As social activities are cancelled and health officials urge us to practise social distancing when we are out in public spaces, the safest place for you and your children during the coronavirus pandemic, is at home.
So during these times of self-isolation, how do we keep our tiny tots entertained?
It’s easy to rely on screen time to keep your toddler occupied but it’s also important she gets plenty of exercise.
According to the Australian Government Department of Health, children aged one to five should be active for at least three hours, spread throughout the day.
These activities will get you and your little one up and moving.
Encourage your little one to dance and help improve their flexibility.
5 MINUTES OF FUN:
DROP IT & DISCO
Dance is not only fun, it uses the whole body and improves flexibility. Start a game of ‘drop it and disco’, which involves putting on music at intervals throughout the day. When the music is on, you and your toddler – and anyone else in the house – have to start dancing. Whoever gets moving the most quickly or enthusiastically receives a sticker.
15 FABULOUS MINUTES:
CAR WASH WORKOUT
Car washing is really just water play, so small children love it. But bending and crouching to reach different parts of the car encourages their muscle strength and flexibility. Equip her with a sponge and bucket of bubbly water.
To make it work for you, lunge as you head to the car, then skip back and squat when you dunk the sponge in the bucket. Aim to hold in core muscles as you wash.
GOT 30 MINUTES?
TRY ANIMAL YOGA
With your little one, try the cobra pose: lie flat, face-down, on the floor, with palms near armpits. Pressing palms on the floor, raise your upper body off the floor. For the cat pose, get on your hands and knees with palms spread flat, then raise your back up towards the ceiling, letting your head drop. Rebecca Whitford, author of Little Yoga: A Toddler’s First Book of Yoga (available at amazon.com), says yoga is wonderful for children. “It helps them retain their natural flexibility,” she says.
Kids love looking at photos of themselves as babies, as well as old pictures of their immediate family, friends and relatives.
For a simple project, make a butterfly painting. Dab colour thickly on to one side of a page, then fold the sheet in half. The colour will transfer to the other side, giving you a symmetrical picture. Kids find this pretty fun – for a while, at least.
If you have a home or garden that’s good for hide and seek, try a game of ‘monster hide and seek’. In this version of the game, you hide and, when found, you jump out, roar and run after your tiny tot.
Playdough and kids will forever be a fun kids activity.
AN HOUR OF POWER:
An oldie but a goodie!
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup warm water
- 2 tsp cream of tartar
- 1 tsp oil
- 1/4 cup salt
- A few drops of food colouring
Place ingredients in a saucepan and stir over a medium heat until smooth. Remove from pan and knead until blended. After playing, store in fridge.
PLAY THE PICNIC OLYMPICS
Head out to the backyard for lunch alfresco then make the afternoon interesting: point out a finish line, put an inflated balloon between your tot’s knees and encourage her to reach the finish line without dropping it. Or arrange a DIY bowling alley, knocking down plastic bottles with a ball – and join in yourself. These simple activities are fun and can improve a child’s natural physical development.
Drag out some of your old clothes, or your partner’s, including bags, hats and scarves, and let the kids dress up as you. Maybe you even have a junk jewellery box to add to the fun.
MAKE CHORES FUN:
Carmen Dodds, occupational therapist and franchisee of Ready Steady Go Kids, which provides multi-sport exercise programs for littlies, says kids love working towards a goal.
“Cleaning up and doing chores around the house develops a child’s independence, promotes responsibility and increases self-esteem,” she says.
“To make it more energetic and fun, add music and/or a timer to the mix and see how many toys or clothes can be collected before the timer goes off. Or, set up a jar of circus ‘tricks’ by writing chores on coloured ping-pong balls in permanent marker and place them in a jar, allowing your child to choose a ball each time a chore (or trick) needs to be performed.”
THE CLOWN PUSHING HIS CAR
Ask your little one to push a laundry basket or tub around the house from room to room and collect or deliver clean and dirty laundry, or gather toys or shoes to be put away. This gives the gross motor skills a good workout.
THE FAIRY TRAPEZE ARTIST
Suggest your toddler dances around the house like a fairy trapeze artist and gathers up the dust with a feather duster in one hand, and an old damp sock on the other hand. Add a squeeze bottle or spray gun filled with water to wipe bench tops; or use window cleaner and paper towel to clean windows and mirrors. Squeezing spray guns promotes finger and hand strength needed for fine motor skills. Why not water the household plants or vegie patch with a spray gun?
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