Sunday, 8 January 2012

Fun ideas at home with babies

Trawling through the photos on my laptop I came across some that may give you ideas for ways to spend the day at home with your babies. I'm really trying to spend as little money as possible this year, so will be revisiting some myself. Especially late afternoon, when you still have a couple of hours to kill before your partner returns, your energy is low, and you're just "done" mommying. Some of these ideas require effort on your part, some are perfect lazyass ideas, so your kids have fun, and you're still being A Good Mom. I think these are all "free" ideas, so you don't need any specific toys/equipment. I suspect many of these would work for older kids too.

Re all the photos of him eating sugary foods: I have to say I relaxed about sugar/sweets when Charlie turned 2, allowing him chocolate spread, jellies, cake etc. Not everyday, but most days, and I still limit crazy colourings, I prefer him to eat chocolate or homemade stuff. And not in place of meals either, ie he could have chocolate spread on pancakes with banana too, or make rice crispy buns after his lunch. A great bribe, and I don't feel one jot of guilt. 

Lazyass mama ideas:
(For the times you are low on energy, sleep-deprived or feeding the baby)

Have a Fruit party (sit on the sofa with a bowl of grapes / mandarins / apples / blueberries and eat while watching tv - he still gets excited when I propose this. Look how labelling it makes it special!)
Do the Calendar - take your calendar off the wall, and explain coming and past activities, stickers make it more fun. Child adds meaningful scribbles to denote events.
Picnic lunch/breakfast - eat your normal food sitting on a blanket / sheet / tablecloth on the floor, or garden if weather permits.
Movie party / cinema - close the curtains, make popcorn, watch DVD
Make "a mix" - give child big bowl with small amount of flour, wooden spoon and jug of water.
Rock Band - empty contents of saucepan drawer, biscuit tins etc, give them some wooden spoons and cover your ears. Radio Nova in the background may help train a musical ear, may not.
Sing songs / make up songs - the beauty is this can be done anytime, anywhere, with your hands full, and your toddler still feels like you are really giving quality time. Last year we had "Jingle Poo, Jingle Poo, Jingle all the Poo" all the way to March.
Snuggle under a blanket / duvet on sofa and watch cartoons.
Make a fort - Throw a sheet / large throw over the dining table and chairs and let your toddler lie in there on pillows for as long as you can manage. Characters optional.
Treasure hunt - you make a trail of Cheerios/rice crispies (like in Monsters Inc), they follow it, picking them up and eating them, leading to a prize (I'd go for a forgotten toy / biscuit, unless it's a birthday or something)
Have a bath - anytime of the day, kills a good hour. Follow with an olive oil massage and a book / boob in bed and you can get an hour and a half, and maybe a nap if you've timed it well.
Colour / draw and exhibit on fridge: Tesco do great value printer paper. Better for the imagination than colouring books.
Cut paper - old magazines / newspapers. Don't give celebrity tat / fashion mags to young girls though, please.
Cut the grass - with child scissors. Kept him happy for a few minutes while I dug weeds last spring.
Pouring water - a few bowls / jugs, some water, and a non-carpeted floor obviously
Dig the garden - with a spoon / trowel. Dig in a plant-pot if you don't want your flower beds wrecked.
Nursery rhymes: with made up actions if you like. Great for 9-24 month olds. After that every second word will be substituted with "poo".
Take photos: Give them your camera and let them go around the house taking photos of anything interesting.
Hide the duck. Hide a duck or some toy in the room / house and they have to find it. "Hot" and "Cold" clues usually needed. You can stay on the sofa for the whole thing.
I spy. Another sofa / bed friendly-game. It must be "something red" unless they can spell otherwise it's too hard. But you knew that version. You're A Good Mama. Sorry.
Get into bed and read a book - usually my lazy afternoon fall-back. I've done my thing, I'm wrecked, so we go snuggle in bed, read / tell stories, have a "baboo" and bingo, it's dinner time.

"Check us out with our fun learning activity" Mama:
(For the morning before your mother / friend visits, so you can boast)

Make a book - fold a few sheets of plain paper and staple / stick together. Decide on theme of book, draw / write. Don't be tempted to take over, this is for them. You can do one yourself later and get it perfect.
Fish: Float paper fish in a bowl of water. Draw and cut out the fish. Surprisingly entertaining. Put shells / stones in the bowl for added authenticity. "Fish" out the fish with a sieve if you're not an animal rights activist.
Make playdough - flour and water and a few drops of oil. Bake playdough items in a low oven and paint with poster paints if you need to fill another hour.
Make a treasure box / nature box: Decorate it if you like, collect things on your walks or from garden.
Make pizzas - Get tortillas / wraps, cover with tomato puree / ketchup, add grated cheese and other toppings, child can assemble their own. Guaranteed to eat every scrap.
Bake and ice cupcakes - use my lazyass cupcake recipe, or buy buns and ice them, or ice some plain biscuits. Adding sprinkles to anything makes it special.
Play shop - you be all the crazy customers. You don't need a cash register / play money / toy food. We had a great game once where he was the "shop man" with a bowl of apples and I was different family members coming in to buy apples for different reasons i.e. "Hi, I'm Grandad (cue smoker's cough) I need some apples for Charlie and his two cousins, they're coming to visit today, now let me see, how many is that?" etc. Counting, food, and impressions and we're all entertained. Then once all the apples had been bought, he had to close up shop, and come to my market stall to buy more apples, then re-stock the shop for the next bout of crazy customers. Watch out for the "cwazy Ritalian", she's the loopiest.
Paint... I think we've done this about 5 times in his life and I've photographed it every time, an ordeal if I'm honest. Last Father's Day I bought cheap small canvasses in Aldi and Charlie painted pictures for the Grandads.
Craft: Have a "craft" box which you fill with scraps of wrapping paper / toilet rolls / ribbon / egg cartons / a few cheap craft items (stickers / glue / confetti / pipe cleaners) from Euro shops. Make some decorations for a coming event or just for fun. For Halloween we made spiders from green egg-box bits, with faces drawn on and black bendy straws cut and poked through for legs. I say "we", I mean "me" - he got bored and kept wandering off. I'm a frustrated Bosco presenter wannabe, so kept at it until we had an army of spiders.
Speed-tidy with a prize - he never fell for this, too savvy, but if you've a simpler type it could be a great way to de-clutter together.
Play the piano / guitar / xylophone - whatever you have lying around. Play a tune you both know, invent one, or play along with the radio. I must say here that if I ever meet any of those singers from children's nursery rhyme CDs I'll have to wring their necks. You know the ones.

Charlie's first photoshoot. His legs.

Oh, the days I only had one child. He's a spaceman in tinfoil-covered boxes for jetpack and helmet.

Do you have any other "Lazyass mama" ideas to fill the day at home? Please share!

1 comment:

  1. Brilliant ideas, this is the part of parenting I am most looking forward to, Disney songs round the piano!


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