Keeping a 2-4 year old from getting bored is a Herculean task. No matter how many toys or games or puzzles, no matter whether you've gone to the park or for swimming or soft play, there will come a point in the day when you hear those three dreaded words: 'Mummy, I'm bored'. And while the i-pad or TV can be a welcome break for us, it's not always the best alternative for them. So I've put together 26 food-based activities (one for each letter of the alphabet) you can try with your child on a rainy day, or when boredom strikes! That's almost a month of activities, folks:)
WARNING: THERE WILL BE MESS!
PS: All activities MUST be supervised at ALL times.
A – Apple block-painting
Cut an apple in half
Dip it in paint
Paste onto paper in different shapes.
A twist on hand-painting, or just plain painting, and lots of scope to get creative!
B – Make a Banana milkshake together
Kids love bananas. And they love milkshakes.
A banana is an easy fruit for them to cut into pieces (with a plastic children's eating knife, of course).
Let them help you blend the banana and milk, they will love the whirring and mixing.
C – Cheerio-beads necklace
Older kids, especially girls, love a bit of bead-making. Ditch the store-bought beads and go for their favourite cheerios instead; string together to make a fun and edible necklace. You don't have to worry about them putting the beads in their mouth; it's an activity that takes a reasonable amount of time and it improves their hand-eye co-ordination. Win win win.
D – Drinks on the menu!
Let your child become bartender for a day. Give them a beaker of water and some food colourings and let them go wild mixing. You (and they) will be amazed at the different colours their experimentation will bring about. Cheers!
E – Egg-shell craft
This is a bit over-the-top I know but the idea just came to me and I think it might be pretty cool! Go quirky by adding eggshells to your craft work. Paint on them. Draw on them. Stick them onto stuff. The world's your
oyster egg-shell, baby!
F – Flour play-doh
Play-doh. What's not to like? Make your own fun food version by mixing some flour with water.
G – Grated carrots
Those tiny, thin streaks of grated carrot can make for some fun decorations – on paper or on your plate.
H – All about herbs
Make crafting different by using herbs instead of glitter and sparkles, and see what creations your child comes up with…
I – Ice and Icing
There's a lot of fun to be had with ice. Children love the texture and trying to keep it from sliding away… there are so many games you could invent with a big baking tray, a couple of ice cubes and a dose of creativity.
Alternatively, get baking and get them to do decorative icing on the cake/ muffins/ cookies. ALL KIDS LOVE ICING!
J – Jelly
Kids love the 'wobbly' texture of jelly. This will be immensely messy but let your baby/ toddler squish and squash and ooze the jelly out of his or her hands… it's great for their sensory development and to learn about new textures.
K – Ketchup collage
Go a bit crazy with your next painting session, and see how ketchup looks on paper? Get more creative by adding colours to it and discovering the new colours that your concoction churns up. Put in a water gun for more fun. Just be sure to wear aprons!
Alternatively, make ketchup art on your bread, like this…
L – Lentiloscope
Why buy a kaleidoscope when you can make one with a transparent plastic bottle and different coloured lentils? Just fill the bottle with layers of red, green, yellow lentils and seal the cap. A fun way to teach your toddler about colours and if they fancy some fun, let them shake it around to get a lovely mix of coloured dots.
M – M & M's
Ok, this one could be tricky (I mean which kid – or mum – can resist eating these gems?). But once you've crossed that barrier, these colourful dots can open up a world of fun. Decorating a cake, sticking them onto a felt cloth or a paper plate adding that crunch to your craft, or just practicing colours… a packet of these could lead to some serious fun!
N – Noodles
Again, a great addition to craftwork (think painting those strips and sticking on as hair?). Or stick a bunch together and make a noodle necklace (improves hand-eye co-ordination).
O – Experiment with omelettes
Ah, who doesn't enjoy a good ol' omelette? And there's SO MUCH one can add to it. Get your aprons on, and get cooking. Mix in whatever you and your toddler fancy (ok, not Oreo cookies or Kinder eggs, but you get my point) and whip up a delicious and healthy snack/ meal. Nothing makes a toddler want to eat something more than when he or she has helped make it.
P – Potato heads
This is one of my favourite food-based activities. There is so much fun to be had with a potato, some markers and little stick-ons. Make all kinds of faces – potato heads – and enjoy a potato puppet show wherever and whenever you like!
Q – Quiche
This one's more about cooking than crafting. Get the base for a quiche and let your kids make their own filling, adding veggies and other tid bits of their choice. You never know, you could just get a delicious new dinner on the cards! Kids love to be little chefs.
R – Rice
Use this basic ingredient to keep babies and toddlers entertained. Give babies a big plastic bowl and a handful of rice and let them explore the texture and the feel of it slipping through their hands – BUT DO SUPERVISE THEM AS THEY COULD CHOKE IF THEY PUT IT IN THEIR MOUTH.
Toddlers, on the other hand, can use the rice to stick, paint or just mess around with.
S – Sieve anything!
Immense fun can be had with a sieve and some flour. Messy again, but sit your baby/toddler on the floor on a large disposable mat/ newspapers and let them have a field day passing the flour through the sieve.
T – Taco Tunnels
Whilst you're prepping the filling for the tacos, let your kids use the taco shells as
a) Spaceships b) a train carrying whatever cargo they wish to put inside c) or use a chain of taco shells as a long tunnel for their miniature cars.
You cook, kids occupied – everyone's winning.
U – Make miniature umbrellas
The perfect activity for a rainy day – make colourful mini umbrellas with orange peels (taken out as a whole), watermelon skin and the like. Carve them out, then paint and stick.
V – Veggie art
Take a few frozen veggies out of the freezer, de-frost and cook and then allow your kid's imagination to take over. Let him create art with peas, corn, carrots and beans. You'll be surprised what he'll come up with!
W – Watermelon helmet
After scraping the watermelon out, get your kids to get creative with the skin and a cookie cutter. Or just use half the skin as a helmet… why not get them to paint and decorate it too?
X – X and Noughts
Play this all-time favourite game with little bites of finger food (like fish fingers/ chicken nuggets/ veggie sticks), eating as you go, making mealtimes less stressful and more fun.
Y – Yogurt mix
Give them a bowl of yogurt or frozen yogurt, some sprinkles, chocolate chips, cut fruits, M&M's and let them make their own frozen yogurt.
Z – Zucchini art
Lots can be done with whole or cut up zucchinis. Little boys can make them pretend-swords and decorate them accordingly while cut up zucchini can make excellent add-ons to craftwork.
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