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Ideas for a 3.5yo girl to play indoors (and avoid the tablet)

(21 Posts)
mickael28 Fri 14-Oct-16 17:07:45

Hi all,

We've got a 3.5yo and we're having a problem where basically all she wants to do when she's at home is watching or playing with a tablet. It is getting up in the morning and wanted to use the tablet, coming from nursery and same, and after dinner/before bed, same.

We've got different games (king of lego-style with larger blocks), peppa pig figures, doll houses, some vehicles for indoor use, drawing pencils and similar activities, etc that we could think off, but... she is not interested at all. Sometimes she starts playing like a couple of minutes but that's it.

Another thing to mention is that I am a lot of times working from home, so I cannot play with her, and my wife has been injured for the last couple of months and she cannot play with her as before either.

Any idea of which kind of games could keep a girl with 3.5yo entertained for a few hours? I don't mean 1 thing only to keep her busy, but maybe a combination of 4 or 5 activities/games that she might enjoy doing and switching without involving the tablet?

Any idea or product we could try please? We'd like to give it a go...

Doje Fri 14-Oct-16 17:12:36

Play doh as always been good for us.

My DS is only 2.5 but I've also found that if I play with him for 10 minutes to show him what to do he does better on his own. Perhaps at the weekend when you have a bit more time, you could pick out a few toys, and then reintroduce during the week?

longestlurkerever Fri 14-Oct-16 17:12:37

It's a tricky one. Some kids just aren't very good at playing on their own. I couldn't work from home with my dds there unless they were ill. MShe has always loved playdoh - she makes dresses and things for her peppa pig toys and magiclip dolls - but she would still much prefer me to play with her and the more I was relying on her to be self sufficient the less likely she would be to do so. I think you might need to revise your expectations, tbh. What about swapping playdates? By the time my dd was 4 she and a friend wouldn't be seen for dust

Jinglebellsandv0dka Fri 14-Oct-16 17:13:32

Go on pintrest. You will find hundreds of super cheap activities for all weather

MakeItStopNeville Fri 14-Oct-16 17:16:20

Music, painting, drawing, play do, dressing up, going out for a walk. There's a gazillion things you ca do. But right now, I would put away the tablet altogether until she has learned to play without it.

mickael28 Fri 14-Oct-16 17:20:48

Yeah, we've tried play doh as well, but she doesn't last much.
Two days ago I think it was last time, but she just gets the container, gets the play doh, breaks it down in tiny pieces that she throws around the living room and that's it. With us having to "force" her to clean for half an hour afterwards and kind of ending doing it ourselves... tricky age!

What is that pintrest where we could find ideas? is there a link for kids this age or similar?

Doje Fri 14-Oct-16 17:28:20

Also, whereas painting today lasted all of 10 minutes, the tidy up entertained DS for half an hour - just DS the dirty paint bowls and a sink full of washing up bubbles!

Do you have a water table? Just tipping water from one container to another is fun.

And don't let bad weather stop her going out! Just get the right water proof stuff, and make sure she has some dry things to change into as soon as she's cold/bored.

Starlight2345 Fri 14-Oct-16 17:36:25

Pots , pans role play, Dressing up..If you are expecting her to not interupt either of you YABU..

AS for a 3.5 year old only wanting to use tablet..It would be banned in my world.. Your Child needs to develop her imaginations..

Shops, send her to do anything using her imagination. , building bricks, Your wife might be injured but can you get me from the shop, can you pay for this , can you bake me a cake can be done from the comfort of the sofa.

You need to suggest things where might peppe pig go today?

Jinglebellsandv0dka Fri 14-Oct-16 17:54:45

Pintrest is a app or you can you it on browser. It's basically everything - baking, photography, fashion, Christmas ideas ect..

It's endless.

BUT if you type in toddler activies or free activies for young children or anything like that there will be hundreds of pages of ideas. It's actually really valuable and dd and I still use it a lot, it's quite addictive. I've got birthday boards, Christmas gift ideas boards....

Jinglebellsandv0dka Fri 14-Oct-16 18:01:13

Looks like this.

mickael28 Fri 14-Oct-16 18:23:26

Many thanks all, I think we've got a few good ideas. We'll start and see how it goes...

Today was the play doh again, but like last time, she just breaks it in 1000 tiny pieces all over the place and now we've been cleaning it up and hoovering, well, better than the tablet at least smile

longestlurkerever Sat 15-Oct-16 08:00:56

I had another think about what my dd liked at this age (she's 5 now so still likes some similar things). Craft (loosely defined - mostly sticking sequins, glitter or pictures cut out), Sticker Dolly books, You choose and Just Imagine books, Cbeebies magazines. Lots of imaginative play - teddy tea parties - play restaurant (making menus, picking flowers for the table, fancy drinks with straws and umbrellas etc, dressing up (her and her teddies), threading beads on to necklaces, playing with little figures (Peppa Pig or magiclip princesses), puzzles and memory games up to a point, trampoline, sandpit, swing/slide in the garden, planting things, making gingerbread. But the only thing she would do wholly by herself was playdoh or playing with the little figures - and she had to be in the right mood. If I needed to make a telephone call you'd guarantee she wouldn't be in the right mood!

LiveLifeWithPassion Sat 15-Oct-16 08:12:36

My 3.5 yr old likes the following to do on her own;
Painting on paper and objects that you can buy from £1 shops
Scissors, magazine and glue
Kinetic sand
Jewellery and dressing up
Water play (bowl of water and washing toys)
Baking - she can hand mix cookie dough for ages. Lots of cleaning up with a dust pan a brush.

strawberrybubblegum Sat 15-Oct-16 10:55:54

For play doh, tools will help like this, this and this. You'll still need to help her: to show her how to use them, and at least initially help with rolling and cutting if she doesn't have the strength (let her do it first, but say 'can I have a go?' to do a bit extra if necessary so it works)

I find painting is a sure-fire winner, and as a pp said, cleaning up the paints on a chair in front of the sink is the best part and occupies them for ages. We have these paints, brushes, tray (she gets to choose 6 paint colours when we set up), paper, apron. Again, she will need a bit of encouragement at least initially - but that can be fairly low key, ie just sitting at the table with her watching and commenting occasionally.

Other craft stuff is also good - get some pva glue and any craft bits you like eg pompoms, googly eyes, sequins, self-adhesive jewels and flowers, tissue paper, glitter (if you're brave!) and let her get sticking.

I find games good for giving a decent amount of play time - although it definitely depends on the child, and it might take a few times for her to get into it. A big advantage is that your wife can play sitting/lying in bed with DD beside her, if she's bed-bound. Any of the orchard toys ones are great (just check recommended age) eg cupcakes (my DD's favourite!) or dinosaurs. Snap is also good - get giant cards in a theme she likes, eg Peppa Pig, Gruffalo, Ben and Holly.

Don't underestimate books. She will need to be in the right mood, but there's nothing nicer (for both of you!) than snuggling in bed in the afternoon reading book after book.

Mr Potato Head is good - both for constructing them, and then the subsequent role play - but again you'll need to be involved because it can be a bit tricky.

Sticker books and activity books of all kinds are also a great success here. I find that DD stays interested for much longer if I'm there helping. Sometimes it's tricky to get some stickers off, or the activity needs to be explained - and she gives up if she's by herself.

A few caveats:
1. As a pp said, I think you need to just stop using the tablet for a bit. It becomes a habit, and I think you'll struggle to get her engaged with anything if she is hankering after it. If stopping completely is too hard, then set specific times when she can use it - and remind her of those times whenever else she asks for it.
2. She really needs lots of physical/outdoor play as well at this age. If she isn't getting enough, then she might struggle to concentrate on indoors activities. If she's at nursery, she should be fine those days but do make sure you get her out at the weekend too (I can imagine this is tricky given your wife is injured).
3. Most children really do need our involvement to play at this age: otherwise they do lose interest. If you can set your wife up somewhere so that your daughter can bring her things, and they can talk about what she's playing with, that will help a lot. Of course she'd rather have you sitting on the floor with her, but they do adapt very well to what you can do. What they really need is your attention.

Starlight2345 Sat 15-Oct-16 10:58:59

Yes I was going to say you need tools for play doh...Also look up disco dough on you tube..You need to do it together but once you get the idea you can do it with all sorts of songs.

FretYeNotAllIsShiny Sat 15-Oct-16 11:02:16

A den. Kids love a den. Even if it's only a sheet over the dining table and all the cushions piled underneath.

PippiLongstromp Sat 15-Oct-16 19:20:14

I honestly think if your daughter has been to nursery all day she will have been playing all day and probably just need to relax! Mine tend to watch tv in the morning after breakfast and again when they get back from preschool at 5.45. That's about all any of us can manage after a long day. But yeah if you are talking about daytime, play is important. I think someone will need to play with her, she is still only little. Mine (have twins) can't go very long on their own and they have each other...

BeacauseImAnElf Sat 15-Oct-16 19:40:58

My dd is roughly the same age and loves the iPad.
She seems to have stopped playing with play doh though thankfully.
She was given a jigsaw book and will now spend ages doing them over and over again. She also loves mr men books.
For her birthday she got a pop up tent that we filled with balls. She spends a lot of time playing with that too.

BeacauseImAnElf Sat 15-Oct-16 19:42:56

Forgot to add elc have some fab games for that age. Dd loves pop up dragon and will happily play it by herself when I've had enough smile

longestlurkerever Sat 15-Oct-16 22:07:51

Yes to tools for play doh. And actually introducing other toys into the mix. My dd would make dresses for the princesses or soft furnishings for the peppa pig house.

ajabajavitasoffan Sat 15-Oct-16 22:27:17

A good trick for entertaining preschoolers I learned from my DM is to provide something to intrigue them... I have also since heard this from DD's preschool teachers. So for example you set something up ready for when she comes home from preschool and let her 'discover' it. Doesn't have to be anything fancy at all, and doesn't need to cost you lots of money or take much time. If you happen to have one of those cheap square Ikea 'Lack' tables, they're the perfect space! Examples of things i've done include:
- Drawing station (crayons, different types of paper)
- Coloured blocks sorting (lay out a selection of different colours / shapes grouped in some way)
- Household objects (simple, safe, everyday objects she could use imaginatively)
- Flour tray (flour, glitter, rice mixed in a tray with some small cars and animals)
The possibilities are endless. It is enough just to set up some of her existing toys in a new or interesting format (mix Happylands with regular blocks, for example) to get their interest. You can go super complex too, I think if you google 'invitations to play' you'll find some more ideas. But simple works well!

Another thing you can do is get some masking tape: the possibilities with that are also endless - you can mark out roads and race tracks on the floor, create patterned grids for sorting blocks etc, create parking lots, 'zoo cages', letters etc etc. And then just rip up and throw away when done!

Finally, have you seen Magformers? They are a magnetic building activity and are a massive hit with my DD who is a similar age.

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