Clockwise from top: Lizzie (2.5 yrs) JJ (3 years) Shawn (16 months) David (10.5 months)
Those two boys belong to a gal that is becoming one of the best friends I have ever had. I am totally serious! Tasha and I understand each other, hang out (without kids!) and encourage each other. Of course, our friendship is another post entirely. The kids are who I want to talk about. I am watching her two boys while she designs custom cabinets at Josh’s cabinet shop. I watch them for 3-4 hours a day, 3 days a week.
With 4 children under the age of 4, you better believe I had to brainstorm some fun activities to keep them entertained. For the first couple of days I tried going with the flow. It was more like one tidal wave after another and I don’t know how to surf. So that didn’t work. I sat down and came up with some really fun ideas and wanted to share them with you.
Before I do, I must add that I am always looking for more! So please share with me some of your favorite activities for kids this age!
Build a Fort
This was easy – who hasn’t built a fort out of blankets and chairs? We made it educational by counting the blocks of wood we used to hold the blankets in place. Then we played pretend, and using the imagination is great for growing young minds! Tearing down the fort we all had to work together and follow directions.
Note: this could pose a choking hazard for younger ones, so I don’t let David do it and watch the 16 month old close. I bought wagon wheel noodles and rigatoni noodles. Then we paint them and thread them through a string for necklaces, crowns, and bracelets. Teaches colors, counting, fine motor skills and creative expression.
An old standby. Just google what you want to color and you can print any coloring page you want!
I also discovered a way to turn pictures of yourself into coloring pages on Photoshop Elements.
- Turn the photo black and white (Click Enhance….convert to black and white)
- Click “Filter…..Sketch….Photocopy”
- Adjust levels to your liking
- Click “Enhance….Adjust Color….Adjust Hue and Saturation” and turn the saturation levels way down to make the lines black and white.
Done! Print! I know there are other ways of doing it, but this was my favorite. I know Crayola.com has a service as well if you don’t have PSE.
Not only does this teach math, following directions and creativity, but it keeps them quiet when they are eating what you baked! That is what I call a double bonus. The other day I put applesauce in my cupcakes in place of crisco and JJ went home and told his mom how weird that was. He learned something else about nutrition, and that made me feel great.
Crayola washable paint rocks! Since Josh works at a cabinet shop he can bring home boxes of discarded wood blocks and then we get a huge piece of cardboard out and let the kids paint away! Ok, not David, but everyone else has a blast. JJ is learning his letters so we can practice painting his name (which is the easiest to spell ever) and Lizzie soaks it up too.
I know there are tons of activities we could do next. What are some of your favorites?