This time last week we were contemplating the prospect of schools and nurseries closing as we try to get a grip on Covid-19. The thought of being at home 24/7 with both my kids was more than a bit intimidating and I immediately started looking for activities we can do at home to pass the time. At 4 years old and 22 months they have quite differing needs. JJ is happy to play quietly with his toys alone, but his big brother needs more structured play if I want to avoid constant screen time.

What I didn’t anticipate was how quickly it would all happen. Piglet had a spontaneous high temperature yesterday and the current NHS guidelines request that he stays home for 7 days to be on the safe side. If he is isolating then that means JJ and I are too by default. So this was as good a time as ever to start trying out some of these activities!

They are mostly aimed at preschool aged children, around 3, 4 and 5. The are largely indoor activities – but I’ve added a couple of garden activities too for those that are lucky enough to have one. I’ve grouped them based on the skills they are developing with your kids.

Indoor Activities For Kids

Letter Recognition

Alphabet space rocket – A fun way for kids to learn the letters of their name

Puzzle Hunt Sensory Bin – Find letters and place them in the correct place on the puzzle.

Letter Matching And Posting – Combines letter recognition with motor skills and problem solving.

Cotton Swab Letter Painting – I think we would do this with our fingers instead.

Giant Alphabet Memory Game – You could replace paper plates with sheets of paper instead.

Rainbow coloured alphabet laid out in 3 lines
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Pom Pom Sorting – I have also seen this done without the water and and using using kids tweezers or tongs instead.

Duplo Colour Matching – This could also be done with Lego or Mega Bloks

Colour Hunt – Identifying basic colours and matching them

Sticker Sorting – Ideal for toddlers upwards

Finger Paint Rainbow – With a free printable

Brightly coloured plastic balls
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Number Recognition

12 Ways to Encourage Preschool Maths in Everyday Life and Play – Helping kids learn through play

Number Matching – Using items you already have at home

Number Writing Salt Tray – Encouraging mark making with numbers

Count And Smash Playdoh – You will need a large dice as well as playdoh and tools.

Lily Pad Math Hop – Have fun making it and then playing

A wooden toy clock face with a child touching the hands
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Motor Skills

Create A Robocup – A simple craft for toddlers and preschoolers using items you likely already have at home

Roald Dahl Themed Fine Motor Skills Activities – 6 fun activities based on the Roald Dahl books.

DIY Sewing Cards – Beginners sewing project for fine motor skills

Sticker Line Up – Working on fine motor skills to place stickers on a line

Building Bridges – Make your toys walk along craft stick bridges

A child building a tower out of Duplo bricks
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Messy Play

Jelly and Cream – In my house the kids are more likely to eat this than play with it though!

Shaving Foam And Spaghetti – Simple sensory play

Superworm Sensory Tray – Simple sensory tray based on the Superworm book.

Spring Sensory Bin – Make use of items you already have at home

Mess Free Slime – Saves the stress of cleaning it up

Blue slime in a plastic bag, with toy cars and a figure on top of it
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Role Play

Farm World Sensory Play – Use farm toys and kitchen cupboard items to create a sensory play set up

Snow, Slime and a Stegosaurus! – Requires Gelli Baff Snow to make a fun dinosaur activity

Slotted Cardboard Dinohouse (Or Dollhouse) – Will take some set-up but worth it for the hours of play. Uses recycled materials.

Zoo Animals – With free printable

Veterinary Printables and Pretend Play – Nurse sick stuffed animals at the vet

3 stuffed bears, the one on the right with a plaster on it's head
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Garden Activities

Upcycled Fairy Garden – make use of you unwanted garden toys.

Bug Hotel – spend time making a space for creepy crawlies to enjoy.

Nature Portraits – create faces in the garden

Cookie Cutter Bird Feeders – make sure our birds are well fed

Outdoor Number Hunt – use the garden to work on numeracy skills with a garden hunt. Replace the foam shapes for paper if needed.

A heart with the number 10 on it being pulled out of a plant pot by a child
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Free Activity Packs

Construction Zone – Digital download filled with construction based activities to work on literacy, numeracy, crafts and more. Free until 30th April 2020.

Out Of This World – Space themed digital download with activities to build on basic skills. Free until 30th April 2020.

Pirates Mini Pack – Pirate themed digital download with activities to build on basic numeracy, literacy and motor skills. Free until 30th April 2020.

Orchard Toys Activity Sheets – Loads of free printables for colouring, counting, basic crafts etc.

Colouring And Activity Sheets – A wide range of topics, all free

a box of crayons, with an out of focus child behind
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Additional Resources

Tales From The Tuff Spot – A fun Instagram account with lots of messy play and educational ideas

Peachy Speech – Instagram account with lots of activities geared towards working on communication

Five Minute Mum – Lots of easy, fun games to play with kids. Her book is also amazing!

Facebook Parents Support Group – A group where parents can share their ideas for activities during this strange time.

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