The following is a post from contributing writer, Christy @ Eclectic Momma
This year, we started our new school year with two middle schoolers and an energetic little preschooler. I need some help keeping this little guy busy and happy.
If you are in a similar situation, it’s helpful to have a few ideas to get you started. Easy ideas you can pull out at a minute’s notice that won’t distract your other children from their work.
Fun Skill Building Activities:
Song CDs Listening to their favorite music with or without headphones.
Sorting all those bottle caps you’ve saved by color. Use paper plates or old yogurt/butter container lids.
Using a spoon to put marbles into a water bottle. Give them lots of marbles.
Ice excavations Freeze animals, toys, etc. into a block of ice. Give your preschooler play tools to excavate.
Building sets Lincoln Logs, K’Nex, Mega Blocks, Legos My preschooler can occupy himself with these kinds of sets for at least an hour at a time. Be sure to rotate them, so they don’t become bored.
Cut up straws to string
String beads onto pipe cleaners
Nuts and Bolts Sorting or screwing together a various assortment of nuts and bolts can provide great motor skill practice while occupying your preschooler.
Sort a pile of cars into various colors and/or count the cars into piles of 5.
Car wash Get a pile of cars and locate your preschooler near a sink or even at the sink. We fill a big bowl with soapy water and let him start washing. An old bottle brush does well as a “car washing” tool. Spread a towel out on the counter to place wet cars and to catch any extra pools of water. When they tire of washing, replace the water and let them rinse. Then, dry!
Vinegar painting Fill a tray with baking soda . Tint vinegar with food coloring. Teach your preschooler how to use an eye dropper. Drop colored vinegar onto baking soda and wait for the reaction. Both the chemical reaction and your preschooler’s face.
Let Them Be Apart of the Action:
Let older ones teach younger ones. If you have multiple children, let one work with your preschooler or read them books while you are helping another sibling.
Let preschoolers participate in any hands-on lessons. Our preschooler does art lessons alongside his older siblings at his own level.
School of their own:
Letter of the Week activities Last year, my youngest was 3 and we worked out way through the entire alphabet one letter at a time. He has an ABC binder filled with the projects we completed.
Audio books Our local public library has a great selection in circulation. We love books that have the “ding” (turn the page) option.
Making letters from pretzel sticks.
Cereal Name Outlines Write their name on paper and have your preschooler trace it with glue. Then, use cereal to outline.
Play-doh letters Make play-doh into the shape of letters.
Action Activities (that aren’t as distracting):
Simon Says Give your preschooler various tasks to perform while you are working one-on-one with older kids. “Simon says go do 20 jumping jacks! Simon says, walk up and down the stairs 5 times!”
Chores Dusting, washing plastic dishes, helping load washer and/or dryer, picking up after themselves.
Christy spends her days chasing one rambunctious preschooler, while keeping up with his older siblings. She loves reading mysteries, watching birds out her kitchen window, and blogging about life and home schooling at Eclectic Momma. She’s learning to take life as it comes trusting in the only ONE that knows the future.