Like many mommas, one of my biggest goals this year was to spend more intentional time with my daughter and take her on many ‘first time’ dates. So, I wrote down ideas for activities she had never done, like swimming, and places she had never been, like the zoo. I had managed to knock off a few of these, then in came the ‘Rona’. Because most, if not all the activities I came up with were outdoorsy, and the outdoors are currently closed till further notice, I thought I would have to cancel everything.
During a chat with a friend, she told me about the great pizza date-night she had with her daughter, all in the safety of their living room! That is when it occurred to me that the mommy-daughter dates I had planned didn’t have to be put on hold. I could improvise and switch up many of the same ideas to suit the circumstances.
I came up with some quarantine-friendly activities you can try out if you are looking for date ideas with your toddler.
When I think picnic, I think serene gardens with lush grass and lots of space for my toddler to run about. Under the lock-down, that has become a luxury, so why not temporarily re-purpose your home? Put aside all furniture, lay a mat right in the center of the room and have your picnic. Kids are fascinated by the simplest of things. Be sure to buy/make a few of their favorite snacks and voila! You have a picnic. If you’re lucky enough to have a home with large compound, you might as well take the fun outside on a beautiful day.
2. CRAFT MAKING
Spend an afternoon making something from scratch. Let’s be honest; an afternoon might be way too long for your toddler to concentrate on a single task, so pick something simple but fun. You could make kites, color them and fly them or maybe paper boats that you can float in a basin of water. Pro tip: pick something you can actually make! My daughter once asked me to make her a paper boat. Instead of owning my shortcomings, I accepted the challenge because Mommy knows everything right? Wrong! It was a total fail, because who still remembers how to make a boat they last made in primary school?
If it is your kind of thing, pick a night where you and your kid set up camp in your living room. Break some of your bedtime routines just this once. Have late night snacks, sleep later than usual and tell stories with your toddler. You do not even have to go all out with tents and camping gear ( you could if you want to), just a good old mattress in the living room will do, and it will be so exciting for your toddler.
4. TEA PARTY WITH DOLLS
Children this age are constantly playing house with their dolls and asking you to join in. Many times, we are busy with a chore or just too tired to fully participate. We halfheartedly carry the ‘baby’ handed to us to babysit (I mean I am ok being a grandma just not this young!). Why not have a full-blown party with your toddler’s dolls? You could get a toy tea set, or improvise with empty tins and plastic cups from your kitchen. You may not have all the time in the world to spend with your child, but a toddler’s attention span is quite short anyway, so make the most of the time you have together and have fun!
5. HAVE THEM PICK
Ask your child to pick an activity she would like to do with you. Explain to her that it cannot be outside your home. It may seem like they do not understand, but they do. It may take a while for them to make up their mind, but when they do voice how they would like for you to spend time with them, listen and implement it in the best way possible.
Although COVID-19 may have thrown a wrench in them, you don’t have to completely scrap your plans to enjoy fun activities with your child. Make do with what is available. The good news is that it doesn’t take much to make a toddler’s day, and these are memories both of you will cherish for years to come.
Yunia Kazibwe is the founder of Adulting Out Loud. She is a wife, and mother to an amazing little girl. When she is not writing for the blog or recording for the podcast, Yunia loves spending lazy days with family, watching movies and catching up on a good series. Though she doesn’t currently have one, she loves cats.
Yunia prefers texting to phone calls, enjoys taking walks, and her favourite snack is popcorn. She often plays pranks on people, and only stops laughing to catch a breath.