- Chalk drawings on the sidewalk and driveway seem to be a rage right now. Just the opportunity to use those large muscles to draw will increase motor skills. One activity I’ve seen uses painter’s tape to make interlocking designs. You can do it on the driveway or a fence. Children can then use chalk to color in between the lines. Remove the tape and the result is a stained glass window effect.
- Carton construction is a fun way to help a child use her imagination. Collect around the house several cartons or boxes. They could be any size from mild cartons, Amazon delivery boxes, to large moving boxes. Since grocery stores are open, a good place to score a variety of boxes is in their back rooms. Let the children play with/in the boxes and arrange them to make different constructions. Dolls, stuffies, other toys can go in. Boxes can become castles, trains, houses. To give children ideas, parents can read books such as The Little Engine That Could or The Little House. Children can use crayons, markers, or glue on paper or magazine pictures to decorate.
- And speaking of magazines, a fun and creative activity is making cards or collages out of magazine pictures. With my granddaughters, we’ve used catalogs and cut out flowers, jewelry and other things, pasted them on paper folded to be a card. The children can dictate a message to whomever and parents can write it in the card. I cut the paper to envelope size so that the card can be put in an envelope and mailed if the recipient is far away.
- Set up an obstacle course in the living room using whatever is available…books, cereal boxes, candles…unbreakable objects that challenge children to move around, over, under, across.
- Since we missed out on the NCAA basketball March Madness (Go Zags) this year, maybe this basket shoot activity will make up for it. All you need is an empty container…a trash can or a box. Give the child several sheets of newspaper or other paper ready for recycling. They can crumple each sheet into a ball and ‘shoot’ the paper ball into the ‘basket.’ This might be fun for all the children in the home. They can take turns throwing and keep count of hits and misses.
- Have a dance party. Turn on the radio or crank up I-Tunes to your favorite music and just dance. Don’t be afraid to be silly and create new moves. Playing the freeze game is an opportunity for children to learn to follow directions or you could give directions for ways to move bodies…arms in the air, down to the floor, twist your hips…many possibilities.
Just being outdoors in the fresh air is stimulating and promotes movement and, of course, the idea of an obstacle course can be easily moved outside using sticks, branches that have fallen, outdoor tools and toys.
- Take a walk and discover your neighborhood (always following social distancing). Talk about things that are growing, colors of flowers, cars, and houses. Take a bucket along and pick up found objects…interesting leaves, rocks, dead insects. At home again gather more rocks from the yard and do some classification by determining which rocks are large, medium, and small. Note the colors and designs on the rocks. And, of course, painting rocks is a popular activity these days.
- Make shadows of animal or other toys by laying out a sheet of paper in a sunny spot where the sun will make shadows of the toys on the paper. Talk about what makes the shadows. Children can trace around the shadows and color them and cut them out.
- Sun prints can be made with a plain piece of dark construction paper and an object like a leaf or a stick. Arrange the object on the paper in a sunny spot. By the end of the day the child can remove the objects and see which areas of the paper are lighter/darker.
This article was contributed by Mary Perkins for the Early Childhood Express newsletter.