Wednesday, August 21, 2013

4 Easy Ways to Keep A Preschooler Busy (While Trying to School or Otherwise Engage an Older Child)

As my homeschooling journey begins, (my Kindergartner starts next week), so does my very stressful journey of trying to keep my preschooler happily engaged while I am paying attention to her older sister.  Weeks ago, I started hoarding items from the Dollar Store (foam stickers, pipe cleaners, foam puzzles, googlie eyes, etc.) and scouring Pinterest for ideas.  Aside from the obvious Dollar Store item activities, (painting, sticking stickers on anything and everything, playing with foam puzzles,) below are my top 4 activities for keeping a preschooler busy - they are easy on you, fun for the kid, and most importantly, are not going to cause a mess that will only give you more work at the end of the day!  I hope your preschooler enjoys them, and that they provide you with whine- and cry-free time with an older child :).

1.) Homemade Flubber

Make it in advance, provide a few props (I use Playdoh dishes, molds and cutters) and let them go to town!  This stuff keeps my preschooler busy for up to an hour on some days.  The recipe can be found on this website.

2.) Color Sorting Activity

All you need to make this activity are multicolored pom poms from the Dollar Store, 4 old jars, and red, yellow, blue and green paint or tape.  Paint the lids of the jars and a stripe around the middle of the jars, (or paint the whole jars if you're feeling crafty).  You can also use colored tape (I used tape for the green one because I didn't have any green paint on hand).  Then have the preschooler sort the pom poms into the jar of the proper color.

3.) Build-Your-Own Felt Cupcake

I saw this on Pinterest, but it didn't have any instructions.  It intrigued me, though, because my preschooler plays the "Build-Your-Own Cupcake" app on my husband's iPhone all the time.  So, I used some felt and other items that I had on hand to make the cupcakes (sorry, I know they're sad -I'm not very crafty - and I only had about 30 minutes to make them!).  All I did was print out some cupcake and candy templates online and glue them to a piece of thin cardboard.  I then cut them out and used a hot glue gun to attach the felt.  I happened to have a strip of Velcro with an adhesive side lying around, so I cut it into pieces and attached only the rough side to the cupcake "decorations".  They stuck very nicely to the felt, and the girls had fun building with them. 
4.) Scissor Cutting and Tracing Exercises

I found this printable scissor cutting exercise (and a BUNCH more of them) on this website.  There are also some quality, printable tracing exercises on this website.  What preschooler doesn't want to play with scissors?!

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