Free (ish) indoor fun – 20 mths

Hasn’t this year just been RIDICULOUSLY wet so far? Honestly! Our little part of the country is by no means the worst hit, if anything we’ve got off fairly lightly, but there has still been far too many rainy days for my liking! I make no secret of the fact that I have to get out of the house every day for the sake of my sanity. Even the prospect of an entire day at home with just Monkey and I is enough to put me in a grump. So rainy days are not good for me, far too much time spent indoors. We’ve still got out and about a lot in between all the rain but there has also been a lot of time spent playing indoors.

All this time spent indoors has led to a lot of clutching at straws for things to do, without spending a fortune on toys. He has got a lot of toys of course but there’s only so much variety and he is always looking for something new to do. So here is a little list of some of the things that have been keeping Monkey occupied without spending any money!

Since we started getting Monkey involved in cooking and baking (to help with the fussy eating) he loves it in there and wants to be stood on his little step stool at the worktop ALL the time. So we spend a lot of time in the kitchen these days, which is where many of these activities take place. This is also great as it may give you ways of keeping your little one occupied if like Monkey they tend to harass you while you’re cooking dinner!

Filling and pouring. We do this with lentils, rice, flour, pasta, anything really. We have a little funnel, an empty vanilla extract bottle, an empty spice jar as well as bigger bowls and cups etc. It goes everywhere but he loves it and it’s easily tidied up with a dustbuster! 🙂 He puts things in bottles, he tips them out, he moves them from one thing to another, just a great way to learn how things work really. He plays with some chopped vegetables and potato peeling etc. too.


Spaghetti is great for them to explore – Monkey loves posting it through a Colander (great for fine motor controls) and snapping it and sorting it and putting it in the bottle or jar. We’ve also played with cooked spaghetti which is fun.

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Stacking and sorting. We got some cheap ikea cups and bowls ages ago which stack really nicely and Monkey loves organising things! Tins are a great way of keeping him occupied at the moment, he loves making a tower of tins! It concerns me when the towers get tall that the heavy tins will fall on him, but so far so good.

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Banging – cake tins, saucepans, bowls, spoons, so simple but so much fun. Monkey was loving this the other day and I got some of his musical instrument toys involved too and we had a fantastic impromptu music session in the kitchen. Lots of fun!

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Oh and spoons make a great noise when they are dropped on the floor! 🙂


The kitchen isn’t the only place with fun to be had though, who doesn’t love a den?


Cardboard boxes  are great too, we’ve had one for so long now that it’s lost all shape and doesn’t stand up unless you hold it, but Monkey still loves crawling through it as a tunnel and drawing on it.

I really hope this weather improves soon but in the meantime why not check out some of the other indoor play ideas we have had fun with in the past.

Playtime with household objects (ages 6 mths +)

Parcel tape play

Playing with velcro hair rollers and straws

The Diary of a Frugal Family

Our failed Valentine Craft attempt!

You may or may not have read that I have set myself a Creative Challenge to be more creative with Monkey’s playtime and to allow him to explore his creativity more at the same time. I know I am not alone in my fears about messy play but I am trying my best to brave with this challenge. (Please click here if you would like to join the challenge!)

With V day coming up I thought it was a perfect opportunity to be a bit creative. Hubby and I don’t really do valentines day but I thought that Monkey’s Nanny and Grandma might appreciate a card from him. So using an idea I’ve nabbed from Baked Potato Mummy I decided to do some cutting and sticking. I cut out some heart shapes and tore up some tissue paper in suitable valentines colours.


I was going to try and do the gluing on the hearts before Monkey joined in as I was worried how he would get on with the glue… but well I failed and my child is far too clever for me. He always seems to know when I am doing something I don’t want him to know about. I think it’s a combination of me being rubbish at being sly and the fact that he wants to know what is going on ALL the time to make sure he’s not missing out!

So anyway he came to find out what was going on and was immediately obsessed with the glue bottle and lid….

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for ages….

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…even while I was trying to get him interested in sticking things (he loves stickers so I thought he would love it, but, no). He eventually had fun blobbing the glue on the card, but he didn’t want to stick the tissue paper down.

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And then, well I’m not really sure why, I think he thought I was trying to take the glue away from him (he was getting annoyed with having sticky hands so was trying to help!) but he started bawling. Properly bawling. As if his world was ending. For ages. For apparently no reason.

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After a while I got out some little foam bits and he cheered up instantly – and played with them for a bit and then went to off to play-doh. (Kids, eh?)


So well, here are the valentines cards… but I’m ashamed to say that aside from a little bit of glue dobbing, I made them (eye roll). Not a great start to the Creative Challenge!  I’ve tried to console myself that it was good sensory play, and good fine motor control practice, but, well, really it was a big fat fail wasn’t it? haha oh well, you’ve got to laugh! Maybe I will try something slightly less ambitious for our next messy play!


The upside was that when my little bro, Uncle Marky, came round for a play after work, the two of them had a whale of a time playing with the tissue paper, throwing it up in the air and all around! haha They were at it for ages! Silver lining and all that!

Created with Nokia Smart Cam Created with Nokia Smart Cam Created with Nokia Camera

The Creative Challenge linky will open on the LAST WEDNESDAY of every month – so 26th February. I hope your creative challenge is going better than mine is so far! 🙂 Two weeks to go! Click here to find out more!!

Creative Challenge

I’m also linking up with Kid GLloves and Mini creations… though all Monkey really made was a mess 🙂 sorry guys! xx

Mini Creations

Playing with Velcro Hair Rollers – 19 months old

I found this idea via the Kid’s Activities Blog last week on LalyMom and thought it was genius!

I too have wavy/curly hair and have tried in the past to tame it with velcro rollers and well, failed miserably! haha So in a drawer under my bed my velcro rollers have been gathering dust…. until now!


It turns out there is a lot you can do with them and we have barely touched the surface.

They are great for sorting by size, stacking, posting things through, sticking to each other and other things.

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Monkey liked putting them on his fingers and wiggling them around,


You can use them to build, as they stick together, though Monkey just wanted to knock said buildings down so I didn’t manage a photo haha.

We spent ages playing with straws with them too, posting them through was great fun!


Just another reminder that you don’t have to spend loads of money on toys to entertain the kiddies and they are great for those fine motor controls!

Play doh playtime and threading cheerios on spaghetti – 18 months old

Monkey has been enjoying playing with play-doh for a while now but I realised I hadn’t mentioned it in my blogs for a while. Ages ago I made some home made play doh but then Grandma found some on offer and we have been using the bought stuff ever since. We  started off very simple, rolling balls, cubes, just pulling it around, rolling it up, it is a great way of keeping him entertained. It can be messy though so iti si an activity that is very much restricted to the conservatory! He has lots of fun at Grandma and Granddad’s too, as Grandma has found lots of fun stamps and things on ebay which are great.

At home though I have been trying to come up with things that we had around the house already to use to make the play doh playtime a bit more interesting. So this week we used a sieve he had for playing in the sand, some cookie cutters, a rolling pin and a baby comb, which he mainly used like a knife.

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But sometimes even the simplest things still work, as I made a bridge and a ball that he was pushing through, then I made a stick man but his head fell off, oops!

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Something else that I have wanted to try for ages, is threading cheerios onto spaghetti. I’ve waited mainly because of Monkey’s age, but also just because I haven’t got round to it. I got the idea from this lovely website. As we had the play doh out I thought we should give it a try. I was slightly concerned that Monkey would just want to eat the cheerios (another reason I haven’t tried it with him before) and I was right!! haha straight away he was like ooh yummy yes please, haha! He also very much enjoyed playing with the spaghetti, and to my surprise he can actually thread the cheerios on to the spaghetti! I wasn’t sure if he would be able to as it is quite fiddly, but he did do it a few times… in between eating most of the cheerios! haha

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He did seem to enjoy himself though, as well as flexing those fine motor controls, which is always the most important thing.

Posting pipe cleaners – 17 months old

I’ve seen this activity or similar activities on a number of blogs and have been waiting to try it out! One of my favourite Stay at Home Mummy blogs does it here. The basic idea is that you post pipe cleaners in the holes of a colander. So I bought some pipe cleaners and got out the colander so Monkey could have a play.


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He loved playing with the pipe cleaners, waving them around all over the place, although they were longer than I thought, they were all folded over in the pack so they looked short. They were too long for him to post through the holes really, as he was holding them at one end and when he tried to push them through the holes they just bent over. I tried it too and if you held them like that even I couldn’t get them through the holes! He did manage to post them through if I got him to hold it half way down or near the bottom, which I was really impressed at, but he just kept trying to hold them at one end and it led to quite a bit of frustration so we put it away for another day.

Try, try again though! Because it was the length that was causing him problems I decided to cut a few of the pipe cleaners to see if he had more luck when they were shorter. One day when Nanny was here we got them out, had another go, and he loved it! It was still a bit of a challenge for him to get them in the holes, but that’s good for him you know, helps with those fine motor controls! He did manage to get them in the holes sometimes which I was really impressed at!

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Hopefully as time goes on we can use longer pipe cleaners and it will help with problem solving skills too 🙂

Monkey-led play – 17 months old

I realised a few days ago that I haven’t had to come up with many new play ideas recently – and the reason is this: Monkey decides what we play with most of the time these days. He is growing up in front of my eyes and has a mind of his own. I don’t want to stifle that so most of the time our playtime is very much Monkey-led. We are still out and about and busy a lot so when we do have playtime at home, it is very much up to him what we do.

We have different things in different areas, all of his brio wooden train stuff is in a red box under a chair, which he can pull out. (He can’t actually build a track yet but he loves playing with his trains on the track) We also have an area behind the sofa with a lot of toys, and they are divided up so he can get his duplo, or his cars etc. He is just learning to put his duplo bricks together now, and he loves cars. There’s a drawer in this area with his puzzles in and another little cupboard with musical toys. I have to say I find having the different areas is such a help when it comes to tidying up at the end of the day! A good way of keeping all the little bits of toys together! I got the idea from a friend who had something similar at their house and it makes life so much better, we are lucky we have the space for it I know. What storage solutions do you have for toys?

Then we have the conservatory where there are crayons and chalk for drawing, and then in a corner of the dining room is his kitchen, we recently got the smallest, cheapest tea set we could find and he is loving learning to pour the tea and stir the tea :).

So it is pretty much up to him. Obviously he is still little, so sometimes I lead him in one direction or other and help him out. The funniest things and the things that keep him the most entertained, are the random toys, which aren’t really toys. When we were clearing out some junk the other day, we randomly found a pack of jumbo playing cards. I think these must have been Hubby’s as I had never seen them before, but he doesn’t remember them either! Anyway they have become one of Monkey’s random fave toys. His favourite game is the 52 card drop haha!

He also, absolutely LOVES putting the cards back into the box for them. I think they call this fine motor skills or something, but whatever, I love it as it shows how good his coordination is getting these days! He can do this for ages (well, ages in toddler-time anyway, we aren’t exactly talking hours :)). I’m also using them to talk about numbers and shapes. He may not understand this much yet but I don’t think it hurts to start early.

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The other day monkey managed to find a new box of crayons that I was keeping for him, but I didn’t mind because actually he spent ages with his granddad putting them back in the box neatly, taking them out, and repeating. Kept him entertained for ages which is always brilliant 🙂 They are quite good crayons too actually as you don’t have to put a lot of pressure on them to use them. I thought they may be a bit old for him but actually they seem perfect for him at the moment.

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He got into my wool bag the a few days ago too, and although my immediate reaction was ‘noooo!’ I soon relaxed as he found a ball that was already a big jumbled tangled mess, so actually I didn’t mind him playing with that too much. As it was he had great fun pulling it apart and playing with it, very cute 🙂

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There are a few playtime things I want to try out with Monkey, but for the most part he is so happy with choosing what he wants to do that it’s nice to encourage his independence and ideas of his own!

Playing with a Pringles tube and much happier mealtimes 16-17 months

This was another idea I got from Pinterest actually, but again I cannot find the place where I found it initially. So annoying as I don’t want to take credit for other people’s ideas! Oh well though anyway, the idea is that if you take a Pringles tube, (or any other tube of crisps, with a lid) and cut a rectangular slot through the lid so that business cards etc. can be posted though. This helps with fine motor skills apparently! Monkey loves it though anyway, he loves it putting the cards in the slot, and he really loves shaking the tin around afterwards!

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He pretty soon discovered how to take the lid off the tube and that it was much easier to get the cards in… and lots of other things.

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He basically loves this tube, but he also loves posting thing everywhere. He has a tunnel that granddad made for the brio train set, which he loves posting things through, and he spent ages posting crayons down an old wrapping paper tube with his Nanny the other day!

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He also loves to post things under the sofa, behind cushions, under my legs, behind my back, through the bars of the door-gates, through the fire guard… you get the idea! The good thing about the Pringles tube though is that it is handily arm sized so he can get things out again, some of his other posting favourites lead to a lot more frustration, so I try to give him the Pringles tube whenever he is in a posting mood hehe!

In other news we have had a whole week of Monkey eating his dinner! Woohoo!!! I know that these things can change at a drop of the hat  but please, please, pleeeeease let him be growing out of that phase! Even if not though I have enjoyed this week as it has made it so much less stressful that he has eaten his meals. Don’t get me wrong I have had to put in a lot of effort to get this to happen but at least it has paid off, so I am v happy 🙂

Stacking bricks and shape sorting, but still no talking – 16 months

Kids develop at their own pace, we all know that, but as a parent you are still looking out for those milestones and wondering when certain things will happen. It starts with the first smile, then the giggle, rolling over, sitting up, crawling, walking and talking. I think that covers most of the biggies, but there are smaller steps too with their coordination and motor movements, waving, clapping, stacking bricks etc.

Monkey was quite early with some things, as he was walking at 10 months. But talking, he is definitely not early with. My friend’s little boy was talking at 10 months but at the moment, at 16 months old, we have not even had a mama or dada yet. I mean he does say them, but he doesn’t seem to connect them with us in any way. My mother in law is convinced he says “all gone” but he makes loads of noises and yes, sometimes it is possible that they coincide with something happening that matches up…. but for every one of these times, there are hundreds more times where the same noise relates to absolutely nothing.

I try not to worry about it, because kids do develop at different times, but I can’t help keep all of the niggles at bay. I’m not worried about his hearing or his understanding as he definitely understands a lot of what we say. He can respond to simple instructions – such as ” where’s you ball? Go get your ball.” or “can you bring mummy the blue block” sometimes it takes a few goes but he definitely understands a lot of what we say. We try and encourage him to talk by labelling things and talking through what we are doing, and he does watch us intently sometimes and occasionally makes the sound of the first consonant but that is it. We don’t want to put too much pressure on as he is still young and I know he’ll get there when he is ready. Another friend’s nephew wasn’t talking until he was around 2 so I know we aren’t alone.

Sometimes though, it would just make life so much easier if he could talk. The other day he was screaming for ages and I had no idea why. It was really out of character for him and I was trying to ask him what hurt but nothing. Very frustrating! On the other hand though, he is so cute with all of the noises he makes that part of me doesn’t want it to change, as it means he is growing up. He does have other ways of communicating things with us even though he isn’t talking. He takes our hands and pulls us around places. He takes us to the kitchen or the table if he is hungry, he brings us our shoes if he wants to go out. He’ll get his postman pat toy out when he wants to watch the telly. He knows out to communicate with us, but just not with words. On the other hand he tries really hard and babbles away to us with such concentration on his face, usually something like  ga gu go ga gu, and I feel bad that I have no idea what he wants to say!

He is developing really well in other areas though. He built a brick tower with 5 bricks yesterday, which I was really impressed with as normally he is clumsy and knocks the towers over at around 3 or 4 bricks. He has also suddenly got so much better with his shape sorter toy now. Whereas for ages we have been giving him the right hole for each block, he can now find the right hole to put them in, which I was pretty amazed by! He doesn’t get it right 100% of the time of course but he does get it right more often than not which I am really impressed with.

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I’m sure that one day he will just come out with a word, and then there will be no stopping home. I’m sure that one day I will be reminiscing about these cute pre talking times but right now I can’t wait to hear his little voice say something, and for him to be able to talk to me.