Lockdown activities part 1…..

Like many countries around the world at the moment, we find ourselves in a lock-down to curb the spread of the Covid-19 Coronavirus.

While we are blessed to have a fairly spacious little house and a gorgeous garden for Hannah to play in – we have needed to find some activities to keep little miss busy! I’m not keen on filling up every single day with activities, I’m a very firm believer in letting kids get bored and finding their own way to entertain themselves, but obviously not all the time!  Here’s what we’ve done so far….as you can see, the pictures are FAR from insta-worthy, but they’re real. THIS is what lockdown with a toddler looks like.

Day 1.

Gardening – Hannah has an immense love for the outdoors, if she could, she would be outside exploring from before sunrise until after sunset.  Mummy has an addiction to buying pretty flowers and trying to get her garden to look gorgeous, so combined with Blackwoods nursery having a pre-lockdown sale we had a winning combination!

What we used

seedling trays

trowel

watering can

The Activity  Get your little one to help you dig a hole, you may need to show them first, and probably fix it up afterwards, but hey – it will keep them busy!  Help them to place a plant gently in the hole, squish the soil around the roots and then the best fun of all – help them water with a watering can.

Don’t have a watering can? Watch this awesome video that Tanya Visser from “The Gardener” posted about how to make one out of an old milk bottle – yay for more activities!

Don’t have a garden? You could try planting veggie seeds in cotton wool (or soil if you have access to it) and leaving them on a windowsill. That gives you something to do every day – check back in on how the seeds are going!

Day 2:

Cleaning

Toddlers for some reason seem to love cleaning – especially if you’re doing it too. There’s been an international study published in the American Academy of Pediatrics journal that shows that toddlers will innately want to help an adult with a task that they are doing – and when you’re all locked in a house together, why not let that be the housework!

You just have to be careful with this one not to let them interact with the cleaning agents (obviously age dependent – I doubt a 5 year old is going to lick the cloth with bleach on it like my 18 month old tried to do), and have a ton of patience – often while cleaning one thing, more mess is made elsewhere. It’s so easy to lose your temper and tell them to “Go see Daddy” and do it quickly yourself, but remember they are LOVING helping you, and learning valuable life skills at the same time.  You have at least 2,5 more weeks to get the house clean. Take a breath and let it go.

Activities

There are some great articles online about age appropriate chores – have a google and see what your child could be capable of at their age. I just let Hannah follow me around and help out where she seemed interested. Here’s what we did

  1. Putting laundry in the laundry bin/washing machine. She loved racing through the house with a lone sock or tshirt and popping it in the washing basket.
  2. Dusting/Wiping down surfaces – this one she could do all day! Give them a slightly damp cloth and ask them to wipe the coffee table, windowsill (if they can reach) and other surfaces. You might be surprised what they start to clean.
  3. Washing dishes – if you have a step high enough to reach the sink, let them help out with the spoons, plastic cups, tuppaware etc.
  4. Washing windows – now this one will probably leave you with more work in the long run. I gave Hannah a wet wipe, and she spent about 20 minutes cleaning the cottage window panes on our patio doors, and every window and reflective surface she could reach. It leaves horrid soapy streaks, but at least they’re occupied!\
  5. Sweeping! Hannah has her own mini broom, and loves to help us sweep. Often she’ll grab her broom, run to us and say “Mummy/Daddy”, “Bwoom” – and we have to go get our full size broom out the cupboard and sweep with her.  If you don’t have a mini broom – let your little one play with the full sized one! Just watch out for shelves/coffee tables/ornaments.
Hannah cleaning
Hannah “cleaning” the windows

Day 3:

Baking

Hannah loves to get involved in whatever I’m doing, and up until now I’ve sort of just made her watch from her high-chair or the baby carrier or kept her occupied on the floor. But she’s clearly had enough of that, and wants to help out wherever and whenever she can.  On Sunday she woke up really early, and as I sat with her in the lounge trying to keep her from waking up her Dad (yes I do deserve a medal) I remembered that as kids, we often used to have scones on a Sunday morning.  Scones are pretty easy to bake, and most of us should have the ingredients in the cupboard (if not, add them to the apocalypse shopping list, even if you don’t go baking scones, they’re useful to have for other things!)  so I decided to whip up a batch, and let Hannah help.

What we used:

Oven at 220C

2.75 cups (about 350g) self raising flour (or cake flour with 1tsp extra baking powder for each cup)

pinch of salt

85g margerine

3 tablespoons of caster sugar (optional – I forgot to add, and with jam the scones still tasted great!)

1 teaspoon baking powder

175ml milk

Splash of vanilla essence (I guesstimate about 1 teaspoon)

Squeeze of lemon juice (again, about 1 teaspoon if you really want to measure)

Beaten egg (optional)

Jam and Cheese (or Cream) to serve.

The activity:

Wash wash wash your hands….you should know the drill by now. 20 seconds or 2 verses of Happy Birthday….

Preheat your oven to 220 Degrees C

Your margarine or butter should be at room temperature, but I don’t have the patience for that – so I just popped it in the microwave for about 15 seconds to soften.  Cut it into cubes/smaller pieces.

Help your little one to add the flour to the bowl.

Next, rub the flour and butter between your fingertips, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Your little one can help with this too depending on their age and skill level – I gave Hannah her own bowl because I knew it would end up straight in her mouth!  The trick is to use only your fingertips – every time I make scones, I can hear my Mum saying, if your palms are getting dirty, you’re doing it wrong!

Next help your little one to add the salt, bicarb and sugar.

In a separate bowl, mix the milk, vanilla essence and lemon juice (squeezing lemon juice is great fun when you’re a toddler) and leave it for a few minutes (to allow the lemon juice to curdle the milk)

Add the liquid to a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and stir. You’ll need to use your hands towards the end to combine everything.

When all the dough is sticking together, tip out onto a floured surface, and press down until to about 3 or 4 cm thickness.

Using scone (or cookie) cutters, help your little one to cut out as many scones as possible, press the remaining dough together and repeat until you have no dough left.

Using a medium sized scone cutter you should get 12 scones out of this recipe.

Using a fork, clean fingers or a pastry brush, brush the tops of the scones with beaten egg.

Give your little one the task of greasing the tray – Hannah loved that – using a scrap of margarine wrapper and a chunk of margarine. Pop the scones on the tray and put them in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until slightly golden on top. (They turn Very quickly from pale to golden to burnt, so keep an eye on them around the 10 minute mark)

Serve with butter, jam and grated cheese (or cream) and a nice big mug (or bottle) of tea.

Baking scones
Hannah helping with her own scone mix and dough to cut

Day 4: 

Playdoh

I looked at playdoh and silly sand while I was doing my lockdown shopping, but unfortunately I just didn’t have the budget to spend on it at that time (after 3 weeks of groceries, my cards were crying a little bit). With cold, wet weather looming, I decided it was time to get creative! I had a look on the interwebs for some playdoh recipes – and combined a few (based on the ingredients that I had available) and the result was surprisingly quite good! The dough does look like it may dry out after a few days, but it’s easy enough to whip up another batch when it does.  Because it involved boiling water and food dye, I didn’t get Hannah involved in the making of this (Also she was down for one of her VERY RARE naps), but she loved playing with it once she woke up!

I’ve popped the recipe and instructions in the image below. I was lucky enough to have cream of tartar sitting in my cupboard (an odd one to have I know) but if you don’t – have a look around on Pinterest, there are plenty of recipes to follow that don’t include it.

Playdoh recipe

 

So far we’ve not run into boredom or cabin fever – but I’m constantly searching for new things to do with a busy little human. I’ll post a few more next week, hopefully some of the ideas help you too!

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