Early Childhood Homeschooling Made Easy

Taking teaching and your child's future into your own hands.

Activities to keep kids busy

on September 8, 2012

I like to give my daughter and nephew activities to keep them busy.  It gives them something to do for a little while, and it gives me the opportunity to do things like make lunch or dinner.  The activities can change from day to day, and from week to week.  It tends to depend on my mood, their mood, and what I have on hand.  This week, I had them draw on chalk boards and do an art project with stamps.

These activities are super easy and take very little effort to get ready.  I have two little chalk boards and a container filled with different colored chalk.  All I have to do is sit them down at their mini table with the chalk boards and chalk, and then ask them to draw.  I turned on some toddler tunes for them, so they sat their drawing and singing along with the songs.  When certain songs came on, like Wheels on the Bus, I would ask them to get up and dance with me.  They would dance and sing with me for that particular song, then they would go back to drawing.  They enjoyed the activity, and I enjoyed having some time to get other things done.

My nephew, Alex, holding up his drawing.

My daughter, Kayla. It’s hard to keep her seated for long.

For the art project, I taped some construction paper together and attached it to the top of their mini table.  Then I gave them each a piece of their own construction paper.  I sat out two large ink pads on the table with a bunch of different stamps.  Some of the stamps were of animals, but there was also a star stamp and a heart stamp.  I bought the stamps in a set of 12 rubber stamps for $10 from a local craft store.  I told the kids to put the stamps in the ink, then stamp their papers.  They had a blast.  Sure, they got ink on their hands (and my nephew managed to get it on his face), but since it was washable (kid friendly) ink…it washed right off.  To my delight, they didn’t even drop any of the stamps on the carpet, so there are no ink stains.  Towards the end of them doing this activity, I gave them each two crayons to draw with.  They loved the stamps so much, they didn’t even care about the crayons.  I think they both made a few very small marks on their papers with the crayons, then forgot all about them.

I typically estimate about 20-30 minutes for activities like these.  Beyond that, they may start to get bored.  Sometimes if you add a new element to the activity half way through, they will get excited all over again.  For example, if they are using stamps and you later give them stickers to add to their pictures, they will get excited about the new element.  By adding a new element, you may be able to stretch the activity out to 45 minutes.

A few weeks ago, we lost our power for a few hours and I had to find various activities for the kids to do that didn’t require electricity.  I got out two dry erase boards and washable dry erase markers, sat them at the kitchen island, and told them to draw.  My daughter was tickled pink by the idea that if she moved the eraser back and forth on her board, her picture would disappear.  It’s funny how the simple things can be so exciting to a toddler.  As a parent, I try to remember that activities and projects don’t always have to be fancy, or time consuming to put together.  The kids are easily entertained.  Sometimes it’s nice to keep things simple.

Power outage day activity

Kayla’s favorite part was erasing everything on her board.

What are some of your favorite simple activities to do with your kids?  How do you keep your kids busy while you get other things done?

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