Trying to manage toddlers and preschoolers during the day can become exhausting if you fail to prepare a schedule of activities ahead of time. Planning children's activities will help you feel on top of things and will help keep your busy little children occupied and satisfied. With creative and fun activities, such as holiday-themed crafts, going to a living history museum and exciting social opportunities, you might just notice that your children seem happier, too!
1. Holiday Crafts
No matter what the holiday or occasion, you can find a simple craft to keep your toddlers and preschoolers busy. Collect toddler-safe craft supplies that do not pose a choking hazard. Avoid materials like beads, plastic jewels, googly eyes or sequins less than 2 inches in diameter. Instead, use materials that are larger which small children can use and manipulate on their own, such as construction paper, glue sticks, large craft pom poms, foam shapes and yarn. With these standard craft supplies, you can create a craft for any holiday. For example, cut out Christmas trees from green construction paper, and glue strings of yarn onto the tree as garland. You could also cut out large egg shapes from pastel construction paper, and glue foam shapes on the egg as an Easter craft.
2. Living History Museum
Take your active little ones to a living history museum so that they can have a first-hand experience learning about the world around them. Many locations have living history museums, and you can often find out about different offerings from your local community center or newspaper. At a living history museum, you and your children can walk around a historic village with actors in costume, and you can usually see the dressed-up actors milking cows, churning butter, weaving blankets and making candles. Many museums also allow your toddlers and preschoolers to get a first-hand historical experience by trying their hands at milking, churning and weaving under expert instruction and supervision.
3. Themed Play Dates
Invite over friends for your child to play with, but don't just make it an ordinary play date...make it a spectacular themed play date! Organize the play date ahead of time with the other moms so that you are all on the same page in planning a group activity with the kids featuring a common theme. For example, you could have a pioneer theme, where all of the kids dress up as pioneers, with bonnets, prairie skirts and cowboy hats. All of the moms can make foods that pioneers would have eaten, like cornbread and milk.
4. Story Hour
Children love it when you to read to them, so turn this story time into an organized activity for your kids. Set aside about an hour of time each day to read together, and choose both fiction and nonfiction books that feature vivid pictures. Smaller toddlers and preschoolers may not last through a book that seems too wordy. Choose books right for little children, such as colorful picture books, DK science books and poetry books by Shel Silverstein, like "Where the Sidewalk Ends." Curl up together on a comfy chair or sofa, cover up with blankets and enjoy reading stories together. When you have story hour with your children it can also encourage your kids to want to read on their own. Combine your reading time with a related craft that has something to do with what you read to your child. For example, if you decide to read the book "Rainbow Fish," put together a craft for your child afterward. Your little one can cut out a Rainbow Fish from construction paper, applying glitter glue to a few of the scales so that it looks just like the fish from the story.
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