One sentence that instills a sense of fear into any parent… “Mom, I'm bored”. Not to worry, that’s where we step in! We’ve compiled a list of 20 Fun Ideas to help the little ones learn through play. Phew! Take a deep breath moms and dads, all you’re required to do is pop on the kettle for a cup of tea while reading through our comprehensive list.
1. Let’s read
An oldie but a goodie! Sometimes all it takes is sitting down with your little one, picking up a book and getting involved in some animated reading. Yes, we said animated! Pulling all of the funny faces is a good way to highlight different emotions in a relaxed way.
Roaring like a lion will really get the toddlers to remember those animal noises and best of all, *for the toddlers more than anybody else*, it’s very, very, VERY funny seeing mommy or daddy looking very silly.
We love these age-appropriate and diverse storybooks for pre-schoolers. Have a look here.
2. Pass the play dough
The GOAT of all educational playtime learning tools - that’s right, it’s play dough! Best yet is that you can whip up a batch of the homemade, non-toxic variety in no time!
We know that squidging dough is all sorts of FUN but it’s also super helpful and important for developing those fine motor skills.
Need a super-duper quick homemade recipe? Look no further than right here!
3. It’s scribble time
Sometimes one just has to let their inner Jackson Pollock out and get a scribbling, errrrr, we mean creating art.
Adding art time to the day is an excellent way for the little ones to start understanding how to grip crayons and pencils. The bright colours are stimulating and the whole thing is just rather fun!
Need some drawing and scribbling ideas for the 3-6-year-olds? We’ve got you covered with these!
4. Chalk it up
1, 2, 3, 4, 5… Hopscotch is easy, once you get the knack of it. Best of all, it’s sure to keep the little ones outside and entertained for a good while.
Make sure you have some chalk for the children to trace out a grid (we might be reeeeaaallly fond of those giant chalk sticks), download the rules of hopscotch here and get to hoppin’!
5. Visit Wonderdal
If you’re looking for ways to help your children learn through play, look no further than visiting Cape Town’s top interactive edutainment centre for kids, aged 5-13 years old!
*Parents breathe a deep sigh of relief thanks to Wonderdal*
Children discover the worlds of science, nutrition and nature across a variety of indoor and outdoor activity zones. With the colourful Amuki characters by their side, and trained WonderPals to supervise, young adventurers can look forward to a fun day out discovering a world of wonder and knowledge!
6. Alphabet matching
A,B,C,D,E,F,GGGGGGGGGG! We all know the alphabet song but a great way to teach younger children the alphabet is through the Alphabet Matching Game.
How To Do It:
- Use a magnetic alphabet set and baking tray.
- Write the alphabet on the baking tray using washable markers.
- Little ones then match the magnetic letters to the letters on the tray.
7. Storytelling and writing stories
Reading time is great but sometimes reading aloud to the family is even better. Facial expressions, feelings and tone can be practised and rehearsed and acts as a great learning tool.
Learning to create and write a story is also an activity that stimulates the imagination and is a task that can be completed over time, offering a routine to a day or week.
So gather the family together for storytelling time, grab a notepad and pencil and get those imaginations working!
For more ideas on how to help the little ones develop these skills, have a read, here.
8. Game time
Sometimes old school really is cool and a quick game is enough to get the little ones into the “without toys” game zone - we aren’t talking about the consol variety here. A few old-school games that will have them in stitches or start a games tournament!
Hands up if you’re old enough to remember these classics
- Rock, paper, scissors
- Thumb War
9. Paper aeroplane fun
Up, up and away! Get the older kids to sit down with some paper (recycle and reuse old sheets), get folding and soaring!
The younger ones will need a bit of help from mom and dad and an added activity would be for them to practice those drawing skills before they start to fold.
Here are a few more simple aeroplane folding techniques to learn before those pilots take off!
10. If you’re app’y and you know it
Parents, it’s time to up your app game and get a little help when it comes to the world of phonics… say hello to - Phonics Ninja.
Players must slice through the correct phonic blends, digraphs and sounds to advance to the next level. The combination of touch and sound make this a fun game for young children.
Ages: 4+ years
Cost: This is a free app, to download and with no additional in-app purchase fee.
Available from: iOS Apple App Store
11. Make a paper boomerang
This is one for the older children in the family. It takes a certain amount of patience and perseverance but once they’ve mastered the skill, it will result in hours of FUN!
Best of all, you can be assured it won't cause any vases breaking indoors!
Follow the paper boomerang tutorial, here.
12. The dinosaur movement game
RAWR! In case you didn’t know moms and dads, that’s dinosaur talk for, “I want to have fun!”.
The only thing one needs to be able to do is STOMP and RAWR like a pro - we’re pretty sure your brood will have that situation covered! Say hello to releasing excess energy AND working on those core muscles!
Read all about the Dinosaur Movement Game, here.
13. Secret code scavenger hunt
Uttering the sentence, “Secret Code Scavenger Hunt”, should be enough to send ripples of excitement through the household! This is definitely one for the tech-enthusiast children and parents as a bit of tech-skill is required...
A scavenger hunt with a twist that will assist with getting the little ones to:
- Practice their math skills
- Sounding out words
And have masses of FUN! To find out more about this mystery game, simply click here!
14. The Lego barrier game
Stepping on a lego block is never fun *we’ve all been there moms and dads!* But this Lego game certainly is!
Perfect for playing in pairs, it’s great for developing oral language communication skills.
What You’ll Need:
- Two identical sets of 12-15 Lego bricks
How To Do It:
- Each player sits on opposite sides of a table, divided by a large book/box or other barrier in the middle of the table.
- Builder One builds something using their own collection of bricks without Builder Two seeing what they are building.
- Builder One then needs to provide Builder Two with a series of verbal instructions, one at a time, in order for Builder Two to recreate the same construction.
For more fun, Lego Games, click here.
15. Keep those egg cartons
Looking for a way to recycle those egg cartons?! Look no further! They are the perfect eco-toys for toddlers!
We simply love these egg carton games that are sure to keep the little toddling tots entertained for hours!
16. Weekend workshops at Wonderdal
Thank goodness for Wonderdal Weekend Workshops! Happy, entrained children who not only have fun but are immersed in a world of learning too!
Who wouldn’t be thrilled to learn about space, rockets, planets and meteors?? We know the little ones will be THRILLED and afterwards will probably result in a few budding astronauts!
To read more about this exciting workshop and how to book (it couldn’t be easier), simply click here!
17. Grow a vegetable - in your kitchen
Growing your very own yummy veggies couldn’t be more simple! No fancy pots, rakes or soil are needed for this one! It can all be done in your very own kitchen - yes, we said your kitchen!
Follow these easy steps for easy kitchen (spring onion) veggies:
- Cut off the end of a spring onion with the tiny roots (about 10cm in length).
- Place the off-cut, root-end down in a few centimetres of freshwater (enough to cover the roots but not the tops).
- Keep the water fresh by changing regularly and place the container in direct sunlight. After just a few days, new shoots will appear. Just cut what you need and allow it to carry on growing.
For more tips on how to grow spring onions, as well as other veggies from off-cuts, click here for a nifty YouTube tutorial!
18. Podcasts to the rescue
There are times when technology leaps to the rescue - and that’s Ok! We think all moms and dads need a good great podcast to turn to when things get a little, mmmmm, chaotic.
Heard of the But Why? A Podcast For Curious Kids… Well, we suggest you bookmark this one for later…
A show led by kids, for kids. The little ones, with assistance and supervision from mom and dad, are encouraged to think of questions they really want to know the answers to about nature, words, and the world. Ask the question via a voice memo or audio app on mom or Dad’s phone and send it on to But Why, who, if selected will find out all they can about your question.
19. Learn a new skill like - Golf
Learning is sometimes best done out in the fresh air and sunshine. That’s where Kleine Hazen Putting Park comes in!
The Kleine Hazen Putting Park is perfect for the little ones to start practising that golf swing!
The Kleine Hazen Putting Park consists of 27 holes of adventure golf and a range of family-friendly activities and attractions - the perfect day out for all of those budding *mini* golfers!
20. Patter Cake, Patter Cake, Bakersman
Could there be a better way to learn about weight, subtracting and dividing than by following a recipe and baking something delicious in the process?! We think not!
Baking is great but it’s also a delicious, sorry, we mean wonderful way to get the little ones to:
- Learn to follow a recipe
- Focus on number concentration by measuring out ingredients
- Completing a task
- And tidying up
For a few easy and yummy kid-approved recipes, simply click here *we see loads of chocolate cakes in your future!*.
Now that you (that’s you moms and dads) are armed with Theeeeee Best List Of Ideas and resources, sit back, plan the weekend and enjoy the fun learning ahead!
Happy Play Time x
If you’re looking for more fun activities then take a look at our Parent’s Survival Guide. Click the button below to get your copy.
The Amuki & Wonderdal Team
We look forward to sharing the wonders and magic of Wonderdal with you and your children. Wonderdal is a space where kids can explore, discover and experience a world of wonders in science, biology and nature. We hope this blog inspires you and your kids to be curious, to play and to discover the wonders of our world, together.
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