Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Keeping Toddlers/Preschoolers busy

This winter seems like it has lasted 5 years. We are all anxious to get to a park. And soon! Here in MN however, we have more snow coming down this week. Yippee.

Thought I would compile a list of fun things to do for anyone else going stir crazy and for myself on those days when my brain isnt fully engaged and all i can think to do is press play on a movie. again. The ideas come from things I did as a kid, my time working in an ECFE classroom, ideas from fellow Moms, and things we have tried from blogland.

If you have any ideas to add, please comment! I love to hear what other Mamas are littles are doing.

1. Blow bubbles and have a dance party

2. Play dress up

3. Give the baby dolls a bath in a small tub (with a table cloth underneath or in the bathroom)

4. Paint with trucks, trains and cars (picture soon to come)

5. Paint with noodles

6. Dip rubber ducks in paint and create a masterpiece.

7. Hide and go seek

8. Fort building

9. Cook- even the littlest chef at our house likes to mix and play with kitchen utensils.

10. Paint with those kitchen utensils- think potato masher dipped in paint

11. Use whipped cream or shaving cream as a sensory activity

12. Window crayons and markers

13. Read

14. Grab an old spaghetti sauce jar, fill with water, food coloring and fun objects (buttons, bouncy balls, glitter ect.)

15. Use your old egg cartons to make caterpillars, ants, and birds!

16. Make puppets out of socks, your old toilet paper tubes, or brown lunch sacks.

17. Use duck tape to create letter fun

18. Use duck tape to create balance beam lines. Have the kids walk sideways, backwards, or hop down the line!

19. Have a picnic in the living room

20. Pile up some pillows and blankets, pull out the popcorn popper and some snacks and have a movie afternoon.

21. Dye some rice or pasta fun colors. Use a TBSP of white vinegar and then add a few drops of food coloring. Shake up in a gallon sized zip lock-super fun for the kids- and then let dry in the sun or on a paper towel. Use for various art projects.

22. Blow up an air mattress and let the kids be jumpin monkeys

23. Gather some snow in a pail and fill your sink. Give the kids stools and scoops of all kinds and let um at it.

24. Make some hearts or cards with directions on them. Laminate them and put them in a circle. Play some music and have them walk the circle. Like musical chairs, when the music stops, they freeze. Whatever they land on- they must do! (Hop on 1 foot, sing their abc's, do the crab-walk, count to 10, ect)

25. Make marshmallow sculptures. Mini Marshmallow and toothpicks are all they need. See if there are any marshmallows left uneaten, they are irresistible to little ones.

26. Bathtub swimming party! Swim suits, bubbles, and lots of bath toys needed. Food coloring is one of our favorite things for baths. I remember swimming in colorful baths as a kid and my kids ask for colored baths pretty much daily too. (Doesn't dye the skin or the tub, just the water. :-))

27. Make compassion kits- gather some large Ziploc baggies and some supplies (travel toothpaste, shampoo, toothbrushes, socks, hand sanitizer, local fast food gift cards, travel wipes, hats, mittens, little bibles, ect) Have your kids help you put them together and take the opportunity to teach them about serving and have compassion for others. Put them in your car and next time you pull up to someone with a sign- pass them out. (Great idea for a group activity, have each Mom and her children bring all of one item and put your resources together)

28. Practicing sorting- colors, shapes, sizes, ect.

29. Lace. Make your own lacing cards or pick up some Melissa and Doug lacing cards.

30. Games! Some of our favorites include; Hi Ho Cherry-O, Kids Charades, Candyland, Dora and Shrek Memory, and Kids Boggle

31.Make gloop. Mix cornstarch and water. It gets all goopy when they aren't touching it but turns into a putty like substance once they are playing with it. Fun, fun, fun!

32. Pick up a tunnel on the cheap at Ikea and let them crawl through and create their own playland.

33. Kids tents- often on super sale at Target and Walmart. We read in there, it becomes their house, a castle, the possibilities are endless.

34. Puzzles

35. Let the kids "do the dishes" Put out a water table or a large Tupperware bucket and have the kids wash their play dishes and toys. Give washcloths and if you want add antibacterial soap. Fun for the kids and gets those poor neglected slobbered on toys a much needed cleaning!

36. Stuffing activities. Use a empty clear coffee creamer and some craft sticks. Littler ones especially enjoy putting them in and pulling them out. Use a Parmesan cheese container and have kids put pipe cleaners or uncooked spaghetti into the holes.

37. Letter hunt- cut out the clear section on the front of your pasta boxes and glue it to a craft stick. Get really invested and act the part as you hunt for letters. (could be searching for things of a certain color as well)

38. Simon Says

39. Follow the Leader

40. starfall.com

41. Collect scarves and pull them out for fancy dancing.

42. Lego and block building contests

43. Color on the walls- cover your walls with butcher paper and let them at it!

44. Putting away the silverwear. One of Sophias favorite things to do. Helps her to sort and helps me! :-)

45. Washing windows- another one of Sophias most requested house tasks.

46. Sponge play- you can paint with sponges or transfer water from one bowl to another.

47. Listening games. Have the kids close their eyes and guess which sounds you are making. Jingle keys, coins, silverware. Tap on a glass, click your tongue, tap on the window. Whistle, roll a car on the table or open a door.

48. Pillllllllow Fight!

49. Magnetic activities- use your colored rice or pasta and hide things that are magnetic and some that are not. Use a magnetic wand and have the kids fish out what is magnetic and sort.

50. Tea Parties with all the stuffed animals. Get fancy. Make finger foods, and drink lemonade out of tiny cups (or hot chocolate)

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