Your child can play alone. Here are three cheap and easy ideas to encourage independent gaming.

This one is so easy to set up and keeps kids entertained for a long time.

Mind container with rice and toys

How to set it up: Fill a container with rice or dry pasta. Throw in a shovel and bury some toys in it. Your child will enjoy scooping, pouring, and finding the treasures you have buried.

Plasticine is a classic for a reason. It’s a flexible material (literally) that opens up all sorts of creative possibilities.

Knead with a rolling pin and butter knife

How to set it up: You can use this recipe to make your own modeling clay. Rolling pins, cookie cutters, and a kid-friendly knife are fun additions.

This activity is perfect when it only takes a minute and kids love it.

How to set it up: Fill a bucket outside. Let your child go to town with squeeze bottles, sponges, and brushes. Collect flowers and leaves and make “natural soup” or potions. Surprisingly, children actually dig into “painting” rocks with a paintbrush dipped in water.

And here’s a Montessori-inspired water play activity: give your child some dishes, a sponge, and a small amount of soup to wash off. This is a win for the parents!

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