Well, as I said in my previous post, we don’t get many days without rain here! When it’s like that outside and we can’t get out J prefers to opt for his iPad and You Tube, usually videos about trains or songs about letters of the alphabet or Hallowe’en 🎃🕸👻 even in summer! Lately he’s diversified and watches rollercoasters and people’s videos of the Jaws ride at Universal Studios!
I don’t like him just being glued to an iPad all day so I’ve tried to find other things that interest him and keep him amused whilst we are stuck indoors. This isn’t easy as he’s an outdoor or technology kind of person and he doesn’t really like crafts, baking or drawing (unless it’s me who’s drawing and I’ve to draw trains and carriages repeatedly – it can get a bit wearing.)
I tried to find some activities that would interest him, help him learn and also meet some of his sensory-seeking needs. It wasn’t easy. Here are some of the things that (occasionally) work for us:
This is probably the most popular. J loves to build towers. He enjoys naming the colour of each block as he adds it too, which is a great opportunity to see what he’s learned. His favourite part has to be knocking it back down when he’s finished though. Our Mega blocks set us also a shape sorter and has spinning dials on top which is an added bonus as J loves to spin things round. It also helps to make it all fall down more quickly. B has only recently started to show an interest in using the mega blocks and likes to build tall towers that topple over all by themselves! I love Mega Blocks as they as so colourful and these ones have lots of different shapes and sizes too.
2. Letter, number or alphabet puzzles or games:
He loves telling us his approximations of names of letters of the alphabet or of numbers. He knows all 26 letters by name and most numbers up to almost 100 when we point them out. In the interests of learning and play I bought some matching games. One in particular, which J seems to play with for longer than others, is Alphabet Match from Orchard Toys. I’m not sure why he likes this better than the others. Maybe the font of the letters, as they have the same flicks and tails used in many school activities, perhaps it makes it more familiar to him. Each picture card also has two pictures on it, rather than the usual one.
We use a Peppa Pig version bought by Gran. It’s lovely and colourful. The boys enjoy jumping on top of it whilst moving their big counters, which have pictures of the characters on them, along the board. The large foam dice is great too. Much more fun and interactive than a plain old board game! This also gives J his much-needed sensory feedback in his feet with the jumping around. W loves to have a crawl all over the top of it too, much to the dismay of her brothers whilst they are trying to play.
4. Matching cards
A particular favourite in our house is the Thomas and Friends Mini Memory game. It has a large number of cards, with all of the main characters and a few lesser known ones too. J loves Thomas and particularly loves to point them all out to get me to say their names. (Learning all of the names was certainly a challenge for me!)
B enjoys this game too. He lays out all of the cards face down and plays until it’s finished and all of the cards are gone. J will try to match the pairs for a while before just taking his favourite pictures and going off to sit at the desk to play with them. It’s a start though and the more we play it, the more he will get used to it.
This one is a colourful picture bingo game. It’s great for J as he loves transport. This game of bingo aims for you to fill a card full of brightly illustrated vehicles like a plane, train, police car, boat, bike, bus, monster truck and, of course, a rocket! The drawings are quite quirky and fun too.
J particularly likes the spinner and it again meets a sensory need for him, even if he does drive B crazy by hogging it all the time. The only downside is that the spinning dial is made from thick cardboard rather than plastic. We’ve had to replace this with a plastic one as it didn’t withstand the force that is J.
6. Playing Cards or Number Snap Cards
A cheap, simple and fun activity that can be played in so many different ways. We use a set of Brightly Coloured Number and Picture Cards from the Early Learning Centre. The boys play snap using these and also number match or counting on/adding the cards.
Normal playing cards are great too. I take out all of the picture cards and only use the number cards. We play snap, identify the numbers and shapes, match the numbers and (my favourite) Higher or Lower. My boys don’t quite get it when I use those famous words ‘you get nothing for a pair, not in this game!’
We were given a lovely retro set of these by my mother-in-law’s lovely neighbour Sue. Every time we visit she gives the boys a gift, which is so kind. B finds matching the wrong tops to tails hilarious and I have to admit, the big kid inside me finds it funny too! J is not as keen on this game and only spent a short time trying it out each time we played with it, before walking off and refusing to join in. I think it upset him that we were mixing them up and they didn’t match. Perhaps if we had followed the rules and done as we were supposed to, he would have stayed a bit longer and been more willing to join in.
Please note that these are all games and toys we have in our house and have used for a while now. The links are included for illustration and are affiliate links which can help to support the site (except Let’s Go bingo which is just a link to the site). There are of course other places which may sell the same items. The items were not specifically chosen due to affiliate links, we had the toys/games in our house and find them very useful.