Tots love cooking, but their attention span won’t withstand a bake-a-thon. Cheat by letting your tot decorate shop-bought biscuits or fairy cakes. “Insiya stands on a chair and puts the icing and sweets on the cakes,” says Asma Mithani, mum to Insiya, two. “She gets a real sense of achievement from it. And it’s less messy than baking from scratch,”
Arm your little one with crayons, glue, card and decorations like feathers and ribbons, and let her unleash her inner Picasso. “Chaitali loves making pictures, cards and masks with paint, sequins and tissue paper,” says Arundhati Goenka, mum to Chaitali, two, and Jainil, eight months.
Party games always perk up a bored toddler—who cares if her birthday isn’t till November? Many need no equipment preparation or equipment, except for the CD player. Shove the furniture out of the way and get started on musical chairs or passing-the-cushion!
Having a ball
If ‘no ball games in the house!’ is one of your rules, think again. “Tushar’s obsessed with football, so if we can’t get outside I make a ball out of crumpled paper,” says Poornima Mahadevia, mum to Tushar, three. “He can kick it around without risking breaking a window,” she says. Just make sure your sowpieces are out of the way, she advises.
Shop till you drop
Toddlers love role-play, so set up shop in your front room. Raid the kitchen for tins, packets and bottles, and arrange them on the table. Give her a shopping bag, some small change and a ‘credit card’, then take it in turns to serve each other. You could even make price labels and help her to add up the total—fun math, eh?
Pick up a picnic
A carpet picnic for your little one’s dolls is a great way to make lunchtime more interesting. Spread out a blanket and prepare a feast in a basket—sandwiches, raisins, crackers and sliced up carrot and cucumber batons—are all healthy and relatively messfree. Then get the tea-set out so your tot can serve up a floorlevel feast.
Your budding Bill Gates would love to get her hands on your computer, so what better way to entertain her than with 30 minutes on the Internet? For toddler-friendly computer games and activities you can go online and find some.
If all else fails, nothing keeps a tot quiet like the TV. The UK’s National Literacy Trust says small amounts (up to 30 minutes a day for under-twos, and no more than an hour for three- to five-yearolds) can help your child rest and relax. “I don’t just park the kids in front of the children’s channels, though,” warns Disha Harlalka, mum to Digi, four, and Sasha, two. “They love watching wildlife programmes and Disney DVDs,” she says. And here’s the good news: it’s best to watch TV with your little one so you can talk about what happens. What better excuse for half-an-hour’s vegging in this weather? |MB