With preschools and childcare centers being closed for COVID-19, it’s thrown a lot of parents into unknown territory — or at least territory that they haven’t been in in quite a while. Since I work from home on a regular basis, having two kids at home full-time isn’t new to me. I’m totally used to the never-ending questions, the begging for snacks all day and the “bored in 5 seconds” game.
While having a perfectly planned schedule of things to do in place for the next two months IS possible, it doesn’t mean that it will always go your way… because, each day at home with toddlers and young children is a different day. While the normal things take place every day — brushing teeth, breakfast, lunch and dinner, etc. — it’s the other stuff that sometimes just doesn’t work out when a toddler isn’t entertained — playing with a pristine wood kitchen that has all the bells and whistles or learning their shapes and numbers with the $65 lesson you paid for. Sometimes, we just have to wing it, and honestly, those times are usually when the kids are entertained for hours.
There are some supplies that I always have on hand at the house just in case one of those times comes up, because they’ve proven to work and often make for the simplest of things to do. Below is a list of those few supplies and some of the activities we use them for!
1. Crayons – Are you even a parent if you don’t have crayons in your house?! Crayons never fail when it comes to crafts. They can be used for literally everything, from just coloring a picture, to writing a letter, to rubbing activities to even melting them.
Whenever I’m about to whip up something for the boys to do on the spot, I bring out the crayons. It’s like I’m on auto-pilot, I just grab them by memory.
2. Cardstock – Cardstock is the main paper I use for pretty much everything. I’ve never been the biggest fan of construction paper, mainly because of how easily it rips.
Cardstock is the best paper for crafting, cutting, shaping and just about everything else, in my opinion! It’s great quality and it goes a long way. It’s perfect for doing hand prints or making cards — I even use it when making decorations for birthday parties!
3. Glue Sticks – If it fits, it sticks. I swear I find a glue stick in every drawer of my house, that’s how often we use them. For some reason, kids love using glue sticks and they are the least messy of glues. So, yeah.
4. Crayola Washable Paint – This is pretty much the only paint I use with the boys. It’s completely washable, yet still dries really vibrant and colorful (especially on cardstock). It works well for any kind of painting, whether it’s by paintbrush or by hands! It’s also fun to use to paint rocks or even ice!
5. Rice, Beans or Oats – Any of these non perishables will do, but they are a must-have for me to keep around the house. They are perfect for dumping in a plastic bucket and creating sensory bins with! Some people even dye their rice different colors to add to the fun.
Check out our sea life sensory bin that we made last year here!
6. Shaving Cream – While this may also seem like any ordinary household item, shaving cream actually makes for some really great and random activities.
You can have your little ones make drawings or write letters with their fingers in shaving cream, let them play in the bath with it, make sensory bottles with it, make play-doh with it and much more. You’ll never look at your shaving cream the same way after!
7. Felt – Felt is super cheap and easy to find. Having it available is great because it can be a good time consumer for cutting practice. I’ve also made “puzzles” with felt that the boys really love taking apart and putting back together. Check out the one I made for a quiet bag below!
8. Cardboard Box — or two! – As the saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure! Kids love boxes! You give them one and it will probably make for all day fun.
Anyone with an imagination knows that a box can be a rocket ship, a washing machine, a fort, a house or anything you decide it to be. Either way, it’s great to have one available for the most boring of days!
Try out this great DIY collapsible cardboard house tutorial by SheKnows!
9. Toilet Paper/Paper Towel Rolls – I may sound like a hoarder, but I try to save empty toilet paper rolls aside for one of those random craft days. The possibilities with toilet paper rolls are endless — they easily work as binoculars, castles and mazes for marbles. Here a few more ideas on how to use TP rolls from other blogs:
– Happy Toddler Playtime – 65+ Easy Toilet Paper Roll Activities
– Simple Everyday Mom – Toilet Paper Roll Olaf Craft
– Paper Scissors Craft – How to Make Homemade Stamps For Kids
10. Paper Plates – There’s just something about recyclable paper products that make for great crafting. I use paper plates when I don’t want a huge mess all over my counter tops or tables. They can be used for just putting paint on (like a palette) or to make a full craft such an animal, wreath and lots more. Here are some more ideas.
It’s okay not to have everything planned, because sometimes coming up with things to do on the spot are the most fun! Having these few supplies on hand can help with that!
Hopefully you can use some of these ideas while being safe and healthy in your own home during this time. Thanks for reading!