Mothers are always on the lookout for simple activities to keep the child occupied. And if you add some skill practice to it, then it is like icing on the cake. But DIY activities need time, energy, creativity and lots of preparation ?? NOT AT ALL.
I bring to you 10 activities that you can whip out in 5 minutes or less with things already lying about in the house.
1. Cotton Balls and Tongs - Let the child transfer the cotton balls from one container to the other using a pair of kitchen tongs. This is great for fine motor skills and builds up the muscles for the important skill of writing.
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2. Water Sensory Play - There is nothing quite like the magic of water. Throw in their Legos/animals/spoons/bowls/sponges in a tub of water. Let them give it a good wash or scrub. They can also explore the concept of sink and float, strengthen hand muscles by squeezing water out of sponges or just splash and play.
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Alternatively - Take a big kitchen container or tray. Pour either rice, pasta, corn kernels, shaving cream or lentils and some of their toys. Let them pour, scoop, hide items and just explore the textures against their skin.
3. Kitchen - Use kitchen ladles or perforated spatulas for lacing. This activity is great for fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Use leftover party spoons, knives and forks and convert them into a fun sorting activity.
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4. PlayDoh or Dough - Every household prepares dough for rotis/chappatis. Add a dash of food coloring to it or stick to your child’s PlayDoh. Using some existing figurines, make prints in the dough and let the child guess the animal or bird.
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5. Practice Letters or Numbers - Pour a generous heap of shaving cream on a tray and give your child an unsharpened pencil. Call out letters, numbers or sight-words and let them practice forming those on the cream.
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6. Make use of a colander or wired baskets and straws to practice hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.
7. Paper-plates are my go-to solutions for quick setups.
- Practice Phonics - Take a bunch of paper plates and a marker. Write letters and spread them across the room. Play the “I hop to” the letter that makes the _____ sound.
- Practice Fine Motor and Math - Write the target values that you want your child to practice. Hand out a box of u-pins and leave them to complete the plate. This is great for early beginners and introduction to counting, skip counting and general calculations. Along with counting, the child is also practicing fine motor skills.
- Gross Motor Skills - Take a bunch of paper plates and a marker. Write letters and spread them across the room. Ask your child to jump/skip/hop/fly/slide to the different letters or number or shapes you call out. You can do this even with slightly older children to practice mathematical problems, synonyms and antonyms.
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8. Science Experiments
- Volcano eruption using baking soda and vinegar. Fill 1/4th of a glass with baking soda. You can add food coloring for a dash of color. Now add vinegar and voila… !!
- Rain clouds in jar - Fill the jars or containers you are using 3/4th of the way with water and then top with shaving cream. Allow a few minutes for the shaving cream to fully settle on top of the water. In a bowl mix several drops of blue food coloring with a little bit of water. Have kids fill their droppers with blue water and squeeze it onto their cloud. Have them squeeze more and more blue water into the cloud. As the cloud fills with water it will begin to rain.
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9. Use Q-tips found in your bathroom cabinet and let your child prepare shapes or letters. Or older kids they can also prepare a maze and blow a cotton ball using a straw to get to the finish. You can prepare challenge cards by arranging the Q-tips before hand and clicking a picture. The child replicates the formation.
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10. Open-ended play - Just provide them with few items like cardboard, markers, glue, ribbons, stickers etc. You will be amazed with their creativity and imagination!
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Children play, learn, work, explore, discover and research holistically engaging their minds, bodies and souls. All we have to do as a parent is tap in and help them discover/rediscover the joy in learning.
Also read: DIY Activity Alert! Make Colouring Fun!