Unexpectedly, everyday life and routines have changed. Due to almost worldwide quarantine, the majority of people have to stay home. While lots of people who have been forced to stay home without work are browsing the web and looking for ideas of movies, series, online courses, and many more quarantine activities, parents of toddlers and preschoolers are frightened of the upcoming month or even more.
The greatest problem of quarantine is the impossibility to arrange outdoor activities for your full-of-energy toddler. Families living in private houses are not as restricted as those in apartments. If you belong to the second group, have no worries. We have prepared for you a big list of indoor activities for toddlers and preschoolers. For your convenience, we will categorize them according to the age and the energy your child will spend on them.
Before getting to the matter, here are a few more tips on how to arrange healthy and useful routines with your baby while staying all days long at home:
- Remember about the schedule. If you have had a certain time to wake up and nap in the daytime, stick to this schedule. The temptation to sleep longer in the morning is huge especially if don’t have to go to work. However, the quarantine will be over and will require great efforts to make your child and you get used to the schedule again.
- Active pastime should be planned for the morning time. If you play too loud games in the evening, you risk that your child will become overexcited leading to problems with falling asleep. This will ensure that you will have a cozy evening with your partner instead of dealing with a toddler not wishing to go to bed.
- Let yourself sometimes relax and switch on cartoons. Probably, this is not the healthiest piece of advice, though, your mental health should be on the top of priorities. If you are exhausted, get yourself half an hour of chill time. Make sure that your baby watches approved content and remember about the time. Too much screen time should be avoided. This should become the savior in the hardest times, not an everyday routine.
- Keep the air in your apartment fresh and humid. This is not only good for the health of all the family members but also simulates your active toddler to move more spending energy. Thus, you won’t face the problem of troubled night sleep.
Activities at Home With Younger Children During Quarantine
When you are forced not to leave your apartment, try using this time with maximum efficiency. This is what HR specialists and psychologists keep telling people. Well, the same approach can be applied to activity ideas to spend time with your kids. First of all, you can think of what you have long wanted to learn or do with your baby. This may become a great plan for a couple of days. When your ideas are over, have no worries. The list of suggestions is coming. Let us start with infants as it seems their parents are most concerned with the quarantine situation.
Best Indoor Activities for Infants
We know that you are still used to spending an hour on the playground, and your baby is ready to fall asleep in the stroller. This is the perfect time to enjoy pastime outside. However, the quarantine has changed everything. That is why it is necessary to find how to interest, as well as tire your infant at home. Your baby should have a nap time according to the schedule you have previously had. That is why make sure that in the morning, you have planned active pastime for your infant:
1. Crawl and Run Around the Flat
This is one of the most surefire free activities for kids that will let your baby spend energy. However, it is important to be sure that you will not create discomfort for your neighbors. It is worth calling them and asking what are their quarantine plans so that not to deal with their complaints laters. You may also discuss the timeframes when you can make some noise with your baby.
2. Make Noise with Household Objects
There is still so much for your baby to discover. You may interest your curious infant with the sounds produced by things around you. The kitchen is full of pans, spatulas, and other interesting noisy items. Give some freedom to your baby. Make sure you won’t have problems with neighbors (please check #1). Besides, having the possibility to interest your baby in the kitchen will spare you some time for cooking. Just make sure that the things are not dangerous.
3. Go out to the Balcony
Having no possibility to go out does not mean that there are absolutely no ways out. Dress your baby according to the outside temperature and go to the balcony. If your apartment has no balcony, open windows and let fresh air in. First of all, the lungs of your baby, just like yours, need to be purified. Breathing fresh chilly air is the best prevention of disorders related to respiratory organs. Also, on sunny days, try catching the time when sun rays are aimed at your windows. The lack of vitamin D due to home-staying times may lead to serious problems. If there is no such possibility, consult with your pediatrician.
4. Look out of the Window
Spending some time with an open balcony or window, making sure that’s safe, observe birds, trees, plants, and anything you see around. No matter where you live, you will definitely find something that will catch the attention of your curious baby.
5. Time to Check the Toys
This is a great possibility to open all the boxes and drawers with toys and throw them all on the floor. Your child may not be playing with some of them. While you are sorting the toys, your child will enjoy this mess around. Besides, you can hide some of them for a couple of weeks and take them out later. While others can be hidden. With such a rotation, your child won’t be so bored with these piles of toys that are so customarily.
6. Sing Favorite Nursery Rhymes and Songs
It is time to have a small party with your baby. Switch on the favorite rhymes or songs of your little family member and sing together. If your child has no beloved songs, it is time to discover one. More and more resources open free access to their channels, broadcasts, and collections to help people overcome their quarantine times. Make use of this possibility. Besides, such activities at home will contribute to the development of your baby’s speaking skills.
7. Make Toys of Household Items
Have you noticed that your child is more interested in what you are doing with all those cartons and boxes instead of playing with own toys? You can see how developed the imagination of your little one is. Wash milk and juice cartons, find some boxes, empty bottles, anything that is safe for your infant. Show what can be built of empty boxes or find objects to be put from one object to another. Give some freedom to your baby. Remember, the change in schedule and routines is also stressful.
Above are the suggestions of activities kids can spend energy doing. Logically, the older your baby is, the easier it will be to entertain and motivate him/her to do something specific. Here are some ideas of how you can actively spend time with toddlers and preschoolers.
8. Play Hide & Seek
This is a fun game most of the children are fond of. While playing it, you will have the possibility to gather toys from the floor, start the washing machine, etc. In such a way, you will not only keep your toddler actively busy but will also do some chores in the process. This is a win-win idea even for small-space apartments. Besides, this activity helps your child develop imagination and creativity.
9. Ask Your Toddler to Help with Chores
After your baby gets tired of hiding, ask him/her to help you with something. For example, your baby can dust some surfaces, collect own toys, wash plastic dishes, etc. The task you assign to your child should depend on how careful your baby is, as well as on how much you are used to such assistance. If you are in the kitchen, you may ask your baby to wash vegetables and fruit.
10. Include Educational Aspect in Every Process
It seems that you are going to be bored at home. However, the truth is that the amount of chores becomes even more as you spend more time inside. No matter what you are doing, you can calculate objects around with your child. Name the form and color of every item you put in the wardrobe or to the washing machine, etc. With such an approach, you won’t even notice when your child will already know the colors and forms of objects around.
11. Cook Together
You may not only interest your baby with some objects in the kitchen but also involve your little assistant in the process of cooking. Bake cookies together. Your baby will love playing with flavor and making cute forms of the dough. Your baby can also assist you with other cooking routines: let him or her mix ingredients together, break boiled eggs, etc. Do not be afraid of the mess around. You already know who can help you out with cleaning.
If your baby is still used to try every interesting item with the mouth, be sure that every product you give is healthy. Needless to mention that knives and other sharp items should not be left on the table near your baby, while you should be extremely attentive while the gas stove and oven are on. Probably, the kitchen is not one of the best indoor places for toddlers, however, while staying home on quarantine, what can be better than combining fun and useful activities?
12. Build a Fort or Kids’ House Together
Do you remember your childhood when there were no wigwams? You used to build a fort or your own small house with the items around. Make use of chairs, blankets, sheets, and pillows. Build a secret shelter and play with your baby inside. You may take a flashlight with you, some toys and books. Any mundane routine in such a house will be perceived differently and with interest. Let your child think of what the next building will be, probably, a castle or a spaceship. Give freedom to imagination and creativity.
13. Blow Bubbles and Have Fun
Children adore soapy bubbles. If you have no bubbles at home, there is a simple recipe:
- 6 cups of water (the water from the tap is fine);
- 1/2 cup of any dish detergent, it is better to use “ultra-concentrated”;
- 1/2 cup of corn starch;
- 1 tablespoon of baking powder;
- 1 tablespoon of Glycerine.
If you have never prepared one, there are even video tutorials on the web to help you out. The above recipe is for big bubbles but the size depends on what you use to make them. Be creative, while your baby will adore the process of preparation, as well as will have a great time with these bubbles.
Educational and Creative Activity Ideas for Spending Time at Home
While there are certain restrictions to arrange active pastime for children in an apartment, there are no boundaries to creative tasks, projects, and indoor crafts for kids of any age. After the afternoon nap and snack, it is time for calm but not less joyful activities. We will continue the list in the same manner, starting from the ideas for infants.
Evening Educational Activities for Younger Kids
We recommend you to focus on more active pastimes in the morning. Though we don’t know your baby better than you. If your child is unable to concentrate in the evening, educational activities will bring no results. Of course, you are free to choose the best timing for any idea we are suggesting to you. So, here are more ideas for you to stay home with your baby and not to get bored.
Depending on the age and on what your child can already do, choose what exactly you are going to draw and with what. For the youngest, there are finger paints. Lifehack from other parents. You may put your baby in the bathtub and give a set of finger paints. In such a way, there will be no need to worry about the furniture around your child armed with paints. Your baby will be able to show all the creativity, while it will take you just a couple of minutes to clean after.
You may also take pencils, fiber-tip pens, usual paints and brushes, chalk, etc. The list is really long. Aside from drawing on paper, you may get the board for chalk or felt-tip pen. This board will be useful later when you teach your baby letters and reading. If you are not so creative, there are special sets of everything your baby will need for creative drawing. Browse the web and get such sets delivered to your doorstep.
14. Make the Display of Your Child’s Art
After you have given the freedom to your imagination, place the pieces of art in the place that are noticeable in your apartment. This will be a great motivation for your baby. First of all, your child will know that you like not only spending time together but also the result you get. You can stick paints to the fridge with magnets or hang a special board for this.
15. Create a Scrapbook for the Art of Your Baby
After quarantine, you will return to regular routines. Your baby will keep attending kindergarten or special lessons and will bring new paintings and other crafts. Now, you have a great chance to create a scrapbook to store all these pieces of art. This is going to be your great future memory. Take a notebook or folder where you will keep everything your baby creates. Remember to write the age. In a couple of years, it is going to be hard to remember.
16. Sort Objects
No matter what you choose. For example, take all the toys out of boxes and drawers and sort them according to shape, size, color, etc. You may also divide them into thematic groups, let’s say, cars, animals, dolls. In the process, you may also describe everything these toys are composed of. Learn the parts of the animals’ bodies, the components of cars, etc.
You may have special sorting toys, however, if there is no, do not rush ordering one. You can cut different objects from cardboard and sort them according to the rules you create. One of the free activity ideas is to create a shape box where your baby will have to sort objects according to their shapes. In the process of learning shapes, remember to explain the peculiar features of every figure, as well as to mention colors.
Some Activity Ideas for Toddlers
The interests of children are different. It is not so easy to divide activities by age, though, we have tried. Below, we continue the list of suggestions of what to do during quarantine with benefits for the development and education for your baby older than three years. However, if your child is younger, you may still try something from the below list.
17. Read Favorite Books Together
Younger children adore looking at bright pictures in the books. Toddlers are already interested in listening to fairy-tales. Contingent on the age of your baby, choose books and let this be your evening ritual. If it is already habitual for you, it is even better. You already know what your baby will love reading. Probably, this is time to get some new books for your baby to keep him/her interested. If your baby is ready for discussions, you may not only read but also initiate a conversation based on the story you have just read. Such an activity will help your baby learn to talk while you will get the chance to teach certain rules of behavior.
18. Cinderella Activities
To develop fine motor skills, as well as to spend at least 30 minutes doing one activity, you can place several plates with, let’s say, rice, buckwheat, and pasta. Mix several pinches of every product together and ask your baby to sort them. Of course, such an activity requires attention and the ability to sit for a while. If your toddler is too active, and this is not one of the indoor things you are used to doing, it can be an idea to teach your baby how to concentrate on something for a longer time. Set a timer for 5 or 10 minutes and promise something nice in reward for completing the task. Gradually increase this time to, let’s say, 20 minutes. This is going to be a great result for a too active toddler.
19. Letters & Numbers
Contingent on what your baby already knows and can master, you can learn letters and numbers. First, check all the books. There, you will for sure find sections with letters and numbers you can use for learning. Besides, you can also order a couple of posters to be placed on the wall. Spending not more than 15 minutes per day on learning letters, your baby will now all the alphabet by the end of quarantine.
Add the creative approach to the process of learning. When you draw — write some letters and numbers to repeat what was learned yesterday. While coloring — draw the contours of letters and numbers. This is not just an idea of pastime with your child, this is the contribution to the future preschool preparation.
Lots of toddlers, as well as adults, like puzzles. We are sure you have got some boxes on the shelves. Toddlers will not only develop attentiveness but also fine motor skills. If you have none, it is not so hard to make it on one’s own. Take a picture, glue to the cardboard, and cut. If you see that your baby is interested, order some puzzles. These are quite pocket-friendly ideas to spend time with benefits.
21. Share Family Stories
This can be a possible evening family pastime spent with a preschooler. However, if your toddler is grown-up and attentive enough, try involving your baby in such cozy evenings together. This can become a new ritual before going to bed. Take cups with warm milk or any other drink you prefer, have a seat and tell stories to your child. You may remember something about grandparents or histories from your past.
22. Create New Stories Together
Another possibility is the collective creation of stories and fairy-tales. Suggest your child tell his or her favorite story from books and try to create the continuation of the story. This is a great exercise for the brain, memory, and creativity. The last two ideas are for older toddlers or even preschoolers, however, you may be surprised with what your baby can if you try something for the first time. Even if you have never before done anything like this, give it a shot. What if this activity will impact the future of your baby?
23. Learn the World Together
As now there are temporary restrictions to travel, you can still teach your baby, as well as learn something new yourself. Find a poster with the world map or take the globe you have got and start learning the continents, oceans, seas, and countries with your baby. This process can be backed up with the stories of places you have already been. Show the pictures of your baby in some places. You may also order a special map for children. It is brighter than a regular one and has nice pictures with the most outstanding objects (for example, a panda is in China, while a kangaroo is in Australia, etc.) of a certain region.
If you manage to catch the interest of your baby in learning countries of the world, you may find some educational shows related to traveling and discovering the world. Online broadcasts and tours will also help you out. Let this education at home be interactive for you and your baby alike.
Indoor Crafts for Kids of Preschool Age
When your child is around five years old, it is not so hard for parents to stay home with them. Most probably, your child is already not so active and will not yell and run over the apartment all day long. Besides, children of this age are more prone to spending some time on their own. On the other hand, however, they become shrewd and may try manipulating parents to watch their favorite cartoons and play favorite games on a tablet. That is why it is important to select fun indoor crafts and activities that will interest a preschooler and educate at the same time, as well as help parents control the time spent in front of screens.
Difference in Approach to a Preschooler
To identify if you can do something of the below suggestions with your baby, the most important is not the age but the ability to concentrate for a longer time, stay calm and be focused on a certain activity. So, if your 4-year-old toddler can be concentrated for longer than 5 minutes, go ahead and try the below ideas.
24. Experiment with Clay, Kinetic Sand, Modeling Dough
No matter which material you choose, the main idea is to develop fine motor skills and creativity. You may start with simple balls and forms. Later, you can try making some animals or model different objects. You may find step-by-step guides on how to make a monkey, tiger, elephant or any other favorite animal on the Internet. You won’t even notice how you spend at least an hour in the process. In the process, repeat what you have previously learned: colors, shapes, objects, etc.
25. Learn How to Draw Shapes
You may take a paper or a board with chalk and show how to draw different shapes. Then, you may together paint them in different colors or decorate with glitter, stickers, etc. Set free all the creativity of your child. Ask if there is something he/she would like to add.
It is also a useful exercise to discuss the objects around and identify the shapes of which they are composed. For instance, a house is made of square or rectangular walls, doors, and windows, a triangle roof, etc. In this way, you may also teach your child how to draw simple pictures.
26. Activities with Scissors
If you can trust your child with a pair of scissors, you may cut papers in different shapes and make diverse collages. As an idea, you can make cards for your relatives and send them via post to support in such a hard period. It is time to cut some pieces of flowers to make a card for a grandmother. Remember everything your baby used to bring you from kindergarten. Your mom and mother-in-law will be touched by this gesture.
27. Play Board and Card Games
If your child is creative enough, can count well, you may try the games that are now in the huge abundance. Try games with tokens and dice. The variations nowadays are impressive. You can order some games on the Internet, they won’t cost too much. If you are searching for printable toddler activities, you can find a picture of any game on the web and print it yourself. Or you can draw the game together with your child. In such a way, you will not only cut and draw different objects and shapes but will also get a nice DIY table game for the whole family.
28. Make Faces of Animals and Play Role Games
This can be some random animals you paint and cut in the form of facial masks. Alternatively, you can play the favorite cartoon of your child. Print or draw the faces, attach them, and play. The plot can as well be from a cartoon or whatever you want. This is a game giving complete freedom to your imagination. Set no boundaries, let your child have fun.
29. Quest in Search of Treasure
Does your child know who pirates are? This is time to tell their story and get ready for an adventurous trip to find treasures. This activity requires thorough preparation by parents. This is a great possibility to ask your partner to participate and help get ready. Different contests, riddles, and puzzles, a map with the indication of the treasure, etc. There is so much it is necessary to do to prepare for the quest. Make sure that the treasure your baby will find is something spectacular or delicious. In any case, this is going to be a great pastime for you and your child.
30. Take a Virtual Excursion
Have you had big plans for this spring? Zoo, attraction parks, museums, exhibitions, concerts, and all the other events are canceled and closed. Instead of them, more and more virtual tours start appearing these days. What is more, they are usually free of charge. Visit the museum of dinosaurs, go to the zoo or enjoy adventures in Disneyland. All this is now possible from the comfort of your home.
Undoubtedly, all this cannot replace real-life experience and emotions. However, the situation will get better, thus, you will know what to expect from a certain attraction and if it is worth going there later after the quarantine. This is a so-called rehearsal of the plans for the next vacation.
31. Grow Your Garden
With the availability of everything on the shelves in stores, we have forgotten what it means to grow own flowers or vegetables. Among plenty of free rainy day activities, this is not so popular nowadays. Probably, this is time to renew this tradition. No matter what you like more, get some pots, soil, and seeds. Plant and water them. Just imagine how interested your baby is going to be when the first sprout will appear from the soil. This is not just a useful activity but also the possibility to teach your baby how to take care of something. Maybe later you will entrust a kitten to your child.
Free Activities for Kids & Parents Together
Being almost locked home on quarantine, it is important to remember that these are temporary restrictions. The better we obey the new rules and regulations, the sooner this all will be over. That is why parents should find all the inner motivation to stay calm and look for ways to entertain themselves.
Suggestions for Parents & Children
While looking for ways to spend time with your child, it is crucial for parents not to forget about themselves as well. It is impossible to stay positive being only involved in household routines and creativity with your baby.
32. Sports Together
In some states, it is even not allowed to jog in parks. So why not do some home sports together with your child? Suggest him or her joining you and do some exercises together. Open the window and work out in the fresh air. If it is allowed to go out to the park for a while, you can jog together with your baby and make some exercises.
33. Socialize with Friends and Their Kids With Video Calls
No matter, how many suggestions we provide, be it even 100 ideas to spend time at home, we are sure you miss your friends. Call them to chat and support each other. Also, do not forget that your little one may be also missing his/her friends from the playground. So, arrange a video call for your children as well. This may be awkward and funny, however, your baby will definitely remember how much you care for his/her feelings and emotional state.
34. Learn Something New Together
Have you ever been asked why the sky is blue or why the grass is green? Children tend to ask questions to which it is too complicated to find answers. Study books and the Internet together with your child to find these responses. First, you will learn something new and interesting. Also, your baby will notice how attentive you are to the questions he/she asks. This will be a great contribution to your relationship.
35. Send & Receive Emails Together
Unfortunately, this is not the best time to utilize common post services. However, even if you send emails with nice pictures and video messages, your child will like this. Make a virtual postcard for grandparents and ask them to send something in response. Your child will like this way of communication.
Besides, if you experienced problems with the wish to learn letters and figures, this is a great chance to emphasize the importance of reading. Just remember that it’s better not to show the function of voice typing. This won’t contribute to the significance of reading and learning letters.
We have listed 35 ideas of pastime with your child while staying home on quarantine. Most of them involve different other activities. That is why we are sure that with these suggestions, you will undoubtedly find ways to keep yourself and your baby busy during this complicated period. The most important is to stay positive and look for possible benefits that can be brought by these times. Remember, your baby will feel your mood and won’t agree to have fun observing parents who are moody and cheerless.