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  • Writer's pictureSuzy Barrett

7 things to do with a pre-schooler in lockdown

Updated: Jan 23, 2021

If the news of a winter lockdown had you running to the gin cupboard please step away and read on. We are, as the politicians love to say, in this together. Us mums love to share, from toe-curling birth stories to hand-me-down clothes, one of the best things about having mum friends is that we help each other out. If you are suddenly feeling horribly alone and facing yet another lockdown with young children then fear not, I am here to offer some ideas on what you can do to entertain your little darlings when paddling pools and ice-lollies are just not going to cut it because it's January and things are depressing enough already!

1. Get Outside

Buy thermals, gloves, winter clobber galore. Being cooped up in the house all day is going to make you feel worse. Even when it looks miserable outside you are going to feel a lot better if you get out even just for a little while. That feeling of peeling off your wet clothes and wrapping your hands around a hot chocolate cannot be beaten and you will all feel so much better for getting out. If your children are anything like mine they will complain profusely about the cold weather so I am talking thermals, layers, gloves, the full shebang. Yes it will take ages to get all this on and off but surely this will just give you more to do and kill more time.

2. On your marks....get set....Baaake!

Now that you are feeling better about yourselves for getting out, make something warm with sugar and butter in it, You could rustle up some healthy oaty flapjacks that even Jamie Oliver would be proud of, or you could just as easily buy a packet mix from the supermarket. Both are just as delicious and both take up time and entertain the kiddies. Next, put the kettle on (cake is a bit too dry without a cuppa) stick on a cartoon and chill for a few minutes while you scoff your faces.

3. Who let the toys out!? Who who who....

It sounds counter-intuitive to get all the toys out and make a mess, but setting out some inviting activities really helps kids to engage. In teaching we call it 'an invitation to play'. A table with some colouring on, a few puzzles half-done on the floor, a car mat with cars on and a pile of blocks just ready to build with can really get kids involved. If the sound of this makes you cringe at the mess just think, no-one can come to your house anyway so no-one will care! At the end of the day try to get the kids to help to tidy, or just tidy as you go along. We throw all our toys into kallax units at the end of the day. Voila! The mess is gone! Ok, mostly.

4. Car Picnic!

What could be more British than sitting in a car on a rainy day eating sandwiches? Your children might need to be a certain age and/temperament to do this one, but it's fun. Blast some music out that the kids love, pass around the crisps and admire the dark, bleak day knowing that you are actually doing something and it's better then being stuck in the house. Right? Right??

5. Have a toy sort out

A bit like number 3 but more focused. Get all the books off the shelves and go through them all. I don't know if it's just my little boy but in our house we love getting all of 'something' out. If there are books all over the floor then they suddenly become more interesting. If someone mentions the word 'charity shop' then every book becomes the most treasured possession of all time. You can actually have a sort through and the kids might even pick up a book and start looking at it. Unless this just sounds like far too much work, and if so just ignore this one.

6. Theme days (might be better for weekends and special occasions)

Have a pirate day, a circus day, a pretend camping day. Rummage around all those weird bits and bobs that you thought might come in useful one day (making sure to tell your husband that you are, in fact, using said object and it's a good job you didn't throw it away like he said you should). Put on some appropriate music or sound effect on in the background and enjoy. (Disclaimer - you might have to do quite a bit of role-playing in this one.)

7. Movie Day!

Make your own popcorn, grab the cosiest duvets and snuggle up on the sofa watching Frozen for the millionth time. The kids will love it and you can secretly look at your phone under the duvet. You won't feel bad because it's a film and its probably educational and anyway, you made popcorn! Hurrah!

So there you have it, you can put these into a bit of a routine to keep them entertained. I hope this helps, these are the go-to ideas that help me out massively. I hope they work for you! If not, there is still the gin cupboard when the kids are in bed.

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