Your kids are never too young to hear about family stories. My 3.5 yr old went through a faze of wanting to play camping trip every day. We would get out our sleeping bags and make a tent out of sheets and chairs. I should include that “faze” maybe the wrong word since I still have to pretend to camp every day. These pretend camping adventures brought me back to when I was a little girl and went camping with my family. I started to tell my son all the different camping stories I remembered. His favorite one I tell is about when my dad, mom, brother, and I were camping in a tent at a campground. A storm came and it started to sprinkle, then rain, then lightning, then thunder, then downpour. The tent buckled under the weight of the pond-sized puddle on top and it came down on us. My 5’11’ mom used her pole-sized leg to hold the tent up (my dad was 5’8”). This story always makes my son laugh.
Activity 1: Sit down with your kids and look through old family albums. Tell them stories you remember as your look through the pictures. Look through their baby book with them and tell them stories about when they were babies. Make a journal of memories so you can give them to your children someday.
Activity 2: Have your child ask grandparent’s and even great-grandparent’s questions and record the answers in a notebook or album. Here are some examples of questions they could ask:
1) What kind of games did you play when you were little?
2) Did you play any instruments?
3) What were your parents like? What memories do you have of them?
4) What kind of holiday traditions did your family celebrate?
5) What was your favorite place to visit?
6) Favorite story involving a sibling.
7) Favorite recipes: include copies in the album
8) What kind of jobs did you have?
9) Happiest day of your life?
10) Worse day of your life?
This website lets you type in your last name to see where it came from. http://genealogy.familyeducation.com/family-names-surnames/meaning-origin
Pictured above: My grandpa as a baby. Wasn’t he cute? 🙂
Upper Left: Paper towel stacking. Count how many you can stack.
Upper Right: Lid toss. Get a bucket and toss tupperware lids in it. Count how many you make. Could make it into a competition (for the competitive-type people like myself).
Pictured above: Up and away. Put a small fan facing toward the ceiling and throw plastic grocery bags into the fan wind and watch them fly.
Pictured above: Spray bottle target practice. Make a target out of paper and fill up a spray bottle. Set the sprayer to spray a streaming line.
Cut felt into food shapes. I made 1 orange, 2 slices of bread, 3 lettuce slices, 4 slices of cheese, 5 pices of bacon, and 6 grapes. This is a fun way to teach counting and it is the only food that is exceptable to play with! 🙂
The play mat is a Melissa and Doug color mat.
3/4 cup Elmer’s white glue
1/2 cup liquid starch
Directions: Put glue in bowl and slowly add starch. Knead with your hands. Add food coloring to make different colors. You need to knead it for a long time. Just when you think you ruined it and it won’t turn out it starts to form the putty. Store in a baggie for continued play.
Warnings about silly putty from wikihow.com website:
1) Keep away from cloth surfaces. Putty sticks to clothing and cannot easily be removed.
2)Avoid swallowing the putty. The ingredients aren’t edible.
3)Some do-it-yourself silly putty recipes call for the use of borax. Be aware that borax has been deemed “toxic for reproduction” and is on the EU’s Substance of Very High Concern (SVHC) list.
Blow up many different colors of balloons. Place scotch tape upside down in a band around the hand taping it to itself. Then yell out a color. Your child(ren) will try to stick as many balloons of that color onto their hands. The one with the most balloons wins. Great way to teach colors and to learn counting.
Variation: try scotch tape on other areas of the body like a leg, foot, or rear-end to make it more of a challenge. Don’t use duct-tape or stronger tape or it will pop the balloons when you try to take the balloon off.
Shadow Puppets are a fun winter activity. It gets darker sooner so it is a perfect time of year for it. Make sure it is really dark in the room and shine a flashlight or set-up a lamp to shine at a wall. You could hang a white bed sheet if you need too.
The picture to the left is my Doberman shadow puppet.
The picture to the right was taken out of a 1970’s children’s activity book called: Rainy Day Pastimes 215 Ideas to Keep Children Happy.
Let me know if you come up with any other shadow puppet.
Mr. Funny Felt Face is a fantastically fun way to for little ones to figure out parts of their face. 🙂
I cut out felt and as I lay it down I would touch the corresponding body part. I’d say “eye” and then touch his eye. Okay, maybe it was more his eyelid that I touched than eye.
I love workbooks and activity sheets to teach my kids numbers, letters, colors, etc. But for the most part when you have little ones they don’t want to just sit in a chair and work quietly on a sheet of paper. So as I sat there and watched my 3-year-old continue to get into mischief I decided he needed to play a game. We have been working on numbers so it was going to be a number game. I saw post-it notes sitting next to the desk and a marker so I wrote the numbers: 3,5,7,9. I stuck each number to a different wall and had my son stand in the middle of the room. When I called out a number he would have to run to the wall and get to it before I did. If you have multiple kids this would really be a fun game, except my 13 month old didn’t really understand the rules. If you have older children you could yell out addition or subtraction problems and they would have to run to the answer. So many possibilities.
My son really wanted to play with our Scrabble game the other day so we made up a 3-year-old version. I would yell out a letter and he would have to find all the tiles with that letter on it. Afterwards, he would count how many letters he found to get points. If you don’t have a scrabble game you could use Boggle or another letter game or just cut out pieces of paper and write letters on them. What is not fun about this game is when the 3-year-old beats you.