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If you have a 5yo and a 2yo (or similar ages), what are your afternoons like?

(13 Posts)
starburns Sat 09-Jan-16 14:05:02

As you've probably guessed, my children are (nearly) 2 and 5, and I find afternoons after school quite difficult at the moment in terms of finding things to keep them both occupied - e.g. I can't sit down and play cards with the 5yo as his brother is completely averse to sitting still for any length of time (unless TV is involved), too young to play properly, and desperate to be involved with everything, so there's a lot of grabbing etc.

We spend as much time as possible outdoors, but recently its just been too dark/cold/wet. I always put on 30 mins of TV while I cook dinner, and I'm reluctant to increase that amount of time, though sometimes when I'm feeling desperate I do anyway. They both enjoy baths, so I try to stretch those out, but there are generally always still a couple of hours that need filling!

We've had a few really draining afternoons recently with a lot of whining/arguing/fighting etc, and I'm feeling pretty lacking in energy and devoid of inspiration. Can anyone suggest any good, relatively non-stressful indoor activities, or give any other advice?!


Enjoyingthepeace Sat 09-Jan-16 20:18:03

I have a 2 and 5 yr old.

Craft for the 5 year old?

I went to hobby craft and bought a load of stuff, including a glue gun. Hours upon hours upon hours have been spent after school doing craft with the glue gun. Meanwhile my 2 year old plays with her toys or does play doh or I give her a sheet of stickers and she will spend an age peeling them off and sticking them on paper.

Then at 4.30/5, TV whilst I do dinner. After dinner, random playing whilst I tidy up.

I find the evenings whizz by

thatwouldbeanecumenicalmatter Sat 09-Jan-16 20:41:40

Have a look on ebay crafts section - lots of people sell paper and foam die cuts cheaply in huge amounts (100s!) of mixed themed shapes like animals, transport, flowers, Easter, - our faves are the one you can get with paper 'dolls' and loads of 'clothes' to dress them up in. Then get them to stick die cuts on to coloured-in a background on paper/reverse side of cheap wallpaper/flattened out packing paper that you get in Amazon parcels!

Same with cardboard boxes - depending on size you can roughly draw/cut windows/turrets and make a castle/house and get them to colour it in then role play with it.

Glow sticks - the ones with the plastic 'joins' are brilliant, mine still love to play with them and make all sorts like pretend roads/airport landing strips fort their toy vehicles, hula hoops, mini light sabres, put the radio on and have a disco party! It's kinda noisy though but they have fun and think of how much electricity you'll save wink grin

thatwouldbeanecumenicalmatter Sat 09-Jan-16 20:44:41

Actually sorry glow sticks might not be best suggestion - sorry I forgot you said nearly two!

thatwouldbeanecumenicalmatter Sat 09-Jan-16 20:50:38

Trip to local library, or museum - our sometimes have after school craft/storytelling sessions - and it's free.

Also a trip to the pound shop - normally if I go mine will want everything and anything but if I give mine a pound each and tell them they can choose what they want they take AGES choosing as they value for 'their' money - whereas 'mine' can be spent like it's going out of fashion haha.

TheSkiingGardener Sat 09-Jan-16 20:57:06

I find its so dependent on when my 2 year old has scheduled his daily tantrum and how well they have both slept.

I either put something like play dough out or say we are having a colouring afternoon and they tell me which characters they want me to find and print off to colour. The 2 year old needs more attention but it has to be something the 5 year old can get involved in.

Sometimes, however, they are tired and tantrumy and I resort to tv. Not the end of the world.

PennyHasNoSurname Sat 09-Jan-16 20:59:11

4yo (home from preschool at 3.30), and an 18mo.

DS plays on the floor with toys and attmepts to scale the sofa. DD watches cartoons. I make their tea (they eat 4/4.30 ish). They eat and I have a brew at the table.

5pm I bathe DS while DD plays/reads/sticker book. DH home by the time DSs bath is done so one of us then bathes DD while the other entertains DS.

They have a bowl of cereal at 6pm, in pjs. DS in bed asleep by half six. We then have a half hour with DD usually reading/play Guess Who or similar. Then one of us puts her to bed with a story and the other makes dinner.

If the weather is nice we go to the park straight after school for 45mins. Once a week or so we go to my Mums for a cuppa and a play for 45 mins.

AppleAndBlackberry Sat 09-Jan-16 21:02:31

Mine are closer in age but I used to get out a box of toys - duplo, toy animals, wooden railway, happyland etc and if they couldn't share nicely I would divide it up. Also did puzzles, stories, drawing, playdoh etc.

ThomasRichard Sat 09-Jan-16 21:06:55

Mine are 5 and 3. The trip to the £ shop is inspired, thankyou!

I'm out at work so we don't get home until gone 5 but when I used to work mornings only we did things like go to the library to choose a book, go for a scoot round the block, write and post letters, go swimming, go to soft play, go out for tea somewhere that does cheap kids' meals before 5pm, or just let them play.

Poppybella2015 Sat 09-Jan-16 21:09:48

We currently do Twice a week 2 year old watches 6 year old at an after school activity, once a week host a play date, once a week go to a play date, relatives pop over. I have the opposite problem and struggle to fit everything in so I am going to scale back. My suggestions would be reading with 5 year old (while 2 year old "listens" mine sometimes plays up) any homework with oldest while youngest scribbles on a peace of paper, extending what has been learnt at school or set up a project eg autumn time, trip to the library, look round the £ shop is a good idea, do the supermarket shop, go swimming, go to the park, go out for dinner McDonald's or a supermarket cafe are quite cheap, visit a relative, invite a friend with kids round, tidy up and sort out toys, trip to local garden centre, trip to a pet shop, baking cakes, watch a movie, or just get some jobs done or put your feet up while DC play with their toys. Hope some of those ideas are useful x

MandScookiesrule Sat 09-Jan-16 21:11:11

mine are 2 and 5. I plan in chunks of 30 minutes. When we come in they seem happy to have 30 mins of pottering with their toys in the lounge with a snack (and I get things organised). Then 30 mins doing some kind of crafts at the kitchen table, if I find something that my 5 year old wants to do-paints/glue/glitter/papier-mâché/stencils then he is so happy then I can 'help' the 2 year old which keeps her more interested. Then back into the lounge where I throw out a box of duplo or brio (5 year old does big constructions but 2 year old is quiet happy to build a simple tower/drive trains on the track with my encouragement). Then we have our 30 min tv whilst I make the tea/tidy the mess. Then we have tea (which I drag out with a melon course! and easily make tea last 30 mins). Then back to the lounge for a play and get the 5 year old to help me tidy the toys, then upstairs for a long bath (they both love this-I buy a lot of bath bombs/fizzers) and then bed. Crafts are your friends, baking is also loved by both but very difficult!

thatwouldbeanecumenicalmatter Sat 09-Jan-16 21:30:28

Almost forgot, have posted this a few times on MN! We do a soft toy animal hospital/vets with lots of cheap bandages and plasters (this is where the £ shop trip could come in handy wink) my DC loved doing this as toddlers (probably would now still!) making their toys better with lots of beds made up of cushions and spoons to give 'medicine'. Nice gentle play activity and the bandaging and applying plasters keep the busy.

starburns Sat 09-Jan-16 23:34:44

Thanks for the replies everyone - lots of helpful suggestions here. I'm going to stock up on craft supplies, and I think I'm going to get some duplo for my youngest's upcoming birthday which hopefully they'll both like! I love the animal hospital game idea too. Unfortunately I don't drive so shops etc are out on weekday evenings when the buses take ages, but those ideas are great for weekends.

I've realised as well that a lot of the issue for me is that my younger ds is like a whirlwind, and more sedentary activities often just descend into him grabbing and throwing all the felt-tips/sequins/puzzle pieces/whatever. So I suppose that's more a case of me having to find more effective ways of controlling/engaging him than anything else!

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