Updated: May 23
So, Mama, you have to isolate for a lockdown, or it's raining outside, or you have just decided to give the wide world a little space. Here are some ideas for what you can do with your little ones to get through. First though, before we get to the fun and games, make sure you get critical supplies, and no, we are not talking toilet paper; we are talking coffee, wine and chocolate.
Play ideas for newborns
If you are a Mama of a newborn baby, use this time to rest as much as you can. Tell all visitors to stay well away for the time being. If family and friends want to help, ask them to leave food at your doorstep.
Get a subscription to Netflix, put on your trackies and recovery pants, and rest and rest some more. Use this time to get to know your baby. Remember to have extra good hygiene and wash your hands regularly. Try and remain extra hydrated.
Spend some time looking after yourself. Paint your toes, make cups of tea and if you’ve got one in the cupboard you’ve been waiting to use, put on that face mask. If you need tips on how to look after yourself as a parent, Parents You've Got This mindfulness expert Nikki Morris has you covered with her latest blog post.
Spend time gazing into your baby's eyes and marvelling at your little miracle. Enjoy giving your baby long baths and baby massages. Walk your baby around your home and tell them about photos, flowers and things of meaning. Have FaceTime chats with family and close friends to stay connected to the outside world. Read your baby your favourite books - maybe a few chapters of your novel out loud and a bit of Where’s the Green Sheep too. Now is a great time to do some handprint or footprint paintings if you have gentle water-based paints to hand.
Indoor activities for babies
The days are long if you are stuck inside. But if you can, go into the backyard, lie on the ground, and look up at the sky. Talk to your little one about what you can both see.
Spend lots of time on the floor with your little one. See things from their perspective. Practice lots of tummy time with your baby on the floor or lying on your bent legs, looking at you or the world around you. Practise sitting. Play games with your expressions to get a reaction and see if they will copy you.
Other indoor activities for babies include:
Fill an empty box of tissues with scarves and show your baby how to pull them out
Hop on your hands and knees and crawl about with them (or show them how to crawl!)
Let them play with common household objects – pots and pans for drums, playing with pegs, picking up pompoms with tongs. Normal household items often end up favourite toys
Stackable blocks and block sorters
Put all of their stuffed toys into a washing basket and make a boat
Make a birthday party for their soft toys
Roll a ball to them
Let them lie under a play gym or play with an indoor baby swing
Indoor activities for toddlers
It is hard to be stuck in a house with an active toddler who needs to burn lots of energy. Here are some fun ideas to keep little hands busy:
Set up an indoor obstacle course
Star jumps, hopping, leapfrog
Yoga (for Mama and little one!)
Make a cubby
Let them play with a dollhouse
Long long baths - with plastic toys e.g. Duplo
Let them help you cook (stir, add ingredients, chop with a toddler knife)
Let them help you with daily chores – hang clothes on the washing line, fold face washers, and put the washing detergent in.
Play ball - practice throwing and rolling a ball back and forward to them
Pretend to be their puppy dog
Let them pretend they are a hairdresser
Hide and seek
Sleep when they do
FaceTime family and friends
Heads, shoulders, knees and toes
Toilet training. If you think your little one is ready, you are short on nappies and need to be home; it could be a great time to start!
Pop on your trackies, and don’t worry about washing your hair. Spend time just snuggling and connecting with your little one(s). Don’t feel bad if you need to put Play School on for a bit to give yourself some mental downtime – you will feel inspired for more fun and games afterwards!
Remember, the best toy is you, and babies and children have never seen the world, so they wonder about minor things. Their favourite memories will be the moments between the moments. Take photos! Capture those little moments.
It too shall pass, and until then, don’t feel bad if you need to hide in the pantry and eat chocolate to get through.