children playing together: activities to keep kids busy at home that are also good for their development

Need to keep the kids busy at home? Baby’s First Sitter have just the thing to make your life as a parent easier. Plus, children actually learn 10 times faster when they learn through play so it’s a win-win situation!

Try one (or all!) of these brilliant ideas to keep kids entertained at home. They should all, of course, be supervised at all times.

Sensory play ideas for keeping kids entertained at home 

What is sensory play? The name explains it all: this type of play allows your child to explore all their senses. By virtue of igniting multiple senses through play you are increasing your child’s sensory skill development as well as their motor skills (both fine and gross – small and large movement).

Children will become more engrossed as they discover new things so these activities are a great way to keep their attention.

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Sensory play activity: Jelly Rescue game

Whip up a big bowl of jelly and place the toys into the jelly mix before leaving it to set in the fridge. Remove the jelly from the fridge and have your kids ‘rescue’ the hidden items. You can take the game a step further by asking your kids to write down what the object is, and what colour it is, after they’ve rescued it.

sensory play activities to keep kids entertained at home: jelly rescue game

Sensory play activity: Macaroni necklace game

You can get super creative with this fun activity to keep the kids busy while you’re stuck at home.

sensory play activities for kids: macaroni necklace

First, use food colouring to dye the (uncooked!) macaroni – this is interactive already as you can get the kids to help you with this step. Use Ziploc bags to mix the dye with the macaroni, let it sit for a few minutes and pour out onto paper towel to dry.

While waiting for the pasta to dry, get some paper, glue and a shoe lace (or thread) ready. Then set out small paper ‘key cards’ with different colour combinations on them (this will need to be drawn by an adult). The kids can use these ‘key cards’ to thread the macaroni, one by one to make a necklace. For younger kids, just let them thread pasta onto the shoe lace at random – they’ll have just as much fun!

sensory play: activities to keep kids busy at home macaroni necklacesSensory play activity: coloured rice game

Use food colouring to dye rice (follow the same steps as above for macaroni necklaces) then play one of these two games.

  1. Set out the colourful rice like a rainbow, with some space between the colours. Have your kids match up their toys with the colours of each stripe.
  2. Bury objects in the rice. Have your kids dig them out with their eyes closed, guessing what they’re holding before they open their eyes.

Expert tip: make packing the toys away neatly part of the activity so you’re not left sorting out the mess!

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In-hand manipulation play ideas for keeping kids entertained at home 

This type of task helps to develop the fine motor skills and requires that the child use one hand to manoeuvre an object. There are a number of little ‘games’ you can play, including:

activities to keep kids busy at home that are also good for their development: child putting money into piggy bank

  1. Placing coins in a piggy bank.
  2. Holding 2 small balls in one hand, circle them around each other continuously, without dropping them!
  3. Using crayons, spaghetti or sticks. Pick up one at a time using one hand only, and challenge your kiddo to pick up as many as possible.

More ideas for entertaining kids at home & how to keep their attention for longer

A little trick for keeping toddler’s attention for longer is to create play tasks that you can build on. For example:

  • Start with a box or large piece of cardboard, magazines, scissors and glue. If you have a box, start by cutting it apart to create one large surface.
  • Tell the kids to find pictures of things they would find on the dinner table, and cut them out.
  • Then challenge the kids to glue them in place settings to resemble a dinner table!

Or…

  • Plan a home obstacle course.
  • Get the kids to collect the goods needed.
  • Get the kids to construct the obstacle course.
  • Then do the obstacle course with the kids!

There are so many interesting and exciting ways to entertain children, as well as yourself, while you’re at home – you just have to be willing to take a little bit of time to engage in creating new ideas.

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Twins Candace and Cindy are the parents of Baby’s First Sitter and they take pride in creating better connections between families and sitters. At Baby’s First Sitter our core principles, both individually and collectively, encompass love, family, connection, community, support, excellence and experience. Baby’s First Sitter is more than just an agency, it’s a family and community of support. Our quality promise is a bouquet of professional, vetted and passionate sitters who engage with your children and go the extra mile. Reliable, same-day bookings, night nurses, au pair and nanny placements, and special needs care. We have you covered!