Learning

Keeping busy

We live in the UK, so rainy days are inevitable. But defaulting to a screen device to keep children happily occupied is not! Isabell Fisher, former teacher and co-founder of Little Hands Learning, has some rewarding activities to keep them busy on days when there’s not much happening. All are easy to set up and you will probably have most of what you need at home already.

Published

Read a book together

Reading is a quick and mess-free activity that requires no prep at all. Sharing a book has enormous educational and emotional benefits for your children. Giving them time and your full attention while sharing a book provides them with comfort and security, as well as building self-esteem.

If you are feeling ambitious and the book is set in a cave or under a bridge, build a den and make some popcorn.

Playdough small world play

Playdough is one of the most open-ended toys available because it is so versatile. Add some dinosaur figures and some green playdough and you have created Jurassic Park. Or use dark blue playdough and some space rockets to travel into space together!

There are some wonderful small businesses out there that produce amazingly soft and scented playdough that doesn’t leave greasy residue on surfaces. Do check that the playdough has been UKCA tested before buying, so that you know it is safe for your children to play with.

Baking

Children love to bake ­ and then eat the goodies they have made. Baking shortbread and scones is simple enough for younger children to have a go at and they taste great!

Baking bread is also surprisingly simple, and you and your children can have lots of fun creating different animals out of the dough before baking in the oven.

Painting

Painting fills many parents with dread! To cut down on mess and spillages, use watercolour paints instead of poster paints which can get messy. Try painting on paper, try coffee filters, a canvas or ice cubes instead of paper.

Arts and crafts

These don’t need to be overly complicated. Often keeping it simple is far better than creating something elaborate. Try making paper boats and planes and then seeing how far they will travel.

You can make tealight holders from old jam jars and gluing on pieces of tissue paper. These also make lovely presents for grandparents.

Make a treasure map

This is a wonderful activity to do with any pirate fan and it uses resources you will almost certainly have at home. You just need some crayons, a piece of white card and a tea bag.

First design your map. Begin by drawing a large, rounded oblong onto the middle of your card. Add arrows to create the compass and draw features like a skull, mountains, palm trees and a pirate ship on the sea. Decide where your treasure will be buried on your island and add a X. Next pour some warm water into a bowl and add your tea bag. Let the tea bag infuse into the water. Place the card onto a towel or tea towel - this will soak up any excess water. Squeeze the excess water out of the tea bag and dab the tea bag all over the card to make it look like ancient parchment. Dipping the tea bag back into the warm water when needed. Leave the card to dry and then use it to find your treasure.

Brew a magic potion

Brewing a magic potion is always popular with children and uses ingredients already in your kitchen cupboard. Raid your spice drawer and add water and some old jam jars and watch as your children create more and more interesting concoctions.

If you would like to make your magic potions more elaborate add bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and distilled vinegar. Your children will absolutely love the reaction that these three ingredients will create to their potions.

Design and play your own board game

Designing your own board game is a fun way to learn about design, and teamwork. All you need is a piece of paper, some pens, some counters (which could be little toy figures), some dice, and some rules.

Together, create and decorate your board game. Play and enjoy!

Try an easy science experiment!

There are lots of easy science experiments that can be tried at home with household items. Science experiments are a great way to get children to start to ask questions, make predictions and understand the world around them. Try making a lava lamp with water and food colouring and oil in a jar. Add an effervescent tablet and watch what happens!

For these ideas and many more please visit https://www.littlehandslearning.co.uk/activities.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Isabell Fisher is co-founder of Little Hands Learning, an educational and eco-friendly subscription box for children aged three to six years. Every month your child will receive an exciting gift in the post containing a beautiful picture book and everything needed for four engaging and fun activities. The play-based activities are designed by teachers to focus on key areas of the National Curriculum.

Visit www.littlehandslearning.co.uk

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/littlehandslearninguk

Instagram: @littlehandslearninguk

Pinterest: www.pinterest.co.uk/littlehandslearninguk/

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