When the girls were younger i spent so much time making toys for them and keeping them away from the telly. I am a firm believer in teaching life skills through play, letting their creative minds flow and letting kids be kids. Most of us had similar games when we were younger. We played mums and dads, we played doctors with our soft toys or dolls. I had polly pockets when i was growing up that i spent hours making up various adventures. Since my kids were born i've noticed how many of their toys are becoming electronic, batteries for this and batteries for that. 2 year olds have ipads, children are spending more time watching tv and it scared me that my kids would turn into the so called playstation generation.
My girls both love to read, one loves to get messy and one is very creative. I collect all sorts of things to use for rainy days which gives me and the kids abit of time together to just have fun. Both had a kitchen, a shop, a sandpit full of gooey things and endless amounts of small figures - farm animals, cars, fish. Even now they are older i still find them playing with the dolls house and the moshi monster figures, or setting up a loom band sale in their bedroom. Quite often they drag the painting sheet into the garden, call me to drag the craft box to them and happily sit outside and paint or build something.
As i had already done some searching, i thought id share some of my favourite past time activities and recently found imaginative play ideas. The original website/blog is linked so you can click through for the original post and tutorials.
This is one that i made when the kids were younger. It was a neighbour who original gave me the idea as i could not afford many toys. It is simply just a shoe box and painted lids. I did not use all the numbers though which would have been a fantastic addition.
Found via My Little 3 and Me
I am a fan of salt dough. We make all our christmas tree decorations with it. This is brilliant for introducing children to numbers and texture.
Founds via My Delicious Ambiguity
Another one i have tried and that the kids do still use. When they were little, we living in a flat with very little space. I had a 4 year old with plastic and felt food, a shopping trolley you name it, but she missed having a kitchen, the space just was not there. Doing a search on the internet i found some printables which i stuck to the top of the box. It doubles up as a handy storage area which is great for keeping the mess of the floor... ever stepped on a broccoli? It hurts :D
Found via Learn Play Imagine
This one is interesting. During the warmer months the kids enjoy playing with water balloons. I used to sit at the table and lob them at the ground near their feet. They loved it and i found it amusing :D Obviously not ideal for an indoor activity but had to share as i will be trying this when the sun reappears.
Here is another activity we also like to use water balloons for. Also from Learn Play Imagine
As a crafter, i have lots of pom poms. The kids like to glue them together for pictures of to create furries. I think this is something my youngest in particular would have enjoyed as a toddler. She was always hell bent on tipping everything out!
Found via Happy Hooligans
This is interesting. I made a similar thing years ago using the lids off jars and a printed pictures from the net, making them suitable for indoor use and less likely to smash a window when the inevitable paddy started. These could easily be varnished for long term use outdoors. I think even at 8 years old my daughter would still enjoy this. You could even print words onto them as well to aid with phonics and spelling. Lots of endless opportunities here.
Found Via One Perfect Day Blog
I mentioned that my kids liked to play with plastic food? Replacing the plastic and especially the wooden foods, was expensive for me. I sat down with a needle and thread and made felt foods using templates i drew on wrapping paper. Finding this, the frugal in me is giving me a kick! This is simply just sponges (dirt cheap) and paint (could make your own?) Even the kids could get involved with make it. If it breaks you havent spent alot.
Found via Learn Play Imagine (can you tell i like this page? :D)
Not one i have personally tried but i must! Having one creative and one messy child, this is a perfect activity to suit both. Quite simply it is baking soda and vinegar. LPI use kool aid but food colouring will work just as well. Once the foam has dried it will leave a lovely tie dye effect picture.
Found via Learn Play Imagine
This one i have tried. Not originally found on this site, i stumbled across it by chance. I left some jars out that had some dried up paint in the bottom. I was hanging up the washing and noticed the jars, inside was a very light green colour water. Since then we have collected rain water in small jars and added a few drops of food colouring. Free water colour painting :)
I really do wish i had found this when mine were babies! Any parents or those with babies in the family will understand the frustration of shoving baby wipes back into a packet before they dry up! This might keep them off the baby wipe packets for a wee bit :D
You can follow my Imaginative play board on pinterest where i will be adding lots more as and when i spend an hour googling. Feel free to follow me for various other frugal and crafty boards.
What is your favourite activities to do with the children in your family?