Saturday, 19 December 2009

Hours of fun without the TV

As a little bit of a change from seasonal discussions of what toys to buy, I thought I would provide you with a cheap and cheerful activity that has the potential to keep your pre-schoolers amused for hours. Yes, actually hours. Without the help of the TV. Shocking, I know.

This morning, Rosemary has spent almost the whole time between 6am and 9am, playing with some oats. She was baking cakes with them, making soup with them, giving her Snow White doll drinks with them, mashing potatoes with them, cutting them, stirring them, and occasionally even eating them.

And, as an added benefit, you can stick the baby in her chair and have her watch her big sister playing with oats. (Though you might want to point her more directly at her sister, so she doesn’t slump to the side in the chair.)

And then… you can sit back, relax and drink copious amounts of tea (or coffee, if you prefer) to wake up, without having to resort to Handy Manny or Dora the Explorer.

Sadly, I cannot claim to have invented this activity. It was all Rosemary’s idea.

So, do you have any activities like this that will amuse your children for hours on end without TV or spending a fortune?


  1. I know it's cliché, but Jay is in the 'cardboard box' phase. Thankfully my other half works from home and has to take regular stock deliveries, so boxes are fairly easy to come by. We don't even need to decorate them - this week's box has been a house, a cave, a boat, an aeroplane, a car, a train and a rocket going to the moon. As long as I'm nearby to add blankets/pillows/cars/dolls/snacks when needed then hours of fun is had and it can be dragged wherever I am so I can get on with household things.

  2. We have lots, playdough is a fav, as it salt dough too.

  3. Brilliant. I especially love the slumpy photo! Large collections of anything - like corks from wine bottles for example, seem to double up as all sorts of things and can generate hours of amusement.

  4. making play dough! The messy flour measuring, the cooking it, kneeding it and then making stuff with it - lasts all day but involves more than just drinking cups of tea by mum - so I think you got the best idea!!!

  5. Lovely pics! We're just starting to enter a box phase too, and monkey will play for hours at 'buses' with her doll and stuffed animals. I also recently bought a card making kit with a load of glitter, stickers and glue and she can merrily spend hours looking at them, taking them out of the tub and putting them back in. I love it that she's now getting to an age (20 mnths) where she is playing lots and lots of make believe, but I'm always looking for more things to do with her, especially when it's so cold outside.

  6. We do the same thing with oats! Eleanor is just gorgeous! I found my little one was constantly amused by his sister, it is such great entertainment for them.

  7. washing up. Bowl full of warm water and loads of plastic things to wash and a sponge. Hours of entertainment. Of course you have to mop up 3 inches of water from kitchen floor when she's done but still...

  8. What fun! So lovely to see the photos too, was wondering how little Eleanor was getting on. Her hair is amazing, she has lots more than Piran!

  9. The marble run. For children old enough not to put marbles in their mouths, of course.

    The wooden train track.

    The gravel in the back garden (move it from a heap on one side of the garden to make a heap on the other side, then move it back again.)

    A sink full of water with various utensils.
    (oh, Heather said this one).