With quarantine extending into our everyday lives, I am sure you are running out of ideas to keep your toddlers and preschoolers busy. Here are some ideas beyond art and craft activities that you can try with your little ones.
- Teach a Second Language: If you are bilingual, this is the best time you can use to teach your toddler the second language. English is not our first language and my son picked it up at the daycare. But, I take the benefit of being home and speak to him in my mother tongue i.e. Gujarati language. He is learning to speak and relate the words and meanings both in English and Gujarati. Trying to keep him closer to the roots. Toddlers are great at learning languages and you may find singing songs in your language can also do the trick!
- Know Your Power: This is by far my son’s favorite reading and learning activity. I use affirmation cards from Love Powered Co. and practice these with my son each night. He picks a card listing his power and we talk about the power, how he uses them, and give him examples so he understands it well. Some power cards we have read so far include – my power is love, curiosity, empathy, and confidence.
- Plantation/Home Gardening: Make your child plant his own plant. He may plant beans or flowers or any other plant of his choice. I use moong beans (green beans). They grow quickly and come out really nice. This activity can create excitement in your child about what happens next. Also, makes them responsible to watch after this plant, includes watering it every day. It is a fun activity to plant together and watch the plant grow. I am a big fan of organic gardening and my son helps me monitor those.
- Exercise: Keeping healthy while staying home during quarantine is very important. Encourage your child to exercise daily. My son loves watching and doing these kids’ daily exercises. Join him for the workout and you might lose a pound or two! If safe and the weather permits, you may bring your toddler outside for a bike ride or a nice walk around the neighborhood. Be sure to wear all the protective gear such as helmet and knee and ankle pads before biking.
- Meditation: Meditation is a heavy term, but it is great to help your child soothe or settle down. My son loves to listen to the soothing music and chant “OM/AUM”. He sits on his yoga mat, closes his eyes, and repeats “OM/AUM”. These are challenging times and being homebound doesn’t ease the anxiety of what is happening around the world. Spare five (5) minutes for meditation each day to relax and feel refreshed with your toddler.
- Singing and Dance Session: Music and toddlers are the best combinations in any given scenario. Play some rhymes or Bollywood songs and get singing and dancing with your toddler! Make some noise and move your body to the tunes!
- Movie Night: In the pre-historic times (before quarantine), it was always hard for me to get my toddler to sit through the movie at Cineplex. I gave up movie-going to avoid the frustration of not being able to watch the full movie because I was babysitting him in the theatre. I like the idea of a movie night at home. We have a family movie night time set aside for Friday nights. My toddler gets to watch the full movie with us at home on the couch. We top it up with popcorn and drinks to feel the theatre experience. He gets to pick a movie (usually watch an animation movie or child-centered movies) and we all watch together. It is great to bond with your family this way. My hubby and I enjoy Saturday nights with movies of our choice while our toddler is fast asleep!
- Play Time with Pets: If you have pets at home, allow your child to spend some time with them. I have birds at home and my son loves playing with them. They get flying time every day and my son sit beside them and talks to them. Checks on their food and water and gives them their toys to play.
- Helping with Chores: Great way to keep your toddler busy if none of the above work, is to involve them in household chores. Toddlers always want to do what we do, and so this is a great way to get some help and keep them busy. You may ask them to clean up their toys, put the dirty clothes in the laundry bins, set-up tables for dinner, fold the laundry, etc.
- Introduce Religious Beliefs: This is a personal choice and more so your belief. If you wish, you may introduce your child to your religious practices including ways of worship, scriptures, verses, etc. I introduced our Hindu prayers and verses known as shlokas to my son very early. He is now reciting a few all by himself!
For more activities to keep the little hands busy be sure check out my blogs: