An account of weekly workshops by Isabel Dickens
Artist Clare McGarry shares some creative activities to do with your little ones. Since April we have been posting tips on our social media channels every Wednesday at 11am - around the same time our weekly Play Cafe for 0-4 year olds would have been taking place (our building is currently closed due to Covid-19). We’ve gathered these tips together and saved them here on our website to refer to!
If sharing any images of your activities on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, we’d be delighted if you could tag us @platformglasgow
• Make your own Tuck Shop – great for helping contain those morning and afternoon snack requests! Cut out pictures from magazines or draw your child’s favourite snacks and give them all a price, e.g. banana 10 pence, raisins 5 pence etc. Put together a tub of real money and enjoy role playing as shop keeper and customer!
• Ahoy Pirates! Construct a ‘boat’ out of cushions/pillows and make a treasure map from ripping the edges of a piece of paper, pour tea over it and put it carefully under the grill (with permission and help of mum & dad!) until lightly coloured brown. Don’t forget to create a line of chairs and walk the plank!
• Make a shaker out of an old toilet/kitchen roll tube and rice/pasta! Pop the rice/pasta inside, colour the tube in and then cover the ends with tape to seal it up. Get shaking!
• Make your own messy play! Set out some child friendly bowls or tubs for your wee ones to explore. Fill them with items from around the house - different textures and shapes are good. Popular items are cooked spaghetti, jelly, porridge….you get the idea!
• Paddling pools aren’t just for sunny days! Fill up the paddling pool and get on the wellies and waterproofs (that includes the parents/carers) - it’s then time for a SPLASH! You could also pour a watering can of water over your child when they are under an umbrella – or vice versa!
• Make a play dough or pasta necklace/bracelet! All you need is some tubes of pasta and some elastic/string. Your wee one could paint the pasta to make the tubes more colourful.
• If you have any spare rolls of wallpaper or lining paper, this is a great visual exercise and something you could do in the house or in the garden. If you don’t have lining/wallpaper you can make up a ‘roll’ by taping together lots of pieces of paper. Just roll your chosen paper along the floor and get out the colouring pens, paints or crayons. You could draw some patterns for children to colour in - e.g long wavy lines. If you are feeling adventurous your wee one could dip their feet in paint and walk along it!
• Turn off the lights, put on your favourite dancing songs and have a baby/toddler rave! If you happen to have some glo sticks these are great for waving around (be careful children don’t put them in their mouths) or you could use a torch instead. Alternatively, when it’s bath time you could have a glo stick bath which is really cool, in the dark!
• For some water play, use whatever you have in the house; plastic bowls or cups, jugs to pour, squeezy bottles, water sprays, funnels, boats etc. Put it in a big basin or paddling pool and just let children explore and have fun!
• Have a mermaid lagoon bath! Put interesting stones or jewels in the bath, pop on your swimming costumes/shorts and get in to explore! Create a magical atmosphere with music, bubbles, fairy lights/night light/torches you might have around the house. You could explore the feel of water balloons, a beach ball, hidden treasure or read a water related story.
• Make a baby obstacle course! Use whatever you can find; tunnels, sheets, trampoline, things to walk along with some help for balance etc - it’s amazing what you’ll find around your home that will do the job!
• Freeze various shapes of ice overnight, put on a tray and set your child the ice sculptor challenge to make interesting shapes with them. This will definitely keep the wee ones occupied for a while whilst you grab a quick cup of tea.
• Make your own music band and get your family members involved! Using the shaker you made above, add to your instruments by adding pots and pans, wooden spoons etc. Basically, anything that makes a noise. Then all you have to do is think up a band name!
• Put a surprise in an empty box and ask your wee one to close their eyes, shake, listen and touch inside the box to guess what is inside. You could use anything from bouncy balls, toys, scrunchy foil, socks, cotton wool – anything that makes a sound or is tactile!
• Keep songs and story time going at home, using props and toys from around the house where you can when singing and reading. Why not lay out all your child’s books face up, flat on the floor and have turns picking favourites to read or doing ‘I spy’ games with the pictures on the cover of books.
• Another idea is to create a surprise ‘story bag’. Before reading a book, find objects and toys related to a story, pop them in a bag and bring them out for your wee one to touch, feel and describe as you read through the story.
• Build a city out of Lego or any other building blocks or toys your child enjoys. If you don’t have specific building toys, get creative with items from around the house – empty boxes are good for decorating and using to build with.
• Pizza! Cooking with your little one can be lots of fun and educational too. You can make your own base or buy ready-made ones. Get creative with toppings – use cheese, tomatoes, ham, or pineapple to create funny faces or patterns!
• Buy some water balloons and have some water splat fun! You can just do some plain old splatting or why not play throwing games to each other or tag.
• Another idea we love here at Platform is getting creative with white paper plates! Use plain paper plates to draw faces and pictures on each plate. These can then be used to play games by using the plates as masks or why not put some blu tac on the back to create some bright and colourful wall art on the back to create some bright and colourful wall art.
[Images from Clare McGarry]