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21 Ideas for Entertaining Your Child at Home

Here are some fun ways to make your time with your little one even more stimulating and fun. These ideas come from the daily ideas I shared with my clients during COVID lockdown — lots of fun games, songs, and activities that also teach important skills and encourage being active.

If you are at home due to illness, or any time for that matter, I hope you find some new and inspiring ideas to keep everyone engaged and happy.

  1. Obstacle course. This is a good activity for a slightly older child, but a younger little one might enjoy trying it as well. Put pieces of paper (not for babies because they will surely try to eat the paper), or objects on the ground and have your little one hop, skip, run, walk around them. Baby might be able to crawl around them once you, or an older sibling, shows how to do it. If you have a really little one, you can do the obstacle course with them in your arms. Verbally describe what you are doing. 
  2. Homebound basketball. Put a basket or box on the ground. Have your little one aim for it with a ball. Once the basket on the ground is going well, lift the basket higher and higher for an added challenge.
  3. Basketball circle or random pattern. Place a number of baskets, boxes, or other appropriately sized containers around your little one. Have them turn and toss.
  4. Transferring from one container to the other. Get a bunch of crumpled up paper, or small balls. Place small containers in front of your baby or child and have them move the objects from one container to the next. For a younger child, you may have to hold their hand and help them do it. For an older child, you could add in color matching skills.
  5. Have your little one try standing on a ball for balancing. It is easier if the ball is a bit deflated. You can very carefully hold a baby and let them stand on the ball as well. Sway them in small back and forth motions. It is good for balance and good for muscles. Plus, it is fun to see how gravity works.
  6. Draw a hopscotch and hop it. Try different patterns. You could even add in prompts like spin around or jumping jack on different squares.
  7. Hickory Dickory Dock. This one is good for any age! Sing the song while running your fingers up and down your little one’s body (from toes to face and back down again). Make up rhyming words for the numbers 1 – 12. Example, the clock struck one the mouse did run, the clock struck 2 the mouse said boo, the clock struck 3 the mouse said wee. Older little ones will probably enjoy making up the rhyming words with you. If you are not familiar with this nursery rhyme, you know what to do, search on the web to find a version you like and then, customize it to make it your own.
  8. Make a fort to hang out in. A fort unleashes the imagination. Pretend you are camping. Pretend you are hiding from a wild animal. Point out the way the light is different in the fort compared to the rest of the room. Have a real picnic in the fort, or just a pretend one with your older little one. Babies love forts too.
  9. Water play using empty dish soap bottles or other types of bottles with small openings on top. “Write” on the ground with the water. This is fun in the bathtub as well.
  10. Airplane baby. Lie on your back, put your legs into the tabletop position (as though you are going to do some crunches), place baby or toddler on your shins and let them fly around. Hold your little one’s hands and body firmly so they feel safe and can enjoy the ride. Talk about what is below them as your little one flies over towns, cities, and the Earth. Bonus: You actually can get some tummy exercise in while you do this. Hold your tummy muscles tight and create moves that work different core muscles.  Bring your knees closer and push them a little further away. You will find a great ab workout while your little one enjoys the ride!
  11. Silly hats. Place all sorts of funny things on your head. Say, hey! That’s not a hat, those are pants and so on. Place soft objects on baby’s head. Be ready to grab it as it slides off when baby tries to look up to see what is on their head. Another version of this is to ask, where is the little bear? (Or whatever is on baby’s head.) Respond with, oh here it is on top of your head
  12. Pretend zoo visit. Place different stuffed animals around the house and go visit the animals at the zoo.
  13. Farm visit. Same as zoo visit, but use only traditional farm animals.
  14. Pets on leashes. Just like you imagine, attach leashes (ribbons or string) to the neck of some stuffed animals, and take them on a walk around the house.
  15. Magic carpet ride. Place your little one face up on a soft padded towel or rug and slide her/him around (very slowly and carefully) for a magic carpet ride. Mix it up a bit and put baby tummy down. Tummy down gives a little distracted tummy time which can be helpful for babies who resist tummy time. Toddlers like this one too.
  16. Parachute fun. Get a sheet and gently billow it up and down over your baby or your toddler. Make a whooshing sound for extra emphasis. Be aware, not all babies or toddlers like fabric on their face.
  17. Make sock or paper bag puppets. Use paper, yarn, rags, string, buttons, or whatever you have on hand. Want a puppy? Make a puppet one! Want a cat? Make a puppet one! Tell the 3 little pigs, or a different story with puppets. Make and save many characters for all sorts of stories. It is a fun way to build your own shows. All little hands can help with this fun project and they’ll laugh with glee when you create silly shows. 
  18. Bathe the baby doll. Use a water safe baby doll and give it a bath. Try this sitting at the sink, with a bucket outside on a warm day, or sitting in the bathtub.
  19. Bathe the animals. Use plastic animals and wash them as described in bathe the baby above. Include a toothbrush and washcloth as tools to clean the animals. This is good for dexterity.
  20. Scarves in a box or container with little hand friendly openings. If using a cardboard box, cut holes about 1 inch round (square will work as well). Fill with many different color and size silky scarves (make sure they are washable!).Pull the tips of each scarf a little way through the holes; just so it is peeking out. Show your little one how to pull it through. Do it again and again.
  21. Make music in the kitchen. Make a pots and pans, or a slightly quieter plastic bowl, band.
650-303-8728 | teresa@teresa4changes.com