A Week of Lockdown Activities for the Kids (& Parents)

As we’re unable to spend time out and about at the moment, I thought it’d be helpful to make a wee list of activities to keep the kids entertained. I know how hard it is to keep my almost 3 year old entertained so I feel for all the parents out there. I’ve put together a weeks’ worth of ideas that are cheap and cheerful and don’t require a lot of equipment. Enjoy!

  1. Make some treats

Baking is a great way to entertain kids. It’s simple, fun to do and there’s a tasty treat at the end, perfect! If your kid is anything like mine and has a very short attention span, why not try making something super easy together- like chocolate nests with mini eggs, yum.

You’ll need the following ingredients:

200 g milk chocolate, 80 g shredded wheat or similar type of cereal, mini eggs for decoration

Melt the chocolate and mix with the shredded wheat. Put the mixture into cupcakes cases and leave in the fridge to harden. Decorate with the mini eggs and you’re done! You can also mix the melted chocolate with rice crispies, corn flakes or similar and add extras such a mini marshmallows or sprinkles.

2. Indoor Treasure Hunt

It’s so simple BUT sooo much fun for little ones. I used to love playing detective and looking for treasure when I was wee. You can make it any theme you want and the clues can be easier or trickier depending on the age of the kids.

The idea is to create a series of clues that the child needs to solve to get the next one and so on, and at the end they get the treasure- some chocolate coins, a toy or another prize relevant to the theme.

Check out this article by Persil for tips on preparing a treasure hunt: https://www.persil.com/uk/dirt-is-good/games/plan-treasure-hunt-kids.html

3. Have an Indoor Picnic

Grab a big blanket, set up a picnic area on the floor and gather all your favourite treats- sandwiches, cakes, crisps, dips, fruit…the list is endless. A super easy and fun way for the family to enjoy some food and quality time together. Kids will love it. Why not get them involved in preparing the food too?

4. Dressing Up

It’s a great idea to have a box to chuck some old clothes and dressing up bits in. Whether it’s an skirt, dress or shirt that doesn’t quite fit you anymore, Grandad’s hat or your auntie’s old feather boa, the kids will love to play dress up with these ‘vintage’ clothes. Necklaces and bracelets add even more colour and detail to those amazing homemade looks- just make sure they are safe to play with. You may even want to add in some face paints for maximum silliness.

5. Indoor Olympics

The Tokyo Olympics are now postponed until 2021 and many people will be disappointed, so why not recreate the excitement and spark the competitive spirit in your own home? The ‘sports’ can be anything you like- egg and spoon races, sprints, hula-hooping, trampolining- whatever you can set up indoors or the garden (if you’re luckier than me and have one). See how many stairs the kids can run up and down in 3 minutes- that will surely tire them out, right?! Chocolate coins make great medals for the winners ceremony.

6. Make your own toys

This one again can be as simple or detailed as you like. Grab a couple of loo roll tubes, string them together and make a snake. Get some paint out and make a family tree- paint a trunk and use fingerprints to make the leaves. Make some balloon animals. If you’re not feeling too crafty or you’re low on time, then why not try a kids artsy subscription box? I recently started getting the toucanBox for my almost 3 year old (see my previous blog post about it here).

7. Plant some flowers

My lovely parents picked up a few of the Little Garden seedling pots from Marks & Spencers for my eldest daughter. They come in little compostable pots and are ideal for putting on the windowsill if you don’t have any outdoor space for plants. The micro-cress and lettuce have made an appearance and we are patiently waiting for the forget-me-nots to sprout.

If you have a garden then get the kids involved. Weeding, planting seeds and watering the plants are all helpful tasks but also teach the children how to care for living things. It also helps them to learn about fruit and veg.

Please let me know in the comments what you and your family have been doing to keep busy during lockdown, I’m always looking for ideas. Keep safe x

Getting crafty with toucanBox

Today was a dreich day in Edinburgh (not a rarity), so we decided to skip our usual post-lunch walk and get stuck into the toucanBox instead. If you’re not familiar with this brand, it’s an arts and crafts subscription box for kids. It’s aimed at 3-8 year olds and the crafts on offer vary according to age. I thought I’d order one for Emma as it is hard enough trying to keep a toddler entertained in the current climate without having to constantly think of ideas myself.

Aaand I’m so glad I did! It comes addressed to the child (Emma loves a parcel) and is beautifully presented in a brightly coloured box. There are several different crafts each month and you pick two that you think your child would enjoy and is suitable for their age. We went for the dinosaur dress-up and nature bag. Emma loves anything dino-themed so that was a no-brainer, and the nature bag seemed great as the wee one can make it and then use it when out for walks or play time. It also comes with a mystery object (a magnet this time), stickers and a magazine choc-a-bloc full of ideas to keep your child’s brain engaged. In this month’s magazine there’s a recipe for pizza flatbreads, how to make a rocket (plus fuel!) and an experiment to create a slimey oobleck, plus lots of other fun and games.

The dinosaur dress-up was a big hit as I’d expected. It was fun and easy to create, and there was lots of roaring going on all round! Emma did proceed to pick all the decorations off her dinosaur tail…but I should mention she is not quite 3 yet which is the suggested minimum age, and she is obsessed with stickers and things, so it was a bit inevitable. There was much concentration involved in colouring in her triceratops mask, and I could see she was trying to colour different sections in with different colours.

I really loved the Nature Bag activity, and my husband helped with this one too. He and Emma followed the instructions and made the lovely bag. We waited *not so patiently* for it to dry then used the stencil to create the nature shapes. It came with 4 little seasonal ‘bingo’ cards- these can be popped in the Nature Bag and used for a scavenger hunt (we’re going to try this tomorrow with the Spring card).

This was our first time trying toucanBox and I would highly recommend trying it out. Especially any parents who are struggling to keep their wee ones occupied at the moment! I saw the ad online and signed up for 50% off our first box, and I have a 50% off code for anyone else that may want to try it out (I’ll also get 50% off for each person that signs up): https://www.toucanbox.com/friends/lorna-hg01

Please share your thoughts and recommendations on the toucanBox and any other kids subscription boxes that you love 🙂

Covid-19- Life in Lockdown

This is surreal. Unbelievable. And totally exhausting. I don’t need to go into much detail about the coronavirus as we’re all in the same boat- we’re around 10 days into lockdown now and it is taking it’s toll already. Highlight of the week is going to the supermarket and getting some ‘me’ time. This sounds so selfish but being stuck in our 2 bed flat with my husband (who is working from home), my two girls (aged 2.5 years and 4.5 months) and our large, bouncy lurcher is hard-going. I’m on maternity leave so I don’t have my job to distract me from being mummy. What I would give to meet my mum pals at a soft play right now and have a good old natter!

My elder daugher E is due to start nursery in August (hopefully?!) so she’s never really had any formal teaching routine before. Trying to get her interested in homeschooling was never going to happen as she’s fiercely independent with the attention span of a puppy (albeit an adorable one). Why are toddlers so hard to entertain! We have some semblance of a schedule each day, which is mainly dictated by the baby and when she wants fed (then I’m out of action for at least 45 mins). Get dressed, have breakfast, attempt yoga (Cosmic Kids on YouTube for the win), watch movie, help with chores, lunch, go for walk, arts and crafts, dinner, bath and bed….(HAH!) I’m lucky if I get halfway through one thing without being dragged in another direction.

But we’re getting through it, one day at a time…

The baby is teething at the moment and has been banshee shrieking periodically over the last few days. A lovely soundtrack for all the shit happening right now. Seriously though it’s such a shame, poor baby. She’s one tough cookie that’s for sure. Meningitis and sepsis at 6 weeks of age couldn’t stop her, so 2 tiny wee teeth aren’t going to get the better of her (especially with the help of Bonjela and Calpol).

My husband works in banking and was already set-up to be able to work from home so that’s great, but we don’t have an office and he works from a desk in our living room. While I’m looking after the kids in there. And the dog. Yeah, it feels like we’re tripping over each other a lot right now. We were due to move into our new build house in May/June by that’s all being delayed for obvious reasons but I want our extra bedrooms and garden now *exasperated sign*. I’m still on maternity leave and I miss being a vet and not ‘just’ mum all the time. I really feel for my colleagues who are still working and seeing emergencies at the moment. It is tough.

Forgive my cabin feveresque ranty post, it’s been cathartic. I hope you are well and keeping safe in these unprecedented and odd times. I keep reminding myself that it won’t be forever and we’ll be able to see our loved ones again soon. I know that I’m incredibly lucky compared to some- I have a job to go back to after mat leave, I have my beautiful supportive family and wonderful friends. And I’m healthy. There are many people out there who don’t have any of these things, and I hope they can get the help they need to get through these scary times.

I’d like to take a moment to big up our amazing NHS. We’re had our fair share of it’s benefits over the last year. There was the excellent care from my midwife Catriona throughout my pregnancy with baby Ivy, the Birth Centre midwife and student midwife who delivered her, the A&E staff who saw to my husband when he had an emergency GI issue and lost a lot of blood, and the paediatric A&E department who diagnosed Ivy with meningitis and sepsis and saved her life. I’ll be forever indebted to the NHS and the people who work for it are real life heroes. Thank you, for everything you all do, especially in these most frightening times.

Stay safe, stay home, help our NHS x