To be a parent means to be prepared, always. Yes, just like Boy Scouts. It helps to also be quick-witted and innovative, of course. If you can keep your baby busy without spending a lot of money, you are truly a super-parent. Here are some great ideas for keeping your baby entertained — and most importantly, they’re free.
If you want to cut down on screen time with your kids, but need to clean the house, cook or just take a few minutes for ourselves, it can be hard to think of fun things that will keep them distracted long enough. There are options, though. Sure, they take a bit more energy than just plopping a child in front of a screen, but encouraging your child to do something constructive is always worth the extra effort.
Here are 10 fun ways to keep your baby engaged & have so much fun while doing so.’
1. LEARN PHONICS BASICS
Teaching your child to read is one of the most wonderful gifts you will ever give him or her. Learning the basics of phonics (that is, the idea that letters make certain sounds), prepares kids for spelling and reading readiness.
You don’t have to sit still in a chair endlessly repeating letter sounds. Try activities that make learning phonics an adventure instead of a tedious lesson. Kids can play games (look for things that start with certain sounds), hunt for letters, make alphabet books, and even use a digital camera to bring their phonics lessons to life.
2. LET THEM HELP YOU.
If you’re cooking or cleaning, let them assist you. Give them a job they can handle. For young kids, that might be stringing beans or setting the table. For older kids, that might be slicing vegetables, sweeping the house or taking out the recycling. This not only keeps them busy, but also prepares them for taking responsibilities of chores.
3. DESIGN A TREASURE HUNT.
Hide something like a coin or a sticker somewhere in the house. Give your kids a clue, and let them run wild trying to find it. If you make it a bit tricky to find, you’ll build up their resilience—and their ability to find things without begging for your help.
4. HAVE THEM MAKE THEIR OWN CARTOON.
Instead of watching cartoons, have your children make their own. Give them a piece of paper and some crayons, and ask them to draw you a hero and a bad guy. When they’re done, let them come back and tell you their hero’s story.
5. LISTEN TO AN AUDIOBOOK.
If your child’s too young to read independently, pick up audio versions of their favourite books. Let them sit down and turn the pages while listening to a friendly voice read to them. Or, if you can’t find a recording, use your phone to make one yourself.
6. CREATE A SCAVENGER HUNT.
You don’t need to make a whole list—just say, “Find me something that starts with the letter B,” and let them run around the house searching. To keep your kids motivated, you might reward them by letting them choose a dish for dinner once they’ve found 10 things.
7. PLANT A GARDEN.
There’s more to planting a garden than sticking a seed in the ground and waiting for something to grow. Gardens are lessons in science, nutrition, and patience all rolled into one plot of dirt in your backyard.
A garden teaches pre-schoolers how plants come to life. It’s also an easy way to teach them about nutrition and get them excited about eating the vegetables he’s grown. School-going children can keep a gardening journal, study a plant’s scientific name, and grow more difficult plants.
8. TEACH THEM MATH.
Math is an easy subject to teach because it’s all around us. Add the number of people waiting at a restaurant. Divide the number of soccer players on the field by the number of water bottles on the bench to see how many people don’t have anything to drink.
For pre-schoolers, your future math whiz can get an early start on number recognition (look for digits when playing “I Spy”) and learning to count. For school-age children, tackle fractions and other advanced math problems with math games, an abacus, and even cookies!
9. ENCOURAGE OUTDOOR PLAY.
Don’t forget how your parents kept you busy. Just give your child a ball and a stick, and let them run wild. If you’re worried about their safety, just keep them in sight. They’ll be fine.
10. GIVE NEW TOOLS TO EXPLORE.
Handing a child a new tool can keep them occupied for a pretty long time. Give your kids a flashlight, a combination lock or a magnifying glass, and let them figure out how it works for themselves.
Also, try giving your child a baby camera. They’ll stay distracted making selfies and videos long enough for you to get something done. Afterward, you’ll get to see what the world looks like through your child’s eyes.
What is your favourite way to keep your child busy & what is your story behind it? Tell us in the comments below!
1.Children love being assigned tasks because:
- They love being responsible, it makes them feel like they can achieve something
- They love doing things their way, not having rules to follow
2.It’s important to be involved in activities around your child because:
- It’s a great way to connect with them, learning a lot about their likes/dislikes
- It’s important they don’t spend too much time playing alone