one that is fragrance free and for sensitive skin. Spray some into your baby’s hands or put it on his tray in his high chair to explore with his fingers.
6. Pasta / corn flour
On the tray of your baby’s high chair give him left over pasta to play with or put some corn flour and a few drops of water. You can even add a few drops of colouring. Messy but great fun.
7. Toy Bath Time
Use the opportunity to ‘bath’ i.e. clean toys like dolls, dolls clothes, special teddys, Lego, tea sets – anything that could do with a bit of a scrub. Do it where it suits you, in the kitchen sink, in the bath or in a tub.
8. Puzzles, games and cards
Simple puzzles, board games or card games are fun to do if you have the time to play the whole game. Choose something age appropriate and let them win.
9. Movie day
Have a movie day. Rent a DVD, take your duvets off your beds, bring all the pillows and make a comfy spot on your lounge floor. Make popcorn, have drinks handy and snuggle up under the covers to watch a fun and entertaining film.
10. Sort the toys
Use indoor days to sort through your child’s toys. As you take games/toys out to be sorted your children will rediscover old favourites and breathe new life into them. Get them to decide what they want to give away to charity or hand on to other family members.
11. Record sounds
Record everyday sounds around the house (dog barking, doorbell, washing machine) and have your little one guess what they are.
12. Junk modelling and box play
We all know that when our kids get new toys it is often the box they play with the most at first. There is nothing better than an empty box your child can sit in. There are no limits to what that box could be in your child’s imagination. Collect clean boxes you can give your children to build with. Boxes come in different shapes and sizes so they are great for construction, special awareness and exploration.
13. Play with string
Just as a box can be anything your child dreams up so can a piece of string.
14. Art and craft
Collect art and craft materials and keep them aside in a box for indoor play. Paints, pencils, different papers, bits for cutting and sticking, old greeting cards, shiny stickers or sequins and glue. Lovely creative fun.
Baking with your baby/toddler is a lesson in science and it involves all your senses, plus it provides opportunities to introduce different foods and ingredients. Try to cook savoury as well as sweet things and always allow a little extra to taste along the way.
There you have it. 15 great ways to keep older babies and toddlers occupied, but what about my tiny baby you ask? With very little babies – under 6 months – keep things simple and not too busy. Focus on each sense one at a time and keep the focus only for a short time 10-20 minutes max.
Music, whale sounds, white noise or nature sounds will all grab your babies attention. Play music or sounds softly in the background and lie on the floor for a snuggle with your baby. Great bonding time. Try our Womb to World CD
17. Colour and movement
Remember the days of cocktail parties? Paper umbrellas in your drinks and tiny food on wooden sticks. Well ditch the drinks and food and get yourself the little umbrellas and cocktail sticks with fun shiny bits on the end. They are sharp so make sure they are out of reach, but when your baby is calm and alert lie him on a blanket on the floor and hold the umbrella’s and cocktail sticks above their face to look at. Shake and twist them. Move them around for your baby to watch.
One of life’s most special moments is when you get to massage your baby. Doing it after bath time is great, but also try and put aside other times during the week to be able to massage your baby. The deep touch and quiet will keep your baby calm and contented.
19. Texture mat
If you are handy with a needle or know someone who is make a texture mat for your baby to lie. Get a large blanket and find different scraps of material with different textures. No need to buy especially, just whatever you can find, and sew patches of material onto the blanket. Anything from faux fur, sequins or old T-shirt material. Tummy time on this mat will be a great experience.
Give your baby plenty of opportunity to grasp at objects. Reaching out and grabbing build the muscles in their hands and arms, plus the added element of texture and shape makes for good exploration. You can use anything (make sure it is safe though) from soft toys, empty shampoo bottles, large Duplo blocks. As your baby grows encourage him to reach for objects.