I grew up with a saying in my family, and that particular phrase was, “It takes a village to raise a child.”  After becoming a mother I found this to be true and I gladly accepted all the help I could get!  Due to a child’s natural curious nature and their need to explore and discover the world around them, they have an uncanny ability to get into interesting and often ‘sticky’ situations.  In short, children like staying curious and occupied!

In SE Asia, specifically Malaysia, many parents enroll their children into playschool and daycare at a young age.  But though they may be enrolled early into playschool or a daycare programme, there will be times when you as a parent may need to find some activities to do with your kids in order to keep them occupied and engaged.  For example, in Kuala Lumpur and more specifically Selangor, the Ministry of Education has closed schools down a total of six times this year (so far) on account of the haze.  This not only makes it difficult for working parents without live-in help or relatives nearby, but these parents may have to take off work themselves in order to watch their children!  So whether you are one of the parents who stays home with your children during the week, or who has to take off some time at work in order to watch your child during these hazy times, we have come up with some interesting sensory perception activities that will help bring out their creativity and imagination!

1)    Galaxy Slime

This sensory activity is great for kids of all ages and your children are sure to have a blast with this!

Ingredients:  1 5oz bottle of Clear School Glue

½ – ¾ Cup Liquid Starch

Liquid watercolours or Food colouring

Fine Glitter in several colours

Put the glue in a bowl first, add colouring until you reach your preferred colour and then add the glitter.  Start adding the starch in small increments, stirring frequently in between each additional increment. Continue adding and stirring the starch until desired consistency is reached, and then play the day away!

2)    Cloud Dough

This particular dough is so soft, your toddlers won’t be able to stop touching it.  Here is another great activity to do with your children when the weather outside is frightful!

Ingredients:  All-purpose flour

Vegetable oil

Oil-based food colouring

First mix the oil-based food colouring with the vegetable oil.  If you want more than one colour, be sure to set aside a few different containers with the vegetable oil and oil-based food-colouring.  Then mix 2 cups flour with ¼ cup vegetable oil/colour mix.  If you are using three colours then you will need 6 cups of flour:  two cups of flour per colour.

It may be best to have a plastic pool to bring inside, or a plastic tub where your children can play without making too big of a mess in your house.  Adding things like cars, sand toys and measuring cups will keep your children busy for hours!

3)    Laminated Faces with Dry-erase markers!

This is a fun activity to do with your kids, especially the slightly older ones.  What you will need is:

Laminated pictures of family/friends

Dry-erase markers

Have the children sit down and draw funny things on their family and friends’ faces, whether that be mustaches, thick eyebrows, lipstick or the likes.  You could also take the pictures and cut out the heads for more focus.  Regardless, your children will have tones of fun with this activity.

4)     Fluffy Stuff!!    

This one is also a lot of fun, and is a big hit in my home!  Paraphrasing a famous saying from Despicable Me in an attempt to describe this stuff, “It’s so fluffy I’m gonna die!”

Ingredients:  1 bottle of shaving cream

1 box of cornstarch

This is a great activity.  All you need to do is mix the shaving cream and     cornstarch!  Not only is it fun, but after a little while it becomes moldable.  You can keep it for up to a week in a closed container, but it does get stiffer the longer it sits.  But regardless, this can equate to hours and hours of fun!

In summary, there are a lot of activities you can do with your kids when they are stuck inside due to weather such as haze and rain; especially if you live in Malaysia or Indonesia, the haze has been simply awful lately. And due to the Ministry of Education shutting schools down in Petaling Jaya and Kuala Lumpur (due to the health risks involved), it is important to keep your children occupied, entertained and safe. Do try out some of these activities and let us know your thoughts!  Wishing you endless parenting fun!

Jana Moreno