Ultimate Guide for New Parents – Pandemic Lockdown Activities for Toddlers
My boy: Mumma, are we going to the park today?
Me: No baba, I’m sorry but we can’t.
My boy: Why Mumma? Because outside corona is there?
Me: (clueless about how to explain to a 2.5yr old) yes baby, just a few days more…
This was the kind of conversation I would have with my son after he woke up from his afternoon naps when the lockdown was imposed. He had picked up words like ‘corona’, ‘no park’, ‘no going out’. But he has now stopped asking me about the park or a car drive. He’s probably gotten used to the idea of being indoors, which is a cause for worry. These little beings for no fault of theirs have been turned into captives when it is their age to run, jump, climb, fall, and rise.
We may not be left with much of a choice in these circumstances, but we need to make the most of the limited resources that we do have access to. Given the fact that we have a roof over our head and food on our table, I have little to complain about. But if you happen to be living in a home with good open spaces for kids to be able to run around, then I’d say you’re a little luckier than the likes of us who live in vertical homes, and thereby little toddlers having to curb their instincts in their limited spaces of dwelling during this unprecedented time.
That being said, here are a few lockdown activities by which I am currently managing with restricted means and measures to keep my feisty little fellow engaged, and my sanity in place albeit for microseconds in some instances, but such is the attention span of a toddler sometimes.
Lockdown activity no.1 – Clay Play
Oh the most simple yet delightful invention of clay has been a great engager these days and thanks to my very wise and foresighted husband, this was brought home just in the nick of time before the lockdown was announced. My little neanderthal (and me too) can sit for over an hour rolling out ‘parathas’ of different shapes, sizes, and colors. Since he’s been introduced to this recently, I try to sit with him through it all so I don’t have to dig out scraps from the couch the next day. Apart from developing his fine motor skills, he’s learning colors, shapes, and much more.
Lockdown activity no.2 – Build with Blocks
A proven savior for many parents since time immemorial. A no.1 in toy listings. Blocks are something that kids or even adults can never get bored of. Building, breaking, and rebuilding their ideas from scratch is a sight to see. Many times I have been astonished by what a 2-year-old can create out of this humble toy set.
Lockdown activity no.3 – Go Green
Creating a green space in our tiny balcony (can hardly call it one) was a herculean task. But I somehow managed to squeeze in a few pots with selected species. So with some guidance and a lot of rehearsals, the watering duties have now been assigned to my tiny elf. Does it get messy? Mostly yes! But isn’t gardening all about getting your hands (in this case the whole body) mucky and dirty? And of late he has even begun greeting the plants in the morning. Something that my mom used to do. Still does it actually…
Lockdown activity no.4 – Books are BFF’s
I had almost forgotten about this set of short stories that I had picked from a clearance sale. They’ve been coming in quite handy during this lockdown. With big illustrations and minimal text, they are just perfect to hold my kiddos interest as I read and enact the characters to him. The small quizzing in between the read helps me know that I’m pacing myself well in line with his understanding.
Lockdown activity no.5 – Creative Colouring
“Cayyonns… Mama gimme some cayyonns”. Suddenly the Picasso in him awakens. As selfish as it may sound, we don’t quite leave him unattended with his colors. Although given clear cut instructions about using them on nothing but paper only, he has still managed to flaunt his artwork on some walls, couch, floor, and even gave a try at glass painting on a window. Can something be done about it? Yes. Just try and recollect that childhood memory when you doodled your name in the corner of some wall in your house.
Lockdown activity no.6 – Do the Doodle
A magnetic doodle board proves a great canvas when you’re in no mood to sit it out through the activity. You can just let them be and allow their creativity to weave magic. This little smarty pants of mine even try to give me lessons on shapes, lines, and also helicopters on his tiny doodle board. It’s a nice tool to improve the pencil grip for young preschoolers as well.
Lockdown activity no.7 – Dance it Out
With outdoor playtime having taken a backseat with this current lockdown, physical engagements become very difficult, especially in confined spaces such as mine. Dancing is something that many kids enjoy and my jumpy little twinkle toes is no exception. It works as an excellent way for me to sweat it out as well, now that I’ve been missing my morning fitness regime.
Lockdown activity no.8 – Sing-a-long with Actions
Another light-hearted and engaging program that is becoming a big hit in our home. Right from nursery rhymes to peppy action songs and also hymns for children… we’re trying it all. It’s very entertaining to watch those tiny hands and feet try to catch up with the words. I have successfully cooked, done the dishes, folded laundry, and even mopped the floor; all of it, while keeping him engaged in these singing sprees.
These are just a few regular things that we do. But I’ll be honest and say that it is quite a challenge to make time and sit with him while all the household chores are glaring at you in the eye. I do not always have the energy left for it. For those times, I just have to pick up the remote and let the screen take over. I have to admit to being a little extra particular of the kind of content that he watches. Making sure it is mostly learning or semi-learning toddler programs.
I have intentionally not mentioned screen time as one of the lockdown activities, because firstly, I don’t really count it as one and secondly, you wouldn’t need me to tell you that, when you have a small reminder tugging at your shirt at almost every hour of the day, or worse, just knows how to put it on and press the right buttons (well, literally).
Let us know in the comments below how you dealt with keeping your Toddlers active and busy during this lockdown.
If you are planning to add cooking with kids in your list of lockdown activities, here is an interesting article to read; Cooking with Kids – Let’s Make it Fun.