Being heavily pregnant when you already have a toddler/pre schooler is hard work isn’t it?! Especially if your little one doesn’t spend very long entertaining themselves without asking for Mummy to play too. If you’re on maternity leave, you might even want to save a few pennies too…
So I’ve been trying to think of 12 simple ideas so we can still be involved in play time at home. Ways that don’t create too much mess and that allow tired mums to put their feet up for a bit and enjoy a cuppa at the same time! It’s so easy when you’re feeling exhausted to put some cartoons on or a game on your phone, but I’ve been trying not to overdo these things if I can.
1 – Puzzles. Either doing one together or having little competitions of who can complete their puzzle the quickest. You can make it a bit more challenging for yourself by choosing the puzzle with more pieces, turning your pieces over or giving little one a timed head start.
2 – Colouring. You can’t go wrong with some colouring, and putting some music on in the background makes this even more relaxing. Mummy can be colouring in her therapeutic adult patterns at the same time. Win win! If you’ve run out of colouring books there are some great websites where you can print out pictures for free.
3 – Book reading. I can’t not put this in because story time is a lovely excuse for a cuddle on the sofa.
4 – Play dough. In an attempt to make this a bit different I saved some small plastic trifle pots from going in the recycling bin. I put some little spoons out so my little one could pretend to make little ice cream sundaes from the play dough. I haven’t tried this yet but you could also put some little plates out, a plastic pizza cutter and pretend to make pizzas with different toppings. I find play dough is such a good distraction but can be a bit of a pain when you’re picking bits of play dough up off the floor after, especially if you’re struggling to bend over at this point in your pregnancy!
5 – Cafe. My little one really enjoyed playing this. I got to sit down with a little table in front of me while my daughter took my order like a little waitress. Then she was going to her play kitchen and making me meals like a chef with her play food. If you don’t have a play kitchen, get a few pans and wooden spoons out the kitchen and encourage your little ones to use their imagination. You can do as much or as little as you like with this.
6 – Snap. We have nursery rhyme snap cards but if your little one is a bit older, you could use a normal pack of cards and match the numbers. What child doesn’t love slamming their hand down and shouting “snap!”?
7 – Domino bingo. Take a piece of paper or card per person and write 9 random numbers on,h no than the number 12. Turn over the Domino pieces so you can’t see the numbers and take it in turns to pick a domino. Ask little one to count the dots and match them to the numbers on the paper and when you get all 9 numbers shout Bingo!
8 – I spy. I spy with my little eye a quick and simple game to try to help with colour recall. You could ask little ones to describe to you something they can find that is the colour red for example.
9 – Treasure hunting. I love the sand pit. I’ve been hiding things such as shells or coins in the dry sand and my daughter has been sieving to try to find the ‘treasure’. You could ask your little one to cover their eyes and then hide a surprise toy in the sand for them to find. This is a nice excuse to sit out in the sun. All that is missing is a nice Pina Colada! Not too long to wait ladies!
10 – Playing with a ball. You don’t have to be running around the garden to play with a ball. Sit on the floor (if you are able to of course!) with your feet together to make a diamond shape. Roll the ball to each other and sing nursery rhymes. This is such a simple game but we had some giggles when we were rolling the ball as quickly as we could.
11 – Memory game. Laying out some items on a tray. Asking little one to look for a minute then turn around so you can remove one item. See if little one can remember what has gone missing from the tray.
12 – Photo puzzles. Make some copies of family photos, cut them up into different shapes and ask little one to put the pictures back together again.
I’ve been feeling some guilt that so late in my pregnancy I’ve not been out and about as much as I’d like to with my daughter. Driving in the car has become uncomfortable and I’m walking around at a snail’s pace. My body is definitely telling me to slow down. I’ve been trying to encourage my daughter to play a lot more by herself but I think these little games, even if they are really simple, have meant we have still been able to have fun together.
I hope you get as much enjoyment as we both have out of them and please share your ideas with us!