Summer is upon us with a vengeance! The heat is merciless and well, so are my kids. With them at home (blame the summer school break), I feel I’m on the go 24*7 and almost also beyond (if there is such a thing!)
Keeping the kids constructively busy is absolutely necessary. The plan is to keep myself and the house from collapsing. There’s always my blogging to do, work commitments to keep and of course, commitments on the domestic and social front.
While my older one has learnt to self-engage, my little one needs some encouragement. Over time I have discovered that there are a few things the kids can do themselves, while I get my own agenda’s fulfilled. While I marvel at all those moms who can plan and schedule activities for kids, I’m not always very successful at this. Hence I’m always looking for something more handy to source from around the house.
Here’s my list of Activities To Keep My Children Engaged While I Am Busy…
This may be an old, even clichéd activity, but it works very well. My younger one discovered her love of colours a few months ago (she was 2) and has been trying her hand at art and doodling ever since. I’ve got her a box of plastic colours (these don’t stain much and are easy for little ones to work with) and a drawing pad. Her drawings occupy her for quite some time.
Sorting and Classification
Last week I asked my almost 3 year old to sort her toys according to dolls and animals. Earlier she has sorted clothes from the laundry and divided them into different piles of papa’s clothes, mumma’s, bhaiya’s and little baby clothes. I’ve also made my kids differentiate vegetables, pulses and so much more in and around the house. Not only does this keep them busy but also is a great opportunity for thinking skills.
We love this one in the house. Not only is it great for fine motor skills and imaginative play, it’s also a great sensory exploration material. With a huge variety of clay available in the markets, there is also a range of price options to choose from. The advantage of this is that it is comparatively non-messy. Also it requires no setup. From make-believe chapati’s to cupcakes to snakes, we’ve experimented with a lot of things. Our favourite is the make belief restaurant play. While I’m the guest, the kids play chefs. I can work and they get the impression that they are working too!! Win Win!!
We are crazy over the Lego ideas. Between both my kids there is a lot of Lego play. While my older one makes more complex Lego objects, for the younger one I use it for colour sorting, counting and proportion understanding. While I need to work, she sits with me with her box full of Lego Duplo and I give her tasks such as “Find all the red ones” “ Now find all the rectangle ones” and so on. This is fun and she loves it. Off late, she’s learnt to make random structures out of Legos.
Kinetic / Indoor Sand
This is an all time favourite indoor play activity with the kids. It’s moldable, non-messy and comes in great colours. We usually make a batch for our home and it lasts us a long time. I have seen my children go from making a mandir to ladoos to funny faces with this single material. To make sure this doesn’t spill and mess around much, I’ve dedicated a tub each for both the kids solely for this purpose. This one keeps them busy for a long, long time.
From transferring cotton buds from a tray into a box to shifting peas from the container to the zip-lock; we’ve tried our hand at all kinds of transfer activities. These are practical life skill activities and help the kids not only practice fine motor skills but also enhance concentration. Besides, I always can get some house chores done through this activity!
There is several places in the house where magnets can be used to create imaginary things. I’ve been able to buy some exciting magnets on my travels and some here and there. My little one has a great time sticking these on and removing them from the refrigerator.
This idea has been inspired by an online website. I loved it at first glance because it really stimulates thinking. I’ve cut out several types of mouths, moustaches, eyebrows, eyes and other facial expressions plus hair. My daughter can spend some really elaborate time trying to make funny faces and using various permutation and combinations to complete the face. What really is great about this is that the kids learn about facial variations and how different features change the way a person looks.
We are never tired of these. A balloon bouncing up and down is always a successful form of play for when I want some quiet to complete my work. It’s a great motor energy activity for kids who like to be on the move. This one specially worked for my older one because he is an active child.
Puzzles make for wonderful independent play and time engagement. The only thing I do is make sure the kids take a puzzle that they have already done before. This gives them a cue on how to move forward and away from me!
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