You are away from your child’s usual toys, games, DVD player and at your folk’s house; or maybe an Aunt.
The supply of things you brought are losing their appeal. After all you can’t bring everything. So what can you find and use at their house.
Here are 11 homegrown activities we’ve used in the past that worked for us.
1. Make homemade bubbles.
No matter what the age, kids love this activity. They can help mix the bubbles. We used 1 cup of Washing up liquid to 8 cups of water. Pinch of sugar to bind. Leave for 2 hours or overnight.
* Straws to blow into the water to create bubbles.
* Rims from water bottles we pulled off to blow through.
* We also bought bubble accessory kits and bubble kits. Go out in the wind!
2. Dressing up
* With their permission, explore the different clothes they have in their wardrobe, attic, chest or closet.
* Try to find interesting things, older things classic things.
* Talk about the items. Maybe the Aunt or Granddad has a story or music that goes along with the item of clothing. Ideas: ties, belts, blouses from yesteryear different shoes.
* Look at texture, style and color. Dress them like their Grandad or Grandma.
* Use the clothes to make them into something make-believe.
* Encourage your hosts to share funny, interesting, family stories. Maybe there is an interesting object they can start their story from like: brooches, medals, and pieces of furniture; special books, and books you read when you were at home.
When I was younger, I remember, I used to love to look at perfume bottles. They came in all shapes and sizes and were good for a good sniff.
My favorite one was a snowman one that you took off his hat and the perfume was inside. I was eventually given it. Still have it as an ornament.
4. Photo albums
* Show them pictures of you and your family when you were smaller. Kids are fascinated with what you looked like when you were smaller, things you did, the old bike in the shed you used to ride all the time.
* Talk about the fun things and try some of them with your kids.
* Explore the photo frames or photographs on display in the house- play guess who and guess how old?
5. Create a space
* Find a sheet and make a tent with an indoor airier or two chairs together.
* Read stories inside; pretend you are on holiday at the beach.
* Remember Mr. Benn? Go inside and come out somewhere else. (Beach, Wendy house, castle, supermarket, the moon)
* Raid the cupboard for plastic cups and plates; start your own restaurant or have a tea party.
* Crawl under and around the furniture to make an assault course. But get permission to go over and on J
6. Find the local charity shop
Charity shops are a haven for so many things.
* You can get lots of children’s books in good or decent condition and a wide variety to read to the kids whilst they are away from home.
* When you are going home donate them back to another or the same shop.
* You can do the same with toys and dressing up clothes.
7. Toy library
* If you are unfamiliar with how great it is to be a member of a toy library look here Uk or here US
* It maybe worth your while joining while you are there to get to know other kids and parents as well as use the toys, especially if you return regularly.
* Some memberships are free or a small subscription and most have lots of different services. Find your local one UK or a listing here US and get stuck in.
8. Playgroups and libraries
Story time is always going on somewhere.
* Visit the local library to find out this and other local things to do.
* There may have little cards that advertise local playgroups to visit.
* You can hop from one playgroup to the other paying a small entrance fee and your child gets to play with playdoh and messy play there without you needing to provide this at your host’s home.
* You might make some friends to visit next time you are back.
9. Newspaper, junk mail, magazines old and new.
There is no end to the games you can play with newspaper.
Here are just a few.
* Make stepping stones in your lounge with large sheets of paper. Encourage balancing to move across, watching out for the crocodiles lurking on the floor.
* Jump from one to the other increase the distance but take care with slipping.
* Scrunch up the paper into balls.
* Tear them into strips,
* Fold them into fans;
* Cut them up into tiny pieces over a bag for easy clean up.
* Make paper pirate hats.
* Cut out lots of faces or letters.
* Sort into colors.
* Make up stories using the pictures.
* Stuff the used envelopes and post into a pretend box.
10. Masking tape
* Mark shapes (triangles, square, cross, diamond etc) on the floor (Use different sizes of triangles etc as well) and balance by walking around them. Use a long line and see if they can walk it without falling off,
* Try blind folded (scarves t-shirt etc).
* Play a form of twister using the shapes.
* Stand in the middle of the shapes and call out a shape and be the first one to stand on it.
11. Post it notes
* Draw a series of pictures or the entire alphabet on separate post it notes; the more the merrier. Do this with your child. Let them give you ideas or draw them.
* Walk around the house and post them at their level everywhere.
* Return to a central point- couch sounds a good place J
* Say, point, draw, show from a book, and ask them for one of the objects or letters. Where is it? They’ll hopefully tell you a place.
* Off they go and search for it. Up and down, in and out.
* This game can take a long time. I suggest you don’t mix things up too much otherwise you’ll be searching around for ages with your annoyed child trying to find it when they can’t.
* They bring you the post it notes. You compare drawings, picture or symbol to check it’s correct. This is a perfect game for cooperation. You can go and find all/some of the objects/pictures sometimes.
Guaranteed to wear them out if they can’t go outside to let off steam (because it’s a rainy day, too cold, apartment, too dark etc)
Let’s hope these ideas inspire you to try some new things when you go visiting. Don’t worry that you can’t take all your child’s favorite things. There will always be the ball parks, jungle gyms, ipods and personal DVD players.
Instead, you have an opportunity to spend some time with your child in a new environment. It’s exciting and you discover the unknown together; learn and try a new play activity.
This type of entertainment doesn’t require much, except your time, your children and bags of patience and fun. Stuff you’ll have lots of at Grandmaâ€™s house.
What play-activities do you enjoy away from home?