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Having fun indoors with your toddler

Reading time: 0-15 minutes

Kids love to play, and there’s no reason why they can’t be burning up all that energy indoors too. Here are some games you can play in the comfort of your own home when the weather’s a bit rubbish outside, or when you have a little spare time together. You may have tried some of them already, but hopefully you’ll find some new inspiration!

What the parents say

Tip #1: Bubbles

Blow bubbles around the house and watch your child have fun chasing after them and making them go ‘pop!’

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Tip #2: Homemade bubbles

Making your own bubbles together can be just as much fun as chasing after them! Mix one cup of water, a small amount of washing up liquid, and 4 teaspoons of sugar for the best kind of bubbles.

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Tip #3: Paint play

Tip #3: Paint play

Tip #3: Paint play

Playing around with paints is a great way to help them learn, and keep them happy and entertained at the same time.

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Tip #4: Copy cat

Stuck inside on a rainy day? Burn off some energy by getting your child to try and copy everything you do. Try hopping across the room, or how about some star jumps?

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Tip #5: Kitchen disco

Tip #5: Kitchen disco

Tip #5: Kitchen disco

Your toddler can get a little restless waiting for their dinner, so it’s a great time to turn your kitchen into the best disco in town! Pop on your favourite music, and show your toddler how to boogie.

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Tip #6 Pasta shakers

Tip #6 Pasta shakers

Tip #6 Pasta shakers

Make your own musical instruments with just a plastic bottle and some dried pasta. They can fill up the bottles, but you may want to make sure that you help with tightening the lid to avoid any mess!

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Tip #7: Indoor golf

Indoor golf is easier than you might think – scrunch up some paper for a ball and use a cardboard tube for your club. Then all you’ll need is something to aim for – a basin or an empty box. Try putting different objects at different distances.

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Tip #8: Strike!

Create your very own indoor ten pin bowl alley in the comfort of your own home – all you need are empty plastic bottles or loo rolls, and a rolled up sock for the ball.

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Tip #9: Cushion play

Tip #9: Cushion play

Tip #9: Cushion play

Chairs, cushions and blankets could be all you need to make a castle, a tent, or a secret fort. There’s no end to the fun you can have, and your child will love their new secret hiding place.

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Tip #10: Dress up

Have fun playing ‘dress up’. Find some grown-up clothes like shirts, ties or aprons for your child to dress up in. Let them mix and match different outfits, and don’t forget to snap some photos for the family album!

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Tip #11: Obstacle course

Build an obstacle course out of cushions for them to climb over and jump on.

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Tip #12: Throwing fun

Screw up some paper into little balls, and see who can throw them the furthest. You could also get your child to try and aim for a basket or target. If it gets too easy, move the basket or target a bit further away.

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Tip #13: A quacking game

Make bath times a bit more fun for your wee one with bubbles and rubber ducks. Can you put bubble hair on the rubber duck?

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Tip #14: Sink or float?

Tip #14: Sink or float?

Tip #14: Sink or float?

Bath times can be a nice way to finish a day of play. Test out which objects around you float or sink – try with things to hand, like the soap or a rubber duck.

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What the professionals say

"Many busy families find it hard to set aside even half an hour each day to play, but you can make everyday activities playful. Let them push the vacuum cleaner, give them a duster to polish alongside you, play peek-a-boo under the duvet as you make the beds, let them help to make the sandwiches for lunch, wash up any plastic dishes, or set the table. It does take twice as long but they’ll love it – and does it really matter if the sandwiches are lop-sided?"

Christine Puckering, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Glasgow University

More information

Our Community & Support page has lots of different places to look for support. 

Last updated: 16 Nov, 2018


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