Thursday, February 25, 2010

15 Ways to Keep Preschoolers Busy...

Reader Question--

What do you do with
toddlers/preschoolers all day?

(besides TV!!!)

Here is a few of my favorites!

1. BOOKS -- I know nothing new, but a big basket
of books goes a long way. Even if you're not there to
read them all the time, they sure do like looking at them!
2. Puzzles -- I had 2 kids that loved them and 2 that could
care less. My 4th will sit and do them for a long time!

3. Tupperware -- I know an odd one. Give a child tons
of bowls, butter tubs, lids and they'll love it. Add something
they can put in take out like matchbox cars or legos and you
have a fun and easy activity! If you're real brave and don't have
a headache, add a wooden spoon or two!

4. Paper, Cut Up Tissue Paper, and Glue-- Take
different colored tissue paper and cut it into shapes.
Set the pile beside them, give them a glue stick,
and watch them make a creation.
(they'll be so proud!)

5. Coloring -- Seems a no brainer! I loved the
Color Wonder marker sets. My son has graduated to washable
markers, although some days I wish I still had the color wonders.

6. Legos -- Again nothing new but they are something my kids
spend hours doing. When they're real young use the big blocks!
They just don't seem to out grow Legos!

7. Widgets -- This is something kids can start building with at
a very young age. They're easy to build with. It is also something
challenging for bigger kids when they try to match the cards!
(unfortunately not cheap but worth the money, IMO!!)

8. Play doh -- Some hate the clean up and I'm usually one
that cringes too (typically an outside only activity around here!).
But I've allowed my 3 yr. old to play several times inside this winter
and the clean up is actually very easy and doable.
(Just make sure it's NOT on carpet!)
If you worry about your little one eating it, try
this edible play doh recipe!

9. Pictures -- My toddlers always LOVED this. I had a basket
of misc. pictures that was theirs to look at. They were totally
extra so I didn't mind if they got a little bent or even ruined.
They love to look at themselves, mommy, daddy, aunts, uncles!
You get the idea!! Cost for 30-50 prints would be very cheap

10. Magnets on fridge -- Just make sure they don't put them in
their mouth. Magnets come in all shapes, sizes, and themes.

11. Foam shapes -- Make sure your little one is past the
stage of putting things in their mouth. Otherwise this is
very dangerous! Simply let them string the shapes.
I let them do this over and over. You can also
tie it for a wonderful necklace!!!
You can usually find a big tub of these in the craft section.

12. Games -- Some games are fun for younger children to play
by themselves. My son loves Blokus. He doesn't play the
right way, but loves putting all the shapes on the board.

13. Forts-- Build your little one an indoor fort and let them play, look
at their books, or color in it! It's easy to make this with a
table and a sheet!

14. Stickers -- Again assuming they won't put them in
their mouth. This can be costly if they go through them
like my son. It does however keep them very occupied!

15. Check out Rainbow Resource here for 3 pages
of games/activities you can buy to keep your
little one occupied in a fun educational way!

I'd love to hear your favorite
activities for toddler's/preschooler's
Leave us a comment!


Sarah said...

The little sewing boards are great too. They keep busy for hours sewing (taking the string and 'sewing' it onto the board). Also the basic square, wooden blocks are great. When ever one of those items (plus some you have named!) are brought out, it's SO EXCITING!

Great post! :)

Genesa said...

Great ideas Megan! My preschooler just likes to turn things into trucks.....the cofee table, bookcase,pantry!!!!!=)

Gaertegang said...

I also love a couple of games from Discovery toys. Playful patterns is one of them. There are cards with pictures on them and they use foam shapes and place them on the picture to match them up. Also their Peg Board, allows kids to stack pegs in many different ways. (by shape, by color, ect.)
I try not to use the TV much but if I feel like that is the only good option at the time try any of the LEAP FROG DVD'S. They are totally education and fun for the kids to watch. Actually they are a sneaky way of getting some learning into their day. My Preschoolers actually knew all the phonic sound of each letter before you could say his ABC's in order. ( a little backwards I know, but learning none the less.)
If you are worried about little ones ripping, tearing, eating, or bending your precious flashcards you can always laminate them. I have done this to almost all of my flashcards, and now don't have to worry about them ruining them...they can play away with "their own" cards, and think they are doing cards like the big kids!

Kimber said...

Thanks for the post!!! I got a few new ideas! My toddler loves stickers, and I've found a great way to get them is after holidays. I recently picked up some cute heart stickers at 50-75% off after Valentine's Day. She doesn't care that the holiday is over, she just loves the stickers.

Megan said...

play-doh, puzzles, books, markers/paper/sticker crafts, preschool workbooks, lacing cards, and board games are big hits in our house.


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