How to keep the kids busy and your puppy happy during a half-term in lockdown

You’ve been homeschooling for weeks, juggling, work, kids, and a puppy. Half term is looming and you are wondering how to make things fun in lockdown whilst occupying and training your pup.


Sound familiar?


In this blog I share 6 ideas to keep the kids occupied and, that will help with puppy training too.




Kids and puppies love games, so why not get them to play together- Safely! ( RSPCA Golden rules)



Pass the Parcel. Pups love this favourite kid’s game

In the puppy version, your pup gets to open every layer without passing it on. Kids will enjoy making up the parcels.


You need;


· Newspaper, towels or boxes that fit inside each other.

· Treats (the kid-friendly recipe for sardine treats would be perfect for this)

· Toilet roll tube.


Start by popping the best treat in the toilet roll.

Fold over the ends to secure the treat.

Wrap it in your first layer.

Pop a small treat or piece of kibble between each layer to keep your pup interested.

Don't make it too challenging at first, start with just a few layers.

Ask the puppy to sit, place the parcel in front of them. Give them the cue ‘Get it ‘and watch them rip the packaging open to find the treat.




Hide & Seek -This game is about finding a hidden toy


Play by selecting a toy that your puppy is not actively playing with

· I let them see the toy

· I ask them to wait whilst you hide it

· Tell them in an excited voice to ‘find it’


Start by making it easy for your puppy. Hide it in plain sight with just a little of it hidden.

Ask your kids to come up with ideas for hiding places. Try hiding 2 toys and play games with your kids to guess which toy will be found first.


Each time your puppy finds the toy it will build their optimism and confidence. Playing is a great way of bonding.

Of course, this needs to be closely monitored especially if there is any resource guarding. A child should never go up to a puppy or dog and take their toy.



Bubbles




Kids, ( including big kids like me) and puppies love bubbles

This great bubble recipe has 4 simple household ingredients and can be made by your kids


· 1/4 cup dish wash soap (dogs like non-scented better) ~

· 1/2 cup water ~

· 1 tsp sugar (makes the bubbles last longer/taste sweeter) ~

· 1 stock cube


Heat water in the microwave for 30-45 sec ~mix all together



If you don't have any bubble wands to hand you can use straws.. just don't suck, dip and blow


(Recipe works well with or without the stock cube)

NOTE: Bubbles can make floors slippery which is dangerous for puppies and children, so I recommend that this is a game for outdoors.



Go on a rucksack walk


Turn a short walk into a great bonding experience for your pup. If you have read my blog ‘How to turn a 15-minute walk into a bonding experience with your puppy’ you will know that you need to pack specific items to take with you.

Something to sniff, something to eat, something to chew, and an interesting item. Maybe let your kids take turns to pack the rucksack or get each of them (if you have more than one child) to be responsible for each of the items that are packed. Make sure everyone understands the rules before you head out.



Sardine pyramids


This quick and easy recipe only requires adult help at the point that it is going in and out of the oven.

All that is needed is a pyramid mat (available here) tin of sardines in spring water, 1 egg, flour (recipe)

By using a pyramid mat it means that once cooked and cooled there is no cutting or chopping required. Any treats that are joined can just be easily broken apart. The best bit, it doesn't matter if one gets popped into the chef’s mouth as the ingredients are just as tasty to kids as they are to pups.



Cardboard town






To make this more fun get your kids to decorate the boxes.

· Turn them into houses or shops.

· Build the town. Make sure you leave spaces to go through, over, and under the boxes.

· Scatter kibble or some of the tasty sardine pyramid treats in amongst, on top, and under the boxes.

· Call your pup over to investigate.


This is a great game for pups as it helps build their confidence. They get used to being around novelty items that might appear in their environment and reduces their reactivity to new things.


Depending on the age of your puppy start slowly. Not too many boxes at once. kids find it funny watching puppies knock down houses and shops in the imaginary town. But try to keep noise and excitement to a minimum. You want this to be a positive experience. You do not want to alarm or scare your pup.


There is nothing greater than seeing everyone have fun together but please follow the RSPCA Golden rules for keeping your child safe and your dog happy


I would love to see photos of you having fun on Instagram.

Don't forget to tag us @nofussfill #nofussfill We have a prize each month for the best photo