As many of us might be discovering, it can be challenging to entertain and educate children at home! (Who knew?) If you’re struggling for inspiration to bust through the boredom via learning, there’s plenty of resources out there – such as Alice Zsembery’s book, Real Kids, Real Play.
Released in late 2019, the book uses everyday items that you find around the home to create engaging and educational play experiences. The range of activities is also designed to burn energy and test different skills, such as gross motor skills, STEM, etc., and do not focus purely on messy crafts. But you’ll also find recipes for glue, paint, bath bombs, bubble bath and more.
Here is a taste of Real Kids, Real Play by Alice Zsembery. Available online at realkidsrealplay.com.au, Big W and all good bookstores, RRP $29.95.
These projects are designed for children aged 2-5 years:
Build your own track
What you need: Masking tape; little cars; blocks (optional)
Have you got a heap of cars but nowhere for them to drive? Masking tape can create a perfect road map and gives you the flexibility to even go up vertical slopes (like the side of the couch) for added amusement!
Both my boy and girl love playing with cars. But did you know that they are actually learning about the world around them whilst they play? Yes, this helps with their gross and fine-motor skills and cause-and-effect skills. However, they typically practise their language skills and learn concepts such as fast/slow, stop/go, up/down, and you can even introduce road rules.
Handy hint: We got out our blocks at the same time and made a little city around all the roads that we built, including fire stations, police stations and even a jail.
Scavenger hunts are just another way to build children’s problem-solving skills and provide mental and physical exercise. When working together, it’s also a learning opportunity on teamwork. This is a fun activity for around the home but be sure to tailor it to your child.
For this version, we tape images of various items to collect on top of an egg carton and start finding. The egg carton is not a necessity, but it provides a neat container to collect their goodies. This is for the older age group. Please ensure supervision at all times so that younger children are not exposed to choking hazards.
Handy hint:If you can get outside, create a nature scavenger hunt. If you can’t, then hunt for items around the home (things like a button, hair clip, paper clip, elastic band, etc.). Or to make it a little easier, colour in each compartment of the egg carton with a different colour and ask your child to find an item around the house that matches each colour.
Fill the cup
What you need: 3 clear cups; paper towel
Fill two cups with coloured water, fold a piece of paper towel and connect to a third (middle) cup. The result will be a great conversation starter.
A simple explanation for pre-schoolers is as follows. Paper towels absorb water. When you place the paper towel in the water, it absorbs it slowly up the length of the paper towel and all the way to the empty cup!
Looking for more inspiration? Here are some of our fave finds from around the web to encourage fun and learning while at home.
When it comes to inspiring ideas for toddlers, Mothercould is a popular suggestion on parenting forums. What we love? The simplicity. Many of the projects suggested – which you can also find on Facebook and Instagram – are easy and achievable. There is an emphasis on fun and many of the activities require items/ingredients that you already have at home.
Libraries ACT has collated an assortment of literacy and reading resources and activities you can access at home. There are eResources (accessible with your library membership) and plans for online story time. You can also access links to additional reading and literacy activities including cultural institutions that have a range of podcasts, webinars, family activities and more online; Better Reading podcast; Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems and more.
If you have young children, you’re probably familiar with Bluey, which screens on ABC Kids. What you may not realise is there is a whole range of activities you can do at home based off the hit show. Download activities such as word searches, spot the difference, colouring in pages or try your hand at some craft projects or recipes. If you’re allowing screen time, there are also two mini online games available through the website.