Childcare Work

Lockdown Activity Ideas for 5-Year Olds

The world is a strange place at the moment, though that might be the understatement of the year.

Though most of the world has stopped, as a nanny and childcare provider for families with key-worker parents, I’m still pretty busy. Here’s what I’ve been doing with the 5-year old that I look after most of the time.


This family, more specifically a mum and 5-year old daughter (plus a 6-month old Border Collie), are fortunate to have a decent back garden, and here in the UK we’re currently going through a wonderfully sunny and warm period (more of that please, weather!). Over the past few weeks, we’ve been taking advantage of these things…a lot.


One of our favourite activities at the moment is making a ‘garden soup.’ This is great for children in the transporting and containment schemas, and for continuing to develop motor skills (gross and fine). We like to take a bucket and I fill it approximately half-full of water from the garden tap. Then I let the 5-year old go wild (within reason – she’s not allowed to dig holes in the ground), choosing what she wants to put into the soup. Often we end up with a soup full of ‘long grass,’ ‘yellow leaves,’ ‘tree flowers’ (we’re working on calling that ‘blossom’), and ‘salt and pepper’ (the remaining sand in her old sand box). She mixes, I mix sometimes, and then she starts dividing the soup into other, smaller, buckets – testing her control and fine motor skills. We ‘drink’ it, and it keeps her entertained for a good 30-45 minutes.


Other outdoor activities that we’ve been doing include bouncing on the trampoline, playing with the dog – usually kicking balls for her -, and using garden chalks on the fences and patio areas (we often incorporate homeschooling time with this, but more on that another day). We’ve also recently started taking lunch outside, too.


If the weather calls for us to stay indoors, we’ve been doing a lot of baking, having a lot of dance parties (dressed as Princess Elsa, duh), reading, and painting. This all, for the most part, fits in with the transformation schema, as she enjoys mixing all the paint colours together (we use kiddy-watercolours as well as kiddy-poster paints) to see what new colours can be made (usually a dire brown!), weighing out and mixing together the ingredients for cookies (I get the joys of washing up and, usually, forming the cookies), and any and all forms of dressing up. Book-wise, we tend to make time for a story or two before bedtime. Particular favourites of late have included ‘The Story of the Little Mole Who Knew it was None of His Business‘ and ‘On the Way Home.’

Are you a childcare worker? Do you have children? What are you doing with them to keep them entertained during this strange turn of events?

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