Christmas is so exciting and that’s double true if you have young children. The magic that is Santa Claus, Family and decorating the Christmas Tree will always be a memorable time of the year that your kids will remember for the rest of their lives. But how often have you spent hours racking your brain to come up with a unique present that won’t get pushed to the back of the cupboard by the time Easter comes? I know I have spent countless nights writing lists and scrolling pages trying to find a gift for my eldest daughter, who has little patience for slow toys. My daughter is almost 7 and she has a lot of energy. She also is a very sensory-driven kid so that means lots of mess, lots of mixing and mashing and lots of outdoor activities! I find it extremely hard to keep her entertained for longer than 5 minutes without taking her out to a playground or to a friends house.
During my hunt for the perfect Christmas gift, I came across a few ideas that are a little too late for Christmas gifts this year but nonetheless, I will share with you all for future reference!
1. Home Jungle Gym
This is what I decided on for my little energiser bunny! Practical, multifunctional and something I don’t think she would have dreamed of in a million years. The downside is you will need the space to safely set it up. But the upside is a jungle gym is something that will get used not just for one year – but they will get fun out of this right up until they hit high school.
You can’t go wrong with a sandpit! It is a sensory wonderland: sand, water, mixing, making… and you can find some great sandpits with covers, storage space and water tubs for a great price if you look around. Not just hours but years of fun will be had with a sandpit!
3. Backyard Obstacle Course
A backyard obstacle course could be the answer to your prayers if you have a child with high energy and you are looking for something that will help them burn some of that energy up. You might struggle to find a full set up but it’s such an easy thing to put together yourself, made up of single activities that you can buy on their own from somewhere like Kmart or Decathlon.
4. Boxes and Boxes and Boxes
Everyone loves a good ol’ box fort – especially kids! And who wouldn’t love to wake up on Christmas morning and see a mound of boxes waiting for them? I know my kids would! This is a cheap, out-of-the-box (no pun intended) way to keep your little ones preoccupied for a while. In my house, a box obsession lasts longer than a toy obsession!
5. Teepees with Sticks
Depending on the age, capabilities and interests of your children, large/long sticks (or even small branches) are a great way to keep young ones entertained outdoors as well as keeping their mind active. Box forts? Why not stick forts or teepees? This is a great activity for kids who like to get outside and play in nature. *Adult supervision advised.*
6. Mud Kitchen
Oh, how I wish I knew about these 5 years ago! Mini wooden kitchens with built in sinks for mud and water… it’s like the perfect sensory story. My daughter would have absolutely lived and breathed this when she was younger – she still would. (If only I could find one big enough for her!) The best part is, you can hook the mud kitchen up to your tap so the children get to work on their life skills by turning the taps on and off as well as getting messy!
If you have any other sensory activity ideas to keep the kids entertained for more than a minute, let us know in the comments!