Tuesday, May 26

busy, busy, busy!

Aaron is a busy BUSY boy. This is a comment I often hear when I pick him up from the nursery, so I know it's not just a figment of my imagination. And we all know what happens when a busy boy doesn't have enough to do. Chaos erupts.

I need H.E.L.P! I can hardly keep enough things around for him to do - and some of his favorite activities, like playing with beans or my button tin, must be reserved for Evan's nap time. For my darling second son is an EATER - he will eat anything and everything he finds on the floor, and I would really rather he did not choke. Or eat scraps of hemp fleece, as he did when I missed one during my diaper insert making adventure.

So, all you expert moms.

I need ideas. Projects for a preschooler (Aaron will be 3 in August) that meet the following criteria

1. Somewhat independent from mom
2. NO small parts
3. Not a lot of prep for mom

A tall order? Perhaps. But I know who I'm asking. Y'all are talented and creative!! HELP!!!


Tracy said...

My kids always enjoyed doing the lacing shapes. Puzzles were a big thing for my oldest. She loved doing them, and every time she fussed for help, I reminded her that she was getting to be a big girl and could do it. She learned quickly. You could also get him some big boy legos and remind him they have to stay on the table or they get put away. There is just something about the small pieces that the kids love more than the big ones.

Rosemary said...

Here are some things that my grandboys enjoyed at age 3.
1. Paper cup stacking / building. A box of inexpensive bathroom size paper cups make great building blocks. And if I needed the floor washed anyway, I let them play with the cups in the kitchen sink.
2. Drawing (big colored pencils instead of crayons are less likely to be eaten if they get in Evan's hands. Any big pieces of packaging paper or cardboard gets saved for art projects. Drawing to music (fast, slow, jumpy, etc) is fun.
3. Library books with picture stories that he can 'read' to himself or to Evan.
4. Cars, trucks, and a 'play town mat'. I have made these for my boys, nephews and grandboys with a big piece of sturdy fabric and glued felt and material pieces on for the roads, houses, familar places like church, the store, etc. He can help make it then play with it on his own on the floor (or on the table if he doesn't want 'help' from Evan.)
5. Thomas trains and track (you might be able to get these at garage sales) & LOTS OF BOOKS. Christopher (our cool Aspergers' Syndrome grandson) had a passion for Thomas trains when he was 2 - 3and played with them for hours by himself and then taught himself to read when he was 4. So it never hurts to have a lot of books around - just in case a kid might pick one up and start reading!

Rachel said...

Our favorite thing right now is a wooden dowel "needle" and very large wooden beads. Jacob is only 1 year old...but maybe it would occupy Aaron for a little while :) We are also a big fan of the block size Legos!

Ruth Burger said...

Homemade peanut butter play dough should keep EVERYONE busy and happy for awhile. Mix equal parts peanut butter, honey, and powdered milk mix (maybe a little bit of flour for consistency). This is edible too!

Ruth Burger said...

Can he string cereal into necklaces? If you can find it, Moon Sand is also a lot of fun, and can be played with right at the kitchen table.

You could try stripping him down and placing him in a dry tub with dishes of bubble solution and bubble wands.

Alicia said...

1. We seem to do a lot of animal and pretending games around our house. I encourage Chloe to be a birdie and build a nest of pillows (that one's awesome bcuz it needs NO mom prep at all) and to fly around the house (sometimes I'll put "I'll fly away" on the computer for her to fly to).
2. Homemade bubbles in the kitchen is fun and gets the floor nice and clean too! We like taking various and sundry kitchen items and blowing bubbles through them (i.e. slotted spoons, colanders, cheese graters, rubber bands). Only problemo might be that the floor gets too slippery for Evan.
3. Pipe cleaners, beads, and foamy stickers on paper make good time-fillers. Chloe enjoyed doing that around 3 as her hands were still not ready to do beads on string yet. And with pipe cleaners you can bend them and make animals or cars and such not just jewelry. Foamy stickers were AWESOME for her when I needed to keep her occupied. She spent tons of time getting the peeling off the back and then sticking them on paper to make pictures. I've seen them at the dollar store.
4. Grocery store or toy store. Use pantry items (ones that can't be opened by 3 yr. old hands or dropped on crawling babies) and have Aaron set up a grocery store. You can give him paper and pencil to make a list and have him "shop" with a cloth shopping bag. Same concept with his own toys he could set up in a toy store. That might be too old for him though . . .

Hope those ideas are helpful! There are so many benefits to pretending games the not least of which is that mom can do other things while still verbally playing and guiding the play.

Anonymous said...

I second the large legos(duplos). Levi started playing with them around one and he will be four in November and still uses them. I also second things involving water. The kitchen sink and a few of Mom's utensils/cups make for a world of fun. In the summer I set it up outside and don't have to mop.

We do "table time" (must stay in seat)at our house. And the kids run to do it. Certain toys are reserved to played with at the table. This worked well...
1) to keep certain toys "special" because they weren't available at a whim
2) rescued the family from stepping on things and chasing pieces all over the place
3) kept toys out of sisters reach until she was big enough. Levi knew to hop down and get things he dropped and I was in the vicinity to keep an eye out too.
It started with peg puzzles, felt shapes, lacing toys, etc. Now it is crayons, more complicated puzzles, Lincoln Logs, and such. I don't to use it as much now since the kids are bigger and play together. We also liked that it helps teach sitting and keeping oneself involved with what's available. Since that seems to happen sometimes in life... :^)

Oh, and boxes...whenever the delivery man comes we have an amazing one day wonder toy...

Good luck! :^) And yes, we still have our days...

Cindy B.

Shelley said...

All the comments are good.
Books on tape
blocks and cars, lego's
sandbox with things to bury and a bucket of water
a activity box in a closet with items for him to be creative, an empty spool of thread fabric scraps, old paper that good on one side and crayons.

Anonymous said...

I've found that if I spend time with the kiddos (building, papers, whatever) right after cleaning off the breakfast table they seem to get their "mommy fix" and are good to go for a couple hours after that. It seems they hover around me otherwise, driving us both a little nuts! ha!


Tim and Richelle said...

agreeing with all of the good ideas already mentioned. our faves here are duplos, thomas the tank train, wooden blocks, school (i pick up dollar store coloring books), matchbox cars, plastic animals that can go in the tub-sand-mud-pool-etc. try some of the preschool computer programs - my kids have all loved jumpstart preschool as well as others. educational videos/kids' exercise videos. use a cardboard box to make a play fort (castle, race car, etc., - you come up with the basic shape and then he can color, use stickers, glue... whatever). then they play with it until it falls apart.

i'm also a fan of involving him in whatever i'm doing, too or making housework seem like fun. matching socks and putting socks and underwear away. folding washcloths and putting them away. sorting & organizing toy bins. washing veggies and peeling potatoes. making sure everyone's shoes are matched and in their proper closet (or space).

Anonymous said...

Go to DTKL.com that is were i get all my Preschool art projects for daycare. also Firstschool.com and on both there are alot of links to go from.