Let’s face it: no matter how many cool toys you have, your kids are going to get bored at some point everyday. Here’s where this post comes in! I have learned that sometimes the simplest things bring the most joy for my boys. Here’s a couple of items or activities that help break up the monotony of the day/week and they’re probably things you already have on hand!
I’ll admit, I hate messy activities. It takes time to set up, it has to be closely supervised, and it usually doesn’t last long and you feel like “wow, was this really worth the hassle?” The answer is, yes, usually it is worth it. Painting is an activity that Leo and Xander absolutely love—watercolors, finger paints, or regular paints—they’ll do it all! Giving them some time to sit and create something is perfect for killing some time (usually they’re so excited that they just sit there patiently while setting up) and they have gotten better at doing it for a longer time the more practice they get! So suck it up, let them make a mess, and let them create!
You can do this activity with any supplies that you can find--food, toys, craft supplies, etc! This past week I found some multi-colored clothespins and similar colored craft sticks. I gave them all to Leo and told him to look at all of the colors and clip the clothes pins onto the matching sticks. He loved it! And you can build on the activity by adding in other concepts! We practiced naming colors, counting the clothes pins and we got a little fine motor work in there too! He was very proud of himself when he completed the activity!
I’ve quickly learned that we can have literally hours of entertainment with a couple of balloons in this household! The boys love to run around and hit them up in the air. Such a simple thing, but it really helps to get some of their energy out too. They also love trying to pop them, so I set limits to one balloon per kid when we play with them and if one gets popped, they’ll have to share one. Keeps waste to a minimum and the fun going longer!
I’ve included puzzles in some of my previous posts, but my kids really love themselves a good puzzle! We have several of all different varieties: simpler, large puzzles for Xander, floor puzzles, small puzzles with close to 100 pieces. I like to let them try them on their own, but sometimes will sit and help (depending on the mood for the day). Puzzles are great for fine motor, problem solving and even emotional learning (having patience, learning to fail and try again). Nothing brings more joy to Leo’s face when he completes a puzzle all on his own!
Now this one took me awhile to work up to. I’ve never liked shaving cream--the smell, the feel...even as a kid, I personally freaked out when we played with shaving cream in the tub. But my boys LOVE the stuff! Usually my mom will be the one to let them play with it when she babysits, but I was a little desperate when the whining just wouldn’t stop the other day. I let the boys play with shaving cream all over our big mirror in the dining room. I threw some towels down and let them have at it! Even with this activity, you can incorporate learning and have the kids draw shapes, letters or words. I have to say, it wasn’t SO bad once they got started, so I’m sure this will become an activity that we do more often here at home.
You can never go wrong with books. We love sitting and reading through stacks of books together, or going through and pointing out names in picture books. Reading aloud to kids is SO important no matter what age! They are never too young or too old to have something read to them. It practices comprehension and listening skills. You can also ask questions along the way with the stories! Leo loves any type of book, but he really loves Where's Waldo! For Xander, we practice building his vocabulary using simpler books, but he also loves sitting and listening to a story. Reading to your kids will help prepare them for learning to read in ways that you might not be able to see now, but trust me, you HAVE to do it! (Sorry--getting off of my teacher soapbox now).