From stay at home mom to stuck at home mom - activities to get through self isolation with small children!
While being at home with my kids everyday is pretty normal for me, self isolation and practicing social distancing has taken it to a new level.
With my daughter’s preschool closed and our usual outing spots shut down as well, it’s been a new experience trying to pass the hours.
Our version of “home preschool” has been centered around a letter each day. While it is nothing groundbreaking and I can’t say it is imparting any real knowledge on their young minds, it has been a simple strategy for trying to come up with themed activities, books and projects.
I thought I would share some of the activities we have been doing that seem to keep my 2 and 4 year olds entertained - one for each letter of the alphabet.
-Sheet of paper
-Cup of almonds
Write out either 1-10 or 1-20 on the sheet of paper (you know your child best). Using tongs or just their fingers, have your child place an almond over each number. You can help them count aloud as they go. Do it as many times as they are interested, and then enjoy a healthy snack.
Black Bean Sorting:
-Dry black beans
-Other dry item (garbanzo beans, rice, popcorn kernels,etc.)
Mix together your black beans and other item(s) in one of the cups. Using tongs or their fingers, have your child pick out just the black beans and sort them into the other cup.
Fill 3 cups with water for each child and set out 3 empty cups per child. Put red food coloring in one water cup, yellow in one and blue in one. Let the kids experiment using the water droppers to create new colors in the empty cups. Repeat as much as desired. You can assist them in creating secondary colors or simply let them loose.
-Tub or container x2
-Dirt, sand or kinetic sand
-Spoon or small shovel
Put your dinosaurs in one of the tubs. Next, bury them with your material of choice. Give your child a spoon or small shovel and have them dig the dirt or sand, scooping it into the empty container until all of the dinosaurs have been found. If you have a sandbox you could also just bury them in there and have your child find them.
-Plastic Easter eggs
-Small toys or treats (we used coins, chocolate chips and macadamia nuts)
-1 basket per child
You can do this outside or in the house, or both! This is an activity that you can really do over and over again. Kids will happily repeat the hunt, especially if there are goodies inside the eggs.
Free the Animals:
-10+ plastic animal figurines
-Rubber bands or painters tape
If you are using rubber bands, wrap the bands around the animal until tight. Have your child take the rubber bands off.
To use painters tape, just tape the animals on to a hard surface and have your child peel the tape off to set them free.
To keep this activity going you can then give the animals a sink bath in bubbly water.
Gross Motor Dice:
-Cardboard or cube box
Find or create a large cube to use as your dice. Write directly onto it or tape paper to the sides for writing on. Add a gross motor movement on each side of the di such as, frog jumps, summersault, jumping jacks, etc. Take turns rolling and doing the movements.
Using a golf tee, poke holes in the side of the box. You can then place the tees in the holes so that your child can hammer them all the way in, or for an older child let them put the tee in place themselves.
Ice Cube Excavation:
-Freezer safe container
-Small plastic toys or figurines
-Blue food coloring (optional)
Put the small toys in the container and fill with water. MIx in food coloring if desired. Freeze overnight. Remove the ice block from the container and let your child hack at it with toy tools like wooden hammers or screwdrivers.
-Clear jar or bottle
-Biodegradable glitter (for the oceans!)
-Small plastic toys (optional)
Fill a jar with 2 parts water and 1 part glycerin. Add a few drops of dish soap. Add a spoonful (or 2 depending on how big of a container you’re using) of glitter. Add in any additional items and screw and glue the lid in place.
These are not just fun to make and play with, but also work great as a calming aid for kids dealing with big emotions!
Kinetic Sand Construction Site:
-Kinetic sand (or plain brown sugar works too)
-Toy trucks, trees, blocks, etc.
Fill your container with the play material. You can set up the construction site or simply place a basket with suggested items next to it for your child to get imaginative with.
You can have your child lineup alphabet cards in the correct order, or simply arrange a collection of items as you choose. It could be biggest to smallest, making a rainbow of colors, from hardest to softest, etc.
-Play pots and pans
-Bucket or mud pit
-Picked flowers, leaves, pinecones, etc.
Help your child create mud of a workable consistency. Make something alongside them or simply let them whip you up a tasty treat.
-Plastic lids (from milk jugs, kombucha bottles, etc,)
-Tub or large bowl
-Blue food coloring (optional)