Spending all day inside with a curious, often rambunctious little one can be a total joy, but it can also make your head spin. Those hours between naps can get really long, really fast. Like parents, nannies are always in need of new ways to keep kids busy, which is just as important for nanny mental health as it is for your child’s development.
So what is there to do when you can’t spend the entire day at the park? Oh, plenty! We’ve got creative activity ideas that nannies can do with toddlers and preschoolers so playtime is more fun for everyone.
Paint the day away
Finger painting is a wonderful sensory experience that kids don’t do often enough because, well, it’s messy. The solve? Create a bathtub art studio. Tape blank paper to the walls or sides of your tub so kids can stand or sit inside to paint. Use a washable finger paint, like Crayola Bathtub Finger Paint Soap, and you’ll be able to transition right into bath time while the mini masterpieces dry. Safety reminder: tubs can be slippery, so never leave a child unattended or move out of arm’s reach.
Scoop, dig, and build
Water tables are just as much fun to use inside as they are outside. Set your up with a few small scoops and figurines for instant fun. But instead of water, fill it up with moldable sand or rice. No water table? Use any plastic bin or bins, plural, and kids can scoop from one to the other on the floor or while they sit at the table. Safety reminder: skip water beads or pom poms or similar items that are choking hazards for kids under 3.
Make your own music
It’s fun to teach kids that music is all around us. The easiest instrument to play? Your mouth! Start with a song, then go on a musical instrument hunt around the house. The kitchen is full of good drums, but so is the playroom. Take turns using your fingers or chopsticks to tap on everything from play stools to toy boxes, and try making predictions about how loud or soft the sound will be as you go.
Craft a snack together
When it’s time for a snack break, get your creative juices flowing by disguising fruits and vegetables as yummy animals. Show kids how to turn a piece of peanut butter toast into an adorable bear by adding banana slice ears and blueberry eyes, or how to make a cute caterpillar by adding grapes to a celery stick. The ideas are endless, and kids are more likely to get excited about new foods if they’re helping make them.
Take a swim–inside!
Bathtubs are for more than washing up (and making art!), they’re a place to swim. When kids have energy to burn, break out the swimsuit and let them take a dip in the tub. Don’t forget the goggles and pool toys and make sure you use their favorite pool towel to dry off.
Have a camp out
There’s just something about curling up in a cozy space that kids can’t resist! Set up a tent or teepee, or round up some sheets and a free kid’s chairs to build your own fort, then add some blankets and books inside to set the scene for storytime.