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Filling the time with a 3 year old during winter?

(17 Posts)
teacher1984 Mon 21-Dec-15 21:11:15

I'm in the third trimester of my second pregnancy, feeling knackered and achy, so struggling. My 3 year old goes to a great preschool for 15 hours but for the rest of the time I'm really struggling now to fill the days. Please share some ideas and inspiration with me.

For example today we met up for a play date with friends 9.30am-12. Ate a packed lunch while out and drove home for 1. The period between 1 and dinner at 5.30 really dragged and I don't feel I'm offering DC much... We played an orchard toys table top game, did 3 separate Xmas crafts and some colouring in and tried a free trial of the Reading Eggs app (not liked!). Sounds a lot written down but each activity took no more than 10 minutes.

DC has always been great at playing but now does often ask for tv when we're home and because I'm feeling too lethargic right now to entertain/ play I'm switching it on more than I'd like. How much tv is acceptable for this age?

And what can I do to fill our days during winter? I have no desire to be outside in the pouring rain!!!

Does anyone have any activities for the garden when it is dry but cold? Something educational, nature related we could make/do out there?

DC refuses to nap at all but often tells me he's tired so anything physical (walk, scooter, soft play, play date) is best reserved for morning which still leaves me whole afternoons free to fill.

I'd love some interesting, educational things to do but can't think what!

Thank you!!

MargaretHale Mon 21-Dec-15 21:27:49

I have a 3.5 y o and a newborn so I've been in your situation recently. Pre the third trimester we were constantly on the go but from about August onwards I just wasn't up to it....and I don't drive so that limited what we could do as I became less able to push him everywhere in the pushchair.

We spent a lot of time at home and out of necessity he got really good at amusing himself with his toys (with me "playing" from the sofa) and his imagination is fantastic- I actually think the enforced boredom was good for him!

As long as you've got toys which are good for imaginative play just let him play- in our case it was duplo. Good luck!

teacher1984 Mon 21-Dec-15 21:39:15

We do have some duplo. Father Christmas is bringing more...We probably are lacking in age appropriate toys right now as we haven't replaced for a while. Hopefully things will improve after the onset of new toys this week.

trilbydoll Mon 21-Dec-15 21:43:59

I've got a 2.5yo and a 7m - I must admit if we've done something in the morning I don't feel bad about a lazy afternoon with too much cbeebies.

DD loves Lets Play and then re-enacting it, hairdresser Sid has caused me a lot of headaches the last couple of weeks! She also likes putting her babies to bed, cooking in the kitchen and being a Dr.

Baking isn't the nightmare I thought it would be, cupcakes only take 20 mins then you can decorate them too.

honeysucklejasmine Mon 21-Dec-15 21:52:10

If there's ever a time of year to cuddle on the sofa in front of the TV, its now.

Yika Mon 21-Dec-15 21:56:53

Break the day into 4 time slots and plan something different for each one, it helps give you a sense of achievement (so you'd have two activities between lunch and dinner in your scenario above, selecting from, say, outdoor / active play / reading / toys / TV / some kind of messy play / some kind of art or craft / chores etc.)

I allow up to an hour of TV, usually at the end of the day to wind down.

Some ideas:
- build a den between some chairs or under the table.
- treasure hunt (this can be done indoors or out - I hide 4 or 5 plastic figures around the room/terrace) - hours of fun!
- home gym session (put the duvet on the floor and let him do some rolls and jumps)
- help with chores - my DD loves loading and unloading the washing and hanging the clothes on the airer. Washing dishes is also fun.

Garden activities:
- den
- obstacle course (jumps, slalom etc)
- bug viewer
These are not very active though

Try to make the everyday things a bit different?
E.g. instead of reading, make a 'library corner' with some cushions and have a whole session looking at a picture book and then reading aloud

There are some good ideas on pinterest - we made a zip wire for the soft toys after seeing it on there - brilliant fun

Laquila Mon 21-Dec-15 21:57:22

My 2.3 yr old LOVES helping me make play do and then playing with it, for ages. We use a recipe from a site called something like The Imagination Tree and added loads of glitter to the most recent batch - that went down very well! He also loves washing up, playing pirates/boats and making me pretend tea and sandwiches. If it's not terrible weather we sometimes have little scavenger hunts in the garden (ie, find mummy a pinecone, a pebble, a brown leaf etc). He also likes craft (but not for too long!) - I find glueing holds his attention for longest. Or stickers - toddlers love stickers!

ceeveebee Mon 21-Dec-15 22:03:56

My twins favourite outdoor activity is just to get waterproofs and wellies on and go puddle jumping in the street outside our house (with me of course!). No not educational but hey they get that at preschool!
Do you have a patio/decked area? Painting with mud or water is good fun.
Also den building in the living room with cushions and big toys.

GothicRainbow Mon 21-Dec-15 22:08:32

I'm 26 weeks pregnant with a 2.5 year old and we usually try and do one out of the house activity per day whether that's seeing friends/walk/going to the shops etc.

Usually our out of the house activity is in the morning so our afternoons are at home. We do have CBeebies running in the background most afternoons but my DS doesn't tend to veg in front of it and only properly watches when we have half hour quiet time with cuddles in the place of a nap.

Activity-wise we do the following:

Playdoh - great for you to be sitting down and resting
Baking - not too painful actually, mainly stick to little cupcakes or cookies.
Sensory play - we have a basket that currently is filled with 'snow' (packing peanuts), coloured feathers, Pom poms and 'Christmas confetti' (chopped up wrapping paper) - kept DS very entertained!

I am starting to rely on DS free playing a lot more and entertaining himself but I don't see this as an overly bad thing as I have noticed his imagination is starting to develop and the way he is playing beginning to change.

We have a chalk board and a kitchen on the way from Father Christmas so hoping these will help with the independent play.

teacher1984 Mon 21-Dec-15 22:20:13

Thanks for all the ideas. Keep them coming...I'm writing a list!

LucyMouse Mon 21-Dec-15 22:28:08

It was probably just down to the novelty factor, but DS had never seen bubble wrap until today, and we spent a good half hour at least it felt like longer popping the bubbles. We have also played hide and seek, colouring in, jigsaws, duplo. I try to allow TV in slots of 30/45 max, and we have maybe watched 2 hours of TV in total today. That seems like a lot written down but that was in a 12 hour period.
I am expecting DC2 in March so I'm trying to encourage him to play by himself more often, but it's not easy.

Yika Tue 22-Dec-15 20:13:41

How about a music activity?

Put on some children's music and do
- 1 song learning the words and singing along
- 1 song doing the actions
- 1 song playing musical instruments/kitchen implements as an accompaniment
- 1 song dancing or some kind of free movement

Physically, mentally and emotionally satisfying smile

I also wonder if at this young age you could enforce a 'quiet time' for say 45 mins-1 hr after lunch in lieu of nap and TV - would be great for you if it worked and might be good for him to rest or try to occupy himself with a quiet activity?

teacher1984 Mon 28-Dec-15 15:27:47

I'll give the quiet time a go but don't feel confident it'll be accepted! It's something I should have instilled when the naps first stopped and certainly will with the second child.

Really struggling today - I think SAHM boredom is kicking in and I wish I didn't feel this way, especially as we have made the decision for me to be home full time for the next 3 years.

I just can't fill the time and feel like I'm waiting around to get to the end of the day and clock watching. If I was home without my preschooler I'd find all sorts to get stuck into and get satisfaction out of getting things done but really none of that can be attempted with a little one around.

Feeling very deflated. I should have planned more stuff outside the home for the Christmas holidays confused

Anyone else get bored with childcare, as awful as it sounds?

FondantFancy66 Mon 28-Dec-15 15:46:17

I get bored with childcsre. My nearly three year old is normally with a childminder a couple of days a week, but shes on holiday next week, so I'll have all three children (also have baby twins) at home alone. Dreading it, but picked up some ideas here.

teacher1984 Mon 28-Dec-15 15:54:56

I'm finding it really hard, having done it for 3 full years. The first two years worked out well and I got into a groove of outdoor time, play dates, classes etc. Now it all feels so tedious. I really need to get myself out of this funk. Any tips on how to do that most welcome!

RoganJosh Mon 28-Dec-15 15:56:43

We do:
Going for a walk to find leaves to make s picture with
Going to the library
Going to the supermarket to get nice bread for lunch
Soft play (small one for under fours)
Walk to shops to look at Christmas displays. Also works at 4pm and after.

Waterproof trousers are good for keeping them warmer and I've bought myself thermal boot insoles and a hat so we can get out so long as it's not actually raining and windy at the same time.

CheradenineZakalwe Mon 28-Dec-15 15:56:56

I've had DS 2.4 on my own for 3 days now and today he's refused to nap, am both bored and stressed! Back to work tomorrow for a break though, thank god...childcare is seriously boring...

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