With so much time in the day, leaving the kids to just play sometimes doesn’t work out. They end up getting everything out and not playing with anything properly. Sometimes, I find its easier to set up an activity for them to do, leave it out for them to play with and then it gives me five minutes peace. I rotate their toys, keeping some in boxes in the garage/wardrobes and then bringing them out and setting them up properly so that they will hopefully play with it and rediscover old toys that they have forgotten about. 

During lockdown, we have become a bit more creative with making up/creating games from recycling rubbish to help them to play with toys that they already have. 

                            I’ve also collated a list of ideas of play ideas that look   good for children of all ages and that might give you a bit of time               alone to enjoy a hot cup of tea in peace!

Toilet Roll Shooting range

We used a large old box as the base and toilet rolls, kitchen rolls and yoghurt pots as stands. We have a few bags of plastic balls from our old ballpool and used this as a shooting range, it saved them from shooting each other and could be extended into something Maths related if you numbered the rolls with scores. They both loved this! 

roll the Ball into the hole

We used a doughnut tray to make a few holes and roll a plastic ball around in number order. Ideal for 2-3 years olds to help them to start recognising numbers. Theo had a go and it’s harder than it looked. 

Obviously, it could have been neater and the holes were initially too big, hence the masking tape but you get the idea! 


I found this Lego challenge online and it’s really good to give them a focus when you have loads of mixed Lego blocks like we do!

This Lego Gadgets book is fab too, it has everything to make a range of gadgets that kids can then play with

Other play ideas

  • play in the mud, jump in puddles
  • sort toys by colour/category
  • play hide and seek
  • role play of any kind, police/firemen/schools/tea party
  • pack rucksacks and go on journeys/walks around the house and garden
  • wash up together
  • take toy tools and fix vehicles outside
  • brush up pasta/pom poms with a dustpan and brush
  • treasure hunts- colour/outdoor/shapes/alpabetical
  • treasure hunt with jigsaw pieces (hide them all and do the puzzle as you find them- works well with peg puzzles)
  • use diggers in the sand/in a tray of lentils/pasta
  • bath time in the day
  • spa bath with music and glo sticks and the lights off
  • paint rocks
  • paint leaves and print onto paper
  • write letters to friends and relatives
  • make in den/put up a tent and let them eat lunch in there
  • make paper chains
  • What’s Missing? Show 7 items on a tray, cover and take away 2 and then ask’What’s Missing?’
  • write a story and illustrate it
  • weed the garden
  • wash the car together
  • play shops, use tins and food from the cupboard
  • colouring- there are lots of free printables online
  • draw with chalk and get them to wash it off
  • do a puzzle together
  • make your own puzzle from old photographs
  • make playdough
  • cut up pictures from magazines and make vision boards/pictures
  • make flashcards
  • create a time-lapse video
  • create a stop-motion video
  • go on journeys using Google Earth
  • have a teddy bear’s picnic
  • make slime
  • freeze small figures and get them to break them out using tools


This app allows you to take photographs of any object, add features such as glasses and hair, draw a mouth and then record yourself speaking so that you can bring inanimate objects to life and make them say funny things. Hours of fun!