It’s been a week since I am stuck at home with my almost 4 year-old only child while trying to work from home. Other than screen time, here are a few activities that require little to no supervision that worked for me.
- Play-Doh Time
My child LOVES Play-Doh! In particular, she enjoys making food items out of them. Before the quarantine began, I got her new Play-Doh colors and cutting tools. Since then, she’s spent hours making waffles, cakes, ice-cream cones, popcorns and all kinds of snack for her animal figures. When she plays alone, I often give her an idea to run with—for example, an ice cream stand, a grocery store, a popcorn station, etc. This helps her get imaginative on her own.When she wasn’t playing alone, my partner and I also enjoyed being creative with her!
- Magnet Tiles
This is another favorite of hers. She’s always been a fan of building toys. Similar to Play-Doh, I try to give her an idea to start with before I let her play alone (e.g. a playground, a city, a castle). This way she can build stories around her creation.
One day, she combined Play-doh with magnet tiles to create a story about an ice-cream store for her animal figures. When one of the animals wasn’t tall enough to reach the store window, she asked me for help. I took the chance to talk to her about accessibility by building a stool for her animal to sit on.
- Drawing and Painting
This simple activity requires very little set up. Just some markers and papers would do. Sometimes I give her ideas about what to draw if she asks. But most of the time, she simply likes to create art on her own.
My daughter also gets new ideas from YouTube videos. Most recently, the creator of the “Pigeon” series of children’s books Mo Williams has launched a “Lunch Doodles” livestream video series. You can view them here.
So far, I let her alternate between these activities so she can’t do all of them every day. This helps keep her interested in them.
Finally, I tell myself that putting on a movie or letting her have screen time is not a sign of parental failure. We are all riding this unprecedented wave together—nobody expected this. It is important that we are kind to ourselves so that our children won’t be too harsh on themselves either in this trying time.
What are you doing with your children while being stuck at home? Leave a comment!
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