I had always heard the saying that "Idle hands are the devil's workshop" and I definitely believe it to be true. Nothin' like little children with nothing constructive to do to find it within themselves to conjur up all sorts of mischief if left to themselves.
That is why I decided I needed to get on the ball with things and be more involved in helping them to stay busy.
I had done a pretty good job of this really for quite a while, but then I had baby number 3. And with her, came many adjustments and a lot less time and mental energy. But kids keep going and they need to have a structured day. Else mama is even more tired at day's end from picking up the things that the kid's got into while unsupervised and settling down quarrels from yet more unsupervision.
With a little time, thought and effort it's not as hard as you might think to come up with some simple ideas to keep those little hands and minds in your home occupied as well.
Here are some ideas:
-dish tub filled part way with water (placed on a large beach towel on the kitchen floor) give the kids measuring cups, funnels, etc to play with in the water.
-Rice box (same concept as above only with rice) can add matchbox cars to the scenario for road making fun.
-Gooey Slime. Easy to make. Just uses Borax and Elmer's glue. The kids have lots of fun with it and it's clean.
-Ring around the pumpkin. It's falltime, right? Got a pumpkin around the house? The kids can toss canning jar lids and try to get them around the stem of the pumpkin!
-Make pictures with nature items. Like flower petals and leaves.
-Make granola-it's easy. Just have the dry ingredients out for the kids to measure in and have the wet ingredients all ready to pour. Do it in a large bowl and give the kids some spoons to stir!
-Make playdough. Easy to make. Fun to play with. Offer lots of cookie cutters, rolling pins, even small icecream scoops. Equals lots of fun.
-Make or buy bubbles and go outside to blow them.
-Offer scissors, paste, construction paper and old magazines and the kiddies can practise their skills.
-Small board puzzles are fun
-Stringing beads on pipe cleaners or thick embroidery floss
-Coloring pages (DLTK-KIDS.com) offers a lot of printables for just about any occasion
-Easy crafts. I suggest even buying an art pack from Abeka book or Rod and Staff. Fun activities, not much if any prep involved and pretty cost effective. There's typically enough in a pack for one a week.
-Grow animal sponges in the sink. They are fun to watch grow from a capsule into an animal and are very cheap at the dollar store.
-Flashlights in a dark closet. ooooooh. Fun. Could tell stories.
-Easy science experiments. There are inexpensive all supplies included children science packs on Amazon.com
-Popcicle stick art/crafts.
-Parents.com, familyfun.com are good resource websites as well as this article at Large Families on Purpose-LOTS of good ideas. Also, Laura at www.Housewifeintown.com just posted an article on a very similar topic and she has some great ideas as well for a house filled with boys! *smile* (how is it that we both ended up with posts on the same topic so close together? ha! great minds think alike!)
-Sewing Alphabet letters or animal cardboard shapes
-Beanbag toss-and? you name it! The sky is the limit. Use your creativity, but keep those kids busy!!
I hope these ideas help get you started on your way to helping your kids stay constructively busy. It's not an easy task. However, I am finding that it is well worth the effort. I am happier. My husband is happier and my children are happier. :)