We often talk about how difficult it is to keep children busy during holidays and most of us can’t wait for schools to start again. Many of us also make use of the summer camps that are organized during these times. There are numerous courses and classes in which we can enroll our child to make the holidays worth it and so that they learn or acquire some new skill. But, is it really so tough to keep them occupied? Here are some stuff that I and my 3 years old enjoy and it teaches her plenty and requires no expensive toys or pre-planned activity.
Pre-schoolers can form the best helpers. They are eager to help and they enjoy doing stuff that they see elders doing. One of my daughter’s favorite activity is taking a duster and a spray bottle full of water and clean the table, walls, floor whatever she feels like. She can easily spend 1-2 hours playing with it. The trick is to give only limited amount of water so that they cannot make too big a mess.
She loves to imitate my maid and now she has a special, new, plastic broom only for her. It is great fun to watch her trying to sweep under the couch and she knows where she is supposed to keep it. I also feel such activities make them respect labor and not to look upon any work as low or beneath them.
My little girl loves being in kitchen. She loves whisking the eggs, so whenever we make an omelet, it is her job to whisk the eggs. She does it beautifully and now knows the recipe. So I wait for her to tell me, “Mumma, add salt now, onions, tomatoes….”.
We even made muffins together and she did most of the mixing. Bonus is that she loves eating what she has helped prepare.
We Roll/ Cook
I allow her to roll a chapatti whenever she wants and she usually take that bit of dough away to play with it. Trust me, you cannot have a better exercise for developing motor skills. The joy on her face once she has rolled is priceless. You can also involve a child in helping you peel peas or clean leaves like mint, curry leaves etc. I wonder at the focus with which my little girl does stuff when she is helping.
We do gardening
I have a small set of plants in my balcony and she loves watering the plants with her little watering hose. She loves getting her hands dirty with soil and knows about seeds and how plants grow. She is also developing a love for plants and it is common for us to see her saying good night or good morning to them.
We go outdoors
We go to park and for walks every day. She loves her time on swings and slides. We run together in the corridors, look at the stars and moon. She usually points to the moon and tells if it’s a crescent, half or full moon or if it is playing peekaboo behind the clouds.
We love books and usually read 4-5 books every day and sometimes more. There are few of her favourite books which she wants to read almost every day, others we rotate. She even reads them alone and can spend some time with her favourite books.
We Play School/ Pretend play
Children are very creative and they make up their own games if given the opportunity. There is no need to choreograph every activity for them.
One of my little girl’s favourite games at home is pretend-playing school. She usually puts some of her stuffed toys in a row and then she becomes the teacher. It is a joy watching her singing rhymes and teaching ABC to her students. Sometimes she too wants to be in the class and then asks me to be the teacher which I happily oblige. Great opportunity to revise stuff which we have learnt like flowers or fruits or animals!
She loves playing in her inflatable pool even when there is no water. It becomes a nest and her little stuffed toys become baby dinosaurs and she is mummy dino. We only join her if she wants us to, else she plays independently.
So these are some of the ways my little girl keeps herself busy during holidays without any expensive toys or classes. I have always believed that kids do not need plenty to keep them entertained and it keeps getting reiterated as she prefers playing with cardboard box rather than the toy that it housed or singing on a DIY kitchen roll microphone than her pricey FP guitar.