12 ideas to fill in the afternoon with your child

Posted on December 09 2015

Do you ever find yourself wondering how you are going to fill in the rest of the day once your baby or toddler has woken from their lunchtime sleep? Does dinner time seem like hours away? As a mother, I have found that the afternoons can sometimes drag unless you decide to do an activity and actively play with your children. Not only does play equal fun, it also equals learning and education. Little brains are just like sponges and they absorb many new concepts and ideas very quickly.

You can just pick a few age appropriate activities and give them a go!

There are plenty of activities and fun things that you can do at home or even around your neighbourhood to fill in those afternoon hours with your child.

Here are some suggestions which are especially suitable for parents and children playing together. You can just pick a few age appropriate activities and give them a go! Say goodbye to those slow afternoons and see how much fun and enjoyment you will have spending quality happy time with your child:

1. Read stories and nursery rhymes. Use a funny voice, sing the words or pretend that you are the character in the story. Perhaps even set up a few books in a pretend library and have your child choose the book for the reading/singing session. Involve your keen little listener by asking them to point out things on the pages or stop and ask them what they think might happen in the story. Make reading interactive- go beyond just reading the printed words.

2. Play a game of hide and seek. Make sure you are easy to find if your child is very young or make it a game of peek-a-boo for a baby. Not only will your child love looking for you, but the game will teach them how to count! 1, 2, 3 ready or not, here I come! Boo!

3. Go for a walk around the block. Remember to hold your little ones hand as this is great bonding! As you walk ask your child to listen to sounds e.g. traffic, birds, people talking. Stop and point out things that are familiar. Remember to walk at their pace and not be in too much of a hurry.

4. Ask your child to help pack a few snacks for a picnic. If the day is nice, head outside to the local park with your packed picnic goodies. Your child will love being involved in the process of setting up for the picnic and ask them to choose the location once at the park. If the weather is miserable, why not make a picnic in the living room?

5. Do you remember playing dress ups when you were young? What simple fun it was! How about raiding your wardrobe for belts, hats, scarfs and have a dress up session. Children love wearing adult’s shoes, so let them loose in your shoe cupboard. Join in the dress up fun!

6. Have a budding chef in the house? Why not have a cooking afternoon? Make something very simple like pancakes. Involve your child in the process and tell them what is going on. They will love the first bite of a warm pancake that ‘they’ have made! (You can even cheat and buy the pancake shake mix from the supermarket (the ‘simply add water and shake’ variety).

7. Buy some seeds and create a herb garden. If short for space, make the herb garden in a pot. Let your budding gardener prepare the soil, add the seeds and a little water. As always, explain and tell them the process. Ask your child to check the garden/pot every day to see how the seeds are growing. Remember to care for the herbs and then one day they will be ready to harvest.

8. Role Play can be so much fun! “I want to be the mummy” is a common statement from toddlers. Facilitate the play by encouraging your child to act out their role. Use role play when doing house hold chores for example folding the washing. Ask your little one to help. It will be like a game to them!

9. Pretend Play. Why not set up a school with all your children’s stuffed animals as the students and your child as the teacher? Engage with your child and ask them questions about the classroom and what the students are learning about.

10. Sit down somewhere cosy and have a lovely chat. Do you often feel like you just talk at your child rather than to your child? I started asking questions like “What was your favourite things about today?” I loved hearing the responses and soon the question was coming back at me to answer. This simple question has now become part of the bedtime routine. I really should be documenting some of the responses! Not only is this a fun free activity, it will be extending the minds, thoughts and vocabulary of your child.

11. Become Mrs/Mr Maker and get out the arts and crafts box. Discount shops sell wonderful cheap arts and crafts bits. Sticking, gluing, painting, drawing, tracing, cutting and sorting bits is all educational. With assistance, your child will create masterpieces. Make a big deal of their work and place it on display!

12. Sing songs together! Break away from the traditional children’s nursery rhymes and teach your children a new song – try the national anthem or a song from your favourite artist. Play it often and they will become familiar with the song and even start asking to hear it.

REMEMBER – Play should always be fun, and at the same time allow your child to practice and master various skills which will assist in their growth and development.

This Tree House Blog was written by: Good to Play Toys

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