Screen-Free Indoor Play

It is probably not a huge surprise that we don’t let Tom watch TV. I’ve been mentally composing a post on our attitude to screen time since before I started this blog, but it is still a work in progress. You’ll just have to come back!

What may be more of a surprise is that we do, actually, occasionally play inside. While my general attitude is that if it is daylight and Tom is awake and not eating, we should be outdoors, in practice even we are sometimes put off by cold, windy, wet days. Especially in the afternoons if we have already been out once that day.

On a day-to-day basis, I like to let Tom pretty much potter around freely, doing his toddler thing, which mostly involves running up and down the corridor shouting or pulling everything out of the cupboards and putting it back into a different cupboard. Upside down. However, on the occasional day we are indoors for longer, it helps to offer some other activities to pass the time (and save me from having to rearrange the tupperware draw for the hundredth time).

Monday afternoon was one of those rare ones that we decided to stay in – we had been out for a long walk around the Marshes with a friend that morning and the weather was pretty pants. So I decided to give Tom the opportunity for some messy/creative play.

I am absolutely not a Pinterest mum. My criteria for play activities is that they have to be easy to set up, use stuff we already have in the house, and be safe to eat (since Tom still likes to sample every new substance that crosses his path).

We started with some painting. I didn’t have any non-toxic paint in the house, so I mixed up small amounts of water soluble food dye and let Tom paint with them instead.


Having got bored of painting on paper, Tom and I decided to paint his face as well.


By now, everything was pretty covered, so we retired to the bathroom for some water play. I put our washing up tub on the floor, filled it with warm water and some orange food dye, and added some cups, scoops, rubber ducks and spoons.


Tom got soaked. And loved every moment. He drank more of the water than I would have liked, but since he was very cutely scooping it up with the measuring spoon, and there was nothing in it that could hurt him, I just left him to it. In fact, I managed to read most of my newest National Geographic before he got bored and tried to give me a cuddle. Which meant it was time to get dried off and a change of clothes before dinner.

Two hours passed by like a flash and it didn’t even cost us a penny.

4 thoughts on “Screen-Free Indoor Play

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