Last February, I posted a creative play 'idea a day' on my Instagram page to hopefully inspire you to create some half term fun.

As we enter a third lockdown across the UK, and as a mother of two small children to entertain, I wanted to share these with you again – and I hope they help you to fill some of these long days at home!

I’ve made these ideas as simple as possible, but they are completely open-ended for you and your family to explore. Although I’ve tried to share ideas that involved items that you’re likely to have around your house, there’s lots of scope to adapt them to whatever loose parts you have to hand.

If you enjoy any of these little activities, please share them with us on social media!

What can you build?

First up, how about a bit of construction?

What you’ll need:

• Play dough

• Lollipop sticks, match sticks, or sticks from the outdoors

Grab a tin of play dough and roll it into lots of small balls, which in itself is a brilliant fine motor work out!

Then use your lollipop sticks, match sticks or sticks you’ve collected on your walks to build different shapes and structures.

You could experiment with which shapes are the strongest or who can build the tallest tower, or why not build a shelter for your favourite toy?

Whose are those footprints?

Choose your favourite animals and get stomping.

What you’ll need:

• Play dough

• Toy animals, cars, or characters

Making footprints in play dough is an activity that we come back to time and time again. We’ve made dinosaur footprint “fossils”, and tracks in snow as we read along with one of our favourites, The Gruffalo’s Child. I’ve made prints for the children to match up with a selection of animals and they’ve made their own prints in lots of different colours. It’s so simple but it always really captures their imagination in a really wonderful way.

Don’t have an animal lover at home? This works just as well with cars, trucks and tractors!

Can you make…?

Let’s challenge their little hands.

What you’ll need:

• Play dough

• Your imagination

This activity can be as simple or as complicated as you like. All you need to do is create one half of an image, pattern or shape – we chose a mermaid for this go! - and ask your child to complete the image.

My eldest needed a bit of encouragement the first time we tried this but now he loves it and often requests (very elaborate!) set ups. For younger children you could try much simpler images like 2D shapes or use loose parts to mirror patterns.

Paper roll stamping

One use for those toilet roll hoarders from the first lockdown!

What you’ll need:

• Play dough

• Toilet roll or kitchen roll inners

• A glue gun, or elastic bands, string or foam stickers

Why don’t you try making your own stamps using toilet roll tubes? I used my glue gun to draw patterns and write the children’s names on toilet rolls and then they loved stamping them into the play dough.

If you don’t have a glue gun, you could try sticking other things to your toilet rolls - elastic bands, string and foam stickers all work really well and make great prints.

Get lost in a play dough maze

Let’s get rolling!

What you’ll need:

• Play dough

• A tray

• Marbles, ping pong balls or frozen peas

Today’s boredom buster activity just needs a tray and marbles, although ping pong balls, frozen peas anything round would work!

Roll your dough into sausages and press them onto your tray to make a maze. Get your child to move the marble through the maze by only tilting the tray or, if you’re using ping pong balls, why not get them to try blowing them through the maze using a straw?!

Letter play

Let’s practice your letters…

What you’ll need:

• Play dough

• Foam or magnetic plastic letters

Do you have foam letters in the bath? Or magnets on the fridge? Try stamping them into the dough and getting a younger child to match them up. For older children, you can invite them to practice their spellings in the dough.

We'll be bringing you lots more play ideas in the coming weeks and months, and we love to see your finished creations so please share them with us on social media!

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