Sunday, August 7, 2011

10 Ways to Keep Kids Busy, Part 2

 I hope you are looking forward to reading about more great ways to keep your kids busy.  I am particularly fond of activity number 4 on the list today--this is something I love to do and enjoy having my daughter help!

4. Cooking--A great way to keep your children entertained while you are cooking or working in the kitchen is to give them something to do.  Children as young as 3 can be a big help in the kitchen.  The kitchen also provides a place for children to learn about math and science through measurement and hands on activities.  My daughter loves to help me cook--she helps with gathering ingredients, adding measured ingredients to the bowl, stirring and pouring.  She also loves to decorate cookies.  I give her a few tubes of frosting, some sprinkles and her cookies and let her choose how to decorate her cookies.  When we made oatmeal breakfast bars earlier this week, she added all of the ingredients to the bowl after I measured them.  The recipe called for you to stir with your hands, which she was eager to do (as you can see from the picture).  Older children can also measure ingredients or cook simple meals. 

5. Reading--As a teacher and a mother, I truly believe in the importance of reading to your kids from a very young age.  Reading to your children at a young age (and letting your child see you reading) is the foundation for building a good reader.  My daughter was read to daily from the time she was 6 months old.  Now, at age 3, we read every day before nap and bed time and often at various other times during the day.  We also encourage her to "read" independently.  Even though she is too young to read words, she can often repeat well-loved stories word for word or tell the general storyline of a frequently read story.  Sometimes she makes up her own stories to go along with the pictures.  What a great way to keep her engaged and learning!

6. Busy Bags--I have always kept things to keep my daughter entertained in my purse or diaper bag.  When we're out running errands, at the doctor's office or waiting for our food at a restaurant she always has something to do.  We do not have a DVD player in our car but always keep books and a small etch-a-sketch tucked into the pocket in front of her car seat.  Busy bags are another take on this idea--they are simply educational activities intended to keep your child busy while you are cooking, in the car or when you are out.  This post has some great ideas to get you started with busy bags.  I currently keep each of our activities in a ziploc bag and then place each bag in a tote which I keep by the front door.  In our busy bags, we currently have popsicle stick puzzles, cupcake felt pieces, stickers and paper, a coloring book and colored pencils (no crayons since these can melt in a hot car) and several other activities.  I will be posting soon with some other great activities for busy bags.

Stay tuned for more great ways to keep your kids busy!

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