How to entertain a toddler at home (without going crazy)

21st April 2020

For people working from home with young children, the lockdown has presented a new challenge. Namely, how to keep the little ones in your life amused all day. Farmdrop’s CRM Manager, Flora Mckenzie, offers up some tips to make it easier to manage play time with a toddler.

As we come out of Easter and look to the future one thing is certain: no-one can keep up with a toddler!  Since taking care of my son all day, everyday I have a new found respect for the nursery staff that always have a cheery smile on their face at the end of the day.  

My partner is a key worker so I stepped in as ‘carer-in-charge’ of our 18 month old when lock-down began. The prospect of days trapped in the house was intimidating but thanks to a few ideas from friends and family, plus a bit of ingenuity, we’ve been able to enjoy ourselves and still have a bit of energy at the end of it all. Here are some of the things we did to stave off the cabin fever, which you might find helpful too.  

Make your own play-dough.

I didn’t realise it was so easy to make! We had fun rolling it, squishing it and even made a playdough shoe which our little one clomped around in. Stores in the fridge and is still good after 2 weeks.

I used this BBC recipe but there are lots our there to choose from.  

Have fun with water.

This one requires a willingness to be ready with a change of clothes or to wear wet weather gear. Lots of options though! You can: 

  • Fill a tray with water and splash about in the kitchen or outside.
  • Grab a paintbrush and bucket, and paint the outside of the house with water.
  • Have a bath in the daytime (this one seemed silly at first but it was a great change of routine for both of us).
  • Give your kid a spray bottle with water and have them help “clean” the house.
  • Break out the paddling pool while the sun is out. 

Build a Fort.

This one was a little inspiration from the show Community. We disassembled our sofa and used the pillows to make a killer fort out of the cushions. The bigger the better! It makes everything else you normally do seem even more fun.

Get Creative.

Now is the perfect opportunity to use up things around the house in your play.  We made a pair of binoculars out of old toilet rolls but anything goes.

It’s also great to stay in touch we people you love and are missing.  We created cards for the grandparents which went down very well. Stickers, bits of felt, pom-poms, glitter – try anything and everything! 

This is just a snapshot but we also had fun with a load of other things:

  • Grab the pencils and paper and draw yourself, the pets and anything else you can think of.
  • Make stuff with those cereal boxes you normally throw out.
  • Make rice and pasta shakers out of bottles or pots.
  • Bury things in sand/flour.
  • Freeze buttons in ice cube trays for a bit of sensory play.
  • Indoor bowling using old kitchen rolls or towers of blocks.

I hope this helps to maintain some sanity with my fellow parents out there!

Good luck and stay safe.

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