Nowadays, there are a lot of children born during a lockdown/pandemic. There are also kids who are raised in them. With little ways and opportunity to go outside in fear of being exposed to the virus, parents are coming up with different (and creative) ways to keep their children entertained.
If you’ve been near kids at all, you know that they’re very much hands-on creatures. And they have the attention span of a goldfish.
They like to learn through shoving things in their mouths and never letting anything get past them without so much as a death grip. They’ll play with things for a moment and completely forget about them the next, moving onto a newer target.
So the question here is: how do I keep my ever hypervigilant child entertained?
1. Edible Painting
Let out your child’s artistic side by allowing them to paint to their heart’s content. But any paint you may have lying around your house may be toxic to them because God knows they put everything in their mouths.
So, to make sure your children can enjoy themselves and for you to not worry about paying a visit to the doctor’s in the middle of a pandemic, edible painting is a sure way to help.
All you need are three ingredients: corn flour, warm/hot water and food colouring.
Then all that’s left is to prepare a surface for your kids to paint on so that it won’t make a mess of your living room or wherever you decide to paint at.
2. Messy Play
An essential part for a growing child is their motor function ability. When a baby is born, doctors test their grip to have a sense of whether their motor functions work or not.
Messy play helps children to identify different textures and how they feel when they’re held or shaped. It helps foster exploration and curiosity in kids to figure out what textures are and familiarise themselves with them.
Messy play can be of anything that has different textures. Like flour and water, kinetic sand, etc.
As a babysitter, I often try to incorporate messy play whenever possible. It also helps if parents join in on the fun!
3. Read to them
Believe it or not, kids soak up information like a sponge. They learn super quickly and can mimic and understand what you’re saying at an age so young. So, the best way to broaden their vocabulary is to read to them. My personal recommendations are to read books by authors such as Enid Blyton or Roald Dahl, as they’re very expressive and animated in writing.
I used to grow up on these books and look how I turned out! *shameless self insert*
While reading, make sure you do voices and make faces to make it more entertaining. That’s how my parents used to read to me when I was young.
Another option is to also talk to your child. It also builds up their vocabulary. However, talk to your kids like how you normally talk to people, but with a simpler vocabulary until they manage to understand more complex words.
Exaggerated baby talk like “widdle” or “nyum-nyum” doesn’t really help with a child’s speech development. Slow, exaggerated sounds of words hold the attention of toddlers and also gives them clues on how to decode a sentence.
4. Take a walk (with safety measures, of course)
Since the numbers are on the rise, it is highly encouraged that everyone remain indoors for the time being. But with kids around, it could get overwhelming if you just stay cooped up in your house for that long.
Why not a few times a week, gear up(double mask and visor) and bring your kids on a walk around your nearby park. Or even just around the block.
Show them what’s outside those doors, let them see a little nature once in a while. While on the walk, you can point out different buildings or tell them stories of what you used to get up to when you were playing outside.
Help out kids to appreciate the finer things in life once in a while. After all, a little Vitamin D never hurt anyone.
5. Cook with your toddler
My mum always told me that when I was younger, I always loved helping her cook. She also wished I showed the same energy today.
I don’t know what to say to that, mother.
Letting kids help around the kitchen helps with their motor skills, among other life skills. Of course, you shouldn’t let them around sharp objects per se but just help in cleaning up or help in putting ingredients in a pot would do just as well.
You can also teach your child recycling if you show them where to put the trash once you’ve finished cooking. Children learn through observing you in the kitchen. If you do it often enough, chances are, they’re going to start doing the same.
Being in the kitchen with your child also teaches them to identify flavours and different types of food ingredients that make the meal taste good. They’re more than likely to finish their food if they had a hand at helping make it.
As Long As You Do It Together
Keeping babies and toddlers entertained is hard work. We offer kudos to parents who managed to do so amidst such hard times. You’re doing great!
If you’re an adult baby and looking for ways to entertain yourself in this pandemic, we suggest you give this a try: