Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Things to do with kids for ages 2-6

Life is Good: and full of ideas

It's official. I have fostered children who want to make the most of every minute. They want to live life to the fullest. They want to move their bodies, use their voices, and create, create, create!

Hahaha. But, seriously. I have two little boys who want to "do something" all of the time. Sure, they are able to play on their own. Sure, we love love love to read. But to be sure, they often ask, "what special project are we going to do now?" Most of the time, they are delighted with anything I suggest, but on occasion, the big kid will protest that he wants "a different fun idea".

Recently, I decided to write some project ideas on strips of paper and put them in an envelope for them to pick out. This prevents any "I don't want to do that" or "I want to do something different" objections. So far, it works great!

So much so, that I decided to make an "idea jar" to have all year round. Whenever someone (the big kid) is bored or wants something to do, just take a strip out of the idea jar! (DUH! Why didn't I think of this sooner?) Warning, though! One of the ideas might be to help your mom clean something! (Fortunately, my kids love to least I know that I have been somewhat of a good influence on them. Wink!)

And to be clear, I am sure this is not a novel idea. I probably scrolled past this on Pinterest. I am sure that many moms before me have made idea jars. They probably decorated theirs with glitter or an elaborate monogram, bedazzled it, decoupaged it, and made theirs look enormously more grand than ours. a jar. Just...a jar. Filled with strips of paper. The end. 

Here are some of our "idea envelope/jar" creations...

Above, the clay creation by our 2 1/2 year old. He said it was "a guy". (I think it looks like a bunny!) I love the Crayola Air-Dry Clay. No baking required and it dries hard within a few hours to a day. You can leave it grayish white or paint it once it is dry. Very fun.

And below, we practiced drawing cars. Here are our 5 1/2 year old's versions...

And then, our 2 1/2 year old's creation...

Then, it was time to practice writing to 100 (the big kid is obsessed with "bubble letters")...

And write some thank you notes...

And then, making houses using squares, triangles and rectangles. This is what I love about kids. I would have expected one like this example I showed our little one...

But instead, he did this...

And the big kid did this...

If you want to make your own "Idea Jar", don't stress. They can be very simple ideas. It took me about five minutes (maybe less?) to come up with ours.

Here are some of the ideas in our jar:
1. Play "Simon Says"
2. Make a collage with black and white paper
3. Create your own "obstacle course" using pillows, boxes, stairs, blocks, etc
4. Use white crayon or chalk on black paper
5. Build a city out of things from the kitchen cupboards
6. Make an "invention" out of paper towel or toilet tissue tubes
7. Have a dance party
8. Draw a picture of our family
9. Play with a bowl or container of flour, rice, or beans and measuring cups, spoons, etc
10. Practice writing your name
11. Get a big piece of paper (or wrapping paper or recycled brown grocery bags, etc) and draw out your child's body, then let them decorate it
12. Make an "invention" out of an extra box (any size...shoe box, jewelry box, shipping box, etc)
13. Clean your room!
14. Paint a picture of fish swimming in the ocean
15. Practice writing to a certain number (like 100)
16. Play dress up and make it a game with ideas like "silliest outfit" or "dress like mommy" or "dress like daddy", etc
17. Make up a story, then draw a picture of a scene from the story
18. Make a collage of your favorite animals at the zoo
19. Play "Red Light, Green Light"
20. Read a book
21. Make a piece of art using food (like carrots, celery, red pepper sticks, raisins, blueberries, banana slices, etc)
22. Help fold laundry or put it away
23. Practice drawing lions and tigers
24. Play with playdough
25. Stack something (cups, containers, blocks, etc) as high as you can
26. Make a card and decorate the envelope so that we can mail it to a relative or a friend
27. Build something with blocks or legos
28. Play "The Alphabet Game" with stuff inside of your house. Extra fun if you take pics of it all.
29. Bake some muffins
30. Blow up a balloon and try to keep it from falling on the floor
31. Make a self portrait
32. Practice drawing animals from the savannah
33. Do 20 jumping jacks
34. Bake some bread, cookies, or muffins
35. Make a drawing to leave in a neighbor's mailbox
36. Make something out of clay
37. Count as high as you can
38. Sing a song
39. Play "Mother May I?"
40. Tell a story
41. Bake some bread
42. Act like a bunny or a frog or an elephant
43. Thread pasta onto a string to make necklaces or bracelets.
44. Practice drawing cars
45. Pretend you are on vacation. Where are you going? What do you need to pack? What will you do there?
46. Practice drawing fish, sharks and dolphins
47. Make a lava lamp
48. Build a fort out of a blanket and other things around the house
49. Play a pretend game of "basketball", "football", "soccer" or any other sport. Announce your moves and shots as you go along.
50. Eat your lunch or snack in character. Flip roles---the kids get to be the parents and the parents have to act like the kids. OR everybody eats and talks/makes noises like a particular animal (dog, horse, cow, etc) OR everybody eats and talks like a favorite person, movie character, etc. 

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