Keeping kids entertained when they can’t get outdoors can be a challenge, especially for busy parents who are multitasking during the day. When the weather is too hot or rainy, or when your little ones aren’t feeling well but still need to be engaged, it’s a good idea to have a list of safe, educational activities that they can do both with you and alone. Even for babies, solo play has many benefits, and with the right setup, you can allow your child to have fun while you get things done.
It’s also important to make sure you have everything you need while your kids are engaged in play so you can maximize your time, especially if you work from home. Create a workstation for yourself that allows you to keep an eye on everything, and have healthy snacks and water on hand so you don’t have to interrupt playtime when hunger strikes. You can also make comfort a priority; if you’re currently pregnant or have just had a baby, look for soft, stylish pieces that will take you from one activity to the next. La Belle Bump is a great place to start since you can rent your favorite outfits at a great price.
Here are a few indoor activities you can set up for your little ones when they can’t get outside this summer:
Create an obstacle course
Little ones love a new adventure, especially when it involves boxes and forts. Set up an indoor obstacle course using empty boxes, chairs, blankets, and pillows that your child can move over, around, and under. You can even decorate the cardboard boxes with paint to make them look like rocket ships, cars, or castles, or have your child let their imagination loose with stickers and washable markers. If your child is too little to safely participate alone, consider looking for ways to make your work schedule more flexible so you can help them. You might use your cell phone as your business line and utilize an autoresponder so that customers and clients know when they can reach you; this way, you can free up time during the day and get things done at night, outside of regular business hours.
Bring a little of the outdoors in
When you can’t put off a task until later and need to keep your little ones occupied during the day, consider bringing a little of the outdoors inside by providing access to larger items, such as a wagon, stroller, or oversized building blocks. Set up a safe area for these items and have your child use them in new ways, such as sitting in the wagon to have an indoor picnic lunch or watch a movie. Have them build a city and then “destroy it” as though they’re a giant monster. Let them take their dolls for a ride in the stroller around the house, then use it yourself when the weather is nice. Whichever toys you choose, be sure to read online reviews before purchasing and ensure that they’re non-toxic.
Make it educational
There are many pastimes for all ages that incorporate learning with fun, so when your little one needs a quieter activity, be prepared with arts and crafts supplies, matching or memory games, sensory tools, and maps. Show your child how to work with beads and paint or ask them to find capital cities on the map. You can also have them help you with household chores or let them assist in the kitchen when you’re cooking or baking; these life skills are important teachable moments and are also fun for kids even when they’re very young.
Keeping your kids entertained and working educational activities into their day can be tiring if you’re not prepared, so keep all the supplies you need on hand and create a list of activities and lessons they can work on while you’re busy.
Josh Moore entered the world of fatherhood four years ago with the birth of his son, Wyatt, but he’s on diaper duty once again with the arrival of his second son, Hayden. He created diaperdads.org to not only give credit to all the superhero dads out there, but give them some helpful tips to navigate fatherhood, diapers and all.