With the holidays quickly approaching, it’s likely that you’ll have some unscheduled ‘down-time’ with your child where you don’t have anything actually planned. Just because you don’t have any planned activities with your child doesn’t mean that they have to languish on the couch in boredom. Take a look at these quick and easy anytime activities.
1. Make Paper Stuff: It doesn’t take a lot of work or planning for children to create great paper crafts. You can simply make a lot of paper supplies available and let them go to town. Provide paper plates, construction paper, scissors, markers, crayons, glue, stamps, or stickers and let them make their own creations.
2. Paint Something: Kids generally love anything that has to do with painting. You could give them some finger paints and paper, provide water colors, or even let them paint up some scraps of wood or rocks. When given a choice between painting or carving their pumpkins each year, my kids always choose painting… kids LOVE to paint!
3. Pound Some Clay: There’s just something about manipulating modeling clay that kids find appealing (grownups too!). Give you child a couple of cans of playdough or make up a batch of salt dough and they’ll have a ball. Here’s an idea… make some salt dough, create the figures, dry them out in the oven, and then paint them to combine painting and modeling!
4. Have A Puppet Show: You can make puppets out of just about anything you have lying around the house… recycled bottles, wooden or plastic spoons, paper bags, craft sticks, etc. all work as a good base, then add paper, felt, yarn, wiggle eyes, or other objects to make the puppet. Once the puppets are done, the back of the couch, a table, or even an old box provides a great puppet theater.
5. Play Dress-Up: Children love nothing better than dressing up and pretending to be someone else. We keep all our old Halloween costumes in our dress-up box, but you could also let the kids dress up in old clothes that you’re going to throw out anyway. An impromptu game of dress-up is always a fun activity.
6. Outside Drawing: Give the kids a bucket of sidewalk chalk, turn them loose outside, and they’ll play for hours drawing on the sidewalks, driveway, and just about anything else.
7. Make Contraptions: Older children will really love the idea of making inventions out of recyclable materials. You’ll need recycled toilet paper tubes, paper towel tubes, wrapping paper tubes, plastic bottles, and other appropriate recyclables along with some tape, scissors, and marbles. Tape the tubes together to make a long runway that starts at some high point (like a chair) and eventually ends at the floor. When complete, roll the marbles through the tubes to test your contraption. You child may even think of other types of contraptions based on this idea.
8. Nature Walks: This may seem silly, but your kids will love spending time with you doing this… all you have to do is take your child for a stroll in your neighborhood or at a park. Spend time talking about things you observe as you walk and take your time. When you’re done you could write about what you saw, draw pictures, collect found objects and make an art piece. Don’t forget to bundle up in inclement weather.
9. Paper Airplanes: Gather up a pile of paper and make paper airplanes with your child. Take turns flying them and test out which techniques work the best. You could even take turns flying them off a balcony or deck to really add to the experience. Better yet, pre-purchase a book of directions for making paper airplanes and work your way through the book together.
10. Create An Obstacle Course: This idea may be a little messy, but your kids will love it. Create an obstacle course, inside or outside, using objects around the house, then take turns navigating the course for time. You could crawl under tables, over chairs, around objects, etc. all the way to the finishing line.
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