Thursday, December 3, 2009

Fun Activities: Keep Your Kids Busy

Wouldn't it be great to make a phone call or pay some bills without a half dozen interruptions? Try these distractions -- with stuff you already have around the house

What to have on hand

Create a special box or drawer filled with the following supplies that your child can use only during your "coworking" times.

Tools: Glue stick, masking tape, markers, kid-safe blunt scissors

Handmade books: Scrap-paper books, quickly stapled together, are a more exciting place for collages, scribbles, and stickers than single pages.

Interesting junk mail: Invitations, toy catalogs, odd-size or colored envelopes, giveaway stickers and mailing labels, paper mailing tubes, checkbook boxes

Precut pictures: From catalogs, junk mail, and duplicates of your photos

Stick 'em up

What you'll need: Pad of sticky notes, crayons
Best for: 1 and up
  • Stick a few rows of notes to a wall or the side of your desk and have your toddler take them off and put them back up again (and again!).
  • Hand your older toddler a pad of notes and a few crayons and say, "Would you draw a picture on each, and then decorate this door?"
  • Write a number from 1 to 20 or an individual letter -- from the alphabet, or just the ones in your child's name -- on each sticky note. Place the numbers or letters out of order on the wall and challenge your preschooler to put them in order.
  • If your child counts but doesn't yet recognize numbers, put one star on one note, two stars on the next one, and so forth. Then he can also line up his notes by the number of stars.

Souped-up stickers

What you'll need: Paper, two or three sheets of different stickers
Best for: 18 months and up
  • Draw small shapes and letters on the piece of paper. Toddlers can simply cover each shape or letter with a sticker.
  • Preschoolers can follow a key: Dog stickers go over the letter "D," for example, or stars on top of every "S."

Envelope surprise

What you'll need: Six envelopes with pictures of different objects in each one
Best for: 1 and up
  • Give your younger toddler one envelope at a time to explore; an older toddler can glue the pictures onto a piece of paper.
  • Hand over all the envelopes to your preschooler. She can sort the photos of like items into separate envelopes.

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