By Melissa Grant
Coming up with ideas to keep the kids entertained at home can be difficult.
Children typically get bored of new toys pretty quickly and there are only so many times you can draw and paint together.
Also, you don’t want to spend a fortune (otherwise you would just go out, right?).
This is where Instagram can come in handy.
The social network features a number of impressive accounts where creative mums share their best play ideas. Some have attracted hundreds of thousands of followers.
The pages feature a wide range of do-it-yourself play ideas, including craft, word building activities, water activities and cardboard modelling.
Some even giveaway toys and crafts to followers.
Many of the popular pages have been created by mums with backgrounds in early education.
Jennifer Simpson started her page @little_play_ideas while on maternity leave from her early education teaching job.
The mother of two, based south of Perth, has more than 129,000 people following her Instagram page.
She says her most popular posts tend to be simply do-it-yourself activities.
“A lot of my followers are just like me – parents of preschoolers, looking for ways to keep the kids busy without spending a fortune,” she said.
“I love sharing ideas that involve using everyday items from around the house because saving money is always a win and I know so many people are going to find it really useful.
“My most popular post to date involved spoons and pegs.”
So how does Jennifer, whose daughters are aged 2 and 5, come up with her play ideas?
She says years of teaching have definitely helped give her an understanding of learning through play and early childhood development.
“I consider what the girls are interested in or need to work on first, then I create or find an activity to suit,” she explained.
“So it’s really the kids that inspire the activity ideas more than anything else.
She started her Instagram page after friends praised the play ideas she had been posting about on her personal account.
“I had a lot of mummy friends telling me they found the ideas really useful for their own kids, but felt like I was spamming everyone else with endless baby photos,” she said.
“So I decided to make a second account under the name @little_play_ideas to keep all the play activities in one place.
“I had no idea it would end up being useful to so many people!”
Great Instagram accounts to follow for play ideas: