As we march toward spring and the last push of our school year, our younger siblings are wanting more and more to have work of their own. In order to help them feel important and allow the olders and I to get some focused time, I have taken to making 7-10 activities for the littles to choose from each month. At the beginning of our school time, the younger ones pick one basket as their morning work. They do the same thing again after our second family learning block. This second basket becomes their late morning work. Below are the activities that will be available to choose from in March.
1. Conversation Heart Sensory Bin – Fill a container you can use for a sensory bin with a few bags of conversation hearts. They usually cost about $1 a bag. These sturdy colorful candies are fun to scoop, dump, drive cars through and sift through your fingers. Spoons, cups, cars and tweezers add an extra layer of fun to this sensory bin.
2. Shop the Rainbow – As a child there was a commercial that told me to taste the rainbow, but I’m fairly certain it didn’t have to do with fruits and veggies. This activity however does encourage good food choices. We grab the local grocery ads and put them in a bin with scissors, a 6 cup muffin tin, half pieces of plain paper and a glue stick. The child’s first job is to cut out various foods from the grocery ad. They he or she sorts the foods by their color into the muffin tin. Finally they glue the foods to papers with the name of the color written on them. Bonus points if next time you shop you get something off each color paper and allow the toddler / preschooler to taste the rainbow.
3. Sock Match – Save all the socks out of the laundry and set your little one to work. I don’t know about you but I dread matching and folding socks; however, I have found that preschoolers love it. They match them all and then roll them into balls with and amazing efficacy.
4. Edible Paint– Put some food coloring into corn syrup and mix. Place some press and seal on the table and let them go. We usually do this one with a smock or without our shirt. Bath time nearly always follows.
5. Colored Tape Pictures – Using washi tape or colored masking tape allow your child to make a picture using only the tape. Sometimes tearing tape can be difficult and for moments like this, I always provide safety scissors. These pictures though abstract are some of my favorite pieces of art my little ones create.
6. Green Paint Bag – Inside of a zipper top bag, place a blob of blue paint and a blob of yellow paint. Zip AND tape the bag closed. Tape the four sides of the bag to a table and encourage your child to mush the colors together to make green. After they have made the new color, show them to use it to draw and erase.
7. Gold Hunt – Hide 10 gold coins (we use the plastic ones) around your house and send your little one on a treasure hunt.
8. Build a Leprechaun House – Pesky leprechauns are hard find but maybe just maybe if you build him a house he will come to visit and stay. We play this one up and allow the boys to make as many of these as they like. Some nights the leprechaun comes and leaves behind a treat and others they decide our house wasn’t the best stop. Activities like this get them thinking and allow them to use a lot of different materials – Duploxs / Legos, wooden blocks, cardboard boxes, etc.
9. Water Bead Sensory Bin – Fill a container you can use for a sensory bin with a couple teaspoons of water beads and several cups of water. You’ll need to follow the exact directions on your water beads. Water beads are usually fairly inexpensive and a few teaspoons go a long way. These slippery orbs are fun to scoop, dump, drive cars through and sift through your fingers. Spoons, cups, cars and tweezers add an extra layer of fun to this sensory bin.
There you go. nine quick younger sibling activities to help get you through March without pulling your hair out because everyone needs you RIGHT NOW. No matter how you choose to occupy your littlest ones, remember keep smart. Keep it simple.