Now in our second lockdown and as we all begin to adjust to our new ‘normal’ of being and working from home with young children in tow, we thought we would offer some virtual support and advice on ways to keep your busy and energetic pre-schoolers occupied at home. 

We’ve sought advice and inspiration from the ‘Outstanding’ Pebbles Childcare who have offered a range of activity ideas and games to suit a range of personalities! 

Children of this age (3+) are usually beginning to display high amounts of independence and concentration and are keen to develop and extend their own play and learning. 

For many children, they may prefer you to set-up/provide the resources needed for the activity,  and explore and investigate these experiences independently. 

Similarly, you may also notice that children can focus on an activity for longer periods and if their interest is captured enough you may find they are able to focus on an activity or experience for extended periods of time and may even re-visit and activity numerous times throughout the day. But you know your child best and so you know what will work best for your child and buy you enough time to send an email and enjoy a hot cup of tea!

‘Sensory Soup’ is a fantastic sensory experience for children of this age group and can be done indoors or outdoors depending on what you have available.

A large bowl or under bed storage box is just the right size to add water, chop some citrus fruits (oranges, limes, lemons work the best!) and also add some flower petals and leaves alongside spoons and containers if you have any to hand and voila, there you have it! You’ll be surprised how busy children can be at a water play station such as this and how a simple act of emptying, filling and transporting can occupy their minds for a significant period of time.

As we discussed above, children of this age are really beginning to develop their independence and demonstrating what they can do by themselves! Encouraging the children to serve/make their own breakfast or lunch or even help make snacks and treats for the family or younger siblings really enhances their sense of responsibility and is the best time to really focus on and develop those skills that children will need to develop in later life, but allowing them the independence and freedom to chop fruit, be independent in the cake making process, follow instructions and be hands-on and involved in mealtime routines will be so beneficial for them and create some wonderful memories too!

Children of this age love to problem solve and construct, so why not combine the two with a simple marble run activity? If you don’t have a marble run, why not create one with your child using cardboard tubes and balls?! 

If your child is a physical child and needs more physical stimulation; how about creating a ‘Sofa Soft play’ combining sofa cushions and pillows on the floor for them to jump and climb across/around safely?

Perhaps your child prefers more sedate, independent play? Then simple puzzles or drawing opportunities could keep them entertained!

Activities such as threading cards, nuts and bolts, using tools to construct and de-construct items not only require persistence and concentration but intricate fine motor skills which will support children in developing the skills needed to become more independent in using zips and fastenings.

In such unprecedented times, children may be picking up on stress and worries and so it is important for them to have somewhere to channel any difficult or big emotions they may be feeling and so accessing simple Yoga and Mindfulness exercises can be a really positive experience for the whole family and allow children to explore and channel emotions they perhaps struggle to talk about or express adequately; factoring in small mindfulness or yoga exercises each day will have a positive impact on children’s mental health and well-being during these confusing times. Child-friendly yoga and mindfulness sessions can be easily found on Youtube – Cosmic Kids is a great focus for children and you’ll definitely be able to find a themed session to suit your child’s individual interests 

Hopefully, you’ve found this little guide useful and found something suitable for your child, perhaps adapt or amend some ideas to factor in your child’s favourite character or interest!

With the limit on daily exercise lifted for this lockdown, don’t underestimate the benefit of getting outdoors with your child too, just run off some steam chasing waves at the beach, go on a hunt for Stickman in the woods or challenge them to climb different trees – fresh air is brilliant not only for mental health but also will contribute to a good night sleep for all!

With special thanks to Chloe Webster – registered childminder and Under 5s specialist!

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