I think we can all agree that being in lockdown is hard. Missing family, not being able to celebrate big events in our lives and for new time mums, potentially isolating. I had my son a few weeks before the original lockdown in the UK. This meant we couldn't see family, friends or even attend parent and baby groups. This is something not much changed nearly a year later. We had the great experience of doing Baby Bloom classes, during the brief respite from tough restrictions, which was amazing!
Now my son is 11 months old and he wants to be more active, more engaged and learning all the time. One of things I found tough was coming up with activities to do with him without being able to confer with other parents in the groups. So like every modern person, I had to turn to google. Some activities suggested were really good, others were somewhat lacking. Here are my top five!
1. Clean Painting
Painting is such a fun thing to do, however, at this age, all they
want to do is put it in their mouths and although we use non-toxic recommended paint, we still didn't want him to ingest it if possible. To solve this, we bought a large seal-able food bag,
placed the paper inside it, which splodges of paint. Sealed it (take out the air) and gave it to him. He loves it, he can hit the bag, use his fingers to move the paint around. Best thing yet, completely mess free on his part.
Once a fortnight we have a family baking day, sometimes its just me and bambino, other times Gray is there too. We make something really yummy, mostly cake... and we give bambino the utensils to lick after we have finished with them. Often this is followed by bath time as it can get really quite messy. Whilst he is waiting for his utensils, we give him a mini toy box specially for the kitchen. This has wooden animals and jigsaw pieces in for him to play with whilst we are cooking or baking.
3. Bath Swimming
This is an unusual one and a tad hard to describe. Due to Covid, the swimming baths have been closed, one of the things we desperately wanted to do is take our son swimming, an essential life skill for them to have. Instead, we had to buy him and inflatable baby pool seat, fill the bath up high and put him in, fully supervised. He loves it and has given him great confidence.
4. Clean Up
One thing we love to do together is clean up play. This usual involves me tidying up a room, whilst my son plays in the same room. I explain to him what I am doing an encourage him to engage with it. Sometimes this is him handing me clothes from the wash basket, other times its him pulling stuff out of a draw, I then pretend to sort them and explain to him what I am doing. We can spend many hours doing this together. I feel it is good to teach a child from a young age to tidy up and promote general cleanliness. Setting an example by showing him myself doing it.
5. Texture Play
So lastly on my list is texture play. Of course they have their toys, books and such, but I like to get a little more creative. Once I put dried pasta and rice in a food bag and let him feel and play with it. Listening to sounds it makes. Other time it is a mixture of foods and letting him use his hands. Another time it was cloths and other utensils in a basket. His favourite thing is his touch and feel books, we can read up to 10 times a day with them.