Don’t be stuck with Arts & Crafts – More Play Ideas for Autumn!
As Autumn draws in and the evenings get darker, parents will need to be armed with fun activities to entertain children who are frustrated about being stuck indoors.
Arts and crafts tend to be the go-to activity but don’t feel like you’re limited to creative play. At Fundamentally Children we’re all about getting a balanced play diet, so here are a selection of games, toys and crafts to get a good balance between the different types of play:
Getting active while stuck indoors
This is the most important part of a child’s play diet, but active play can be difficult when children are stuck indoors. You can get your child moving about - hopefully without destroying the house - by setting up a treasure hunt around the house. This can either be a hidden object they have to find, or a list of object descriptions such as something round, something blue, or something long. This also encourages children to get creative as they try to think of objects they can use.
Expanding their imaginations
There are many toys that can encourage imaginative play, particularly small world play sets like Playmobil or role playing toys. Setting up a secret den with chairs and bedsheets is also an exciting way to get children to be imaginative; one day it could be a cave, the next a cottage in a wood.
They can create whole games and stories around their den.
Arts and crafts are particularly popular indoor activities, and we have lots of suggestions in our play ideas section. A really good activity during the Autumn season is to create a seasonal collage - get your child to collect the beautifully coloured fallen leaves, twigs, feathers and conkers and then make a textured picture from the materials. Craft sets with instructions and materials give children some structure and help expand their creative abilities.
To encourage your child to build models, its is a good idea to give them access to one or two sets of construction toys, such as the Mega Ball Run or Ur-Tubes. These are great for imagination and creativity as well as logical thinking and problem solving.
A bit of brainteasing
Puzzle games are good for quiet solitary play that keeps children engaged, developing their concentration and cognitive skills. As well as classic jigsaw puzzles, there are also some brilliant games like Three Little Piggies and the Colour Code game, both of which are multi-level logical thinking puzzles.
Top up on learning
There are an increasing number of educational apps which can add a whole new dimension to learning. Many teach children valuable knowledge and skills, and use a gaming style to do so in an entertaining way. They provide immediate feedback which helps to support learning and often give children in-game rewards to encourage them to keep playing. Some good apps include Pacca Alpaca’s basic language learning to teach children different languages, and Medieval Math Battle Gold to help children practice addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
Handling screen time
As part of a balanced play diet, children can enjoy a small amount of passive screen time too. If they are taking part in the other types of play and getting plenty of exercise, children can occasionally crash out in front of the TV, watch their favourite programmes and play computer games.
We do not feel it is our place to set strict limits, as the amount of screen time depends a lot on what else a child is doing, but we do have some useful tips for managing screen time in our article.
Being indoors doesn’t mean fewer opportunities for play, and hopefully these ideas will help you keep your children entertained while getting a balanced play diet.
Darker evenings and wetter, colder weather doesn’t mean you can’t leave the house - as long as you go prepared with coats, wellies and umbrellas! It can even offer more opportunities for learning - why not do some stargazing, or take a torch in the garden and pay a visit to the nocturnal animals?
This post was written by Anna Taylor