I get that question all the time. My answer is, I teach them. They hang right with us during KONOS, learning all sorts of things they don’t even know they’re too young to learn. ~grin~
While I need some individual time with one child–no matter his or her age–the others keep themselves busy with Goodies. I keep a bin of fun things to do while Mom’s unavailable that I bring out when free time isn’t quite…ahem…calm enough.
Let’s just get the reality shot out of the way. She’s a genius! She did really well with these. Check out her first card, which she went on to complete perfectly.
What Comes Next? game
Rose Art has a great game out called What Comes Next? It’s 8 sets of six cards, each set telling a different story. The kids have to first differentiate the stories, then put the six cards for each story in proper order. Brooke helped Brian get the hang of this game, and he just took off.
Homemade Color/Shape Cards
A few years ago I cut out lots of colored shapes from cardstock and threw them in a baggie for a rainy day activity. The kids begged for them, putting together elaborate scenes and such. They were free to make, and have lasted through three children.
The goodie bin holds a dozen card games, including this awesome deck from National Geographic. We also have traditional Go Fish, Old Maid, and Crazy 8’s. One of their favorites is our Animal Tracks Memory Game from etsy.
This isn’t our only felt board, but it’s Breanna’s current favorite. I think I got it at Costco years ago. We also have a Betty Lukens board and set that is beautiful. Just a hint–if you have access to die cuts (at local school resource centers), you can cut your own felt shapes!
Homemade Letter Matching Game
So easy…and free! I just printed out capital and lower case letters on card stock and cut them out. It’s how I taught my kids to match the two expressions of the letter. They love this one!
You’ve seen these around. You put the little beads on the little pokies, and you can iron them together for a keepsake. This one can be messy, hence the towel to “contain” the beads. Be prepared to lose lots of beads if they spill, because you’d much rather vacuum them up than try to save them. Trust me!
There are a few things the kids love that aren’t in our Goodie Bin.
The photo’s boring, but the activities are endless. We make our own magnets out of glass discs and scrapbooking paper. At Christmas we use a Fontanini nativity. The possibilities are endless.
Good Old Blackboard
I picked this one up for under $5 at Good Will. The kids use sidewalk chalk. Don’t you love that pic of me and Brian? I love our sombreros!
Dry Erase Board
This gets used constantly. Not only for breaks, but for “fun” schooling. So fun, the boys have been heard arguing over who gets to write his letters on the dry erase board and who has to use the blackboard. I bought this one cheap so I could sink the money into colorful markers. (Guess whatI learned? Black dry erase does not easily wash off skin!)
Last year on vacation, we found these small travel versions of regular board games. The kids can get a whole game in during a quick break. And…we can take them with us easily to keep busy in waiting rooms, cars, etc. They’re great!
Another quick idea for going on the road: keep a soccer ball and fold-flat goal in your car for rest-stops and time waiting for friends to show.
So there you have it. My secrets for helping the day to run smoothly and keep the children’s minds engaged.
What ideas can you share?