Thursday, April 7, 2011

Busy Little Hands

So today I have another take on preparedness.
- How common is the phrase, 'Mom, I'm bored?" This was something we did not say growing up. If we did make that mistake, the response was sure to be a phrase we all knew by heart,
'Idle hands are the devil's workshop, Idle lips are the devil's mouthpeice." (TLB Proverbs)
Then we were assigned a chore which gave us plenty of time to think about anything else we'd rather be doing. - But in all fairness, my Mom did a great job of providing educational and fun things for us to do at all ages that were perfect for those 'don't know what to do moments." 
With a little planning ahead, and a little preparation, you can be ready for the next time your child, (or one you babysit) needs something new and fun.
Below is a perfect example of a cheap, creative project.
My mom had Pheobe and her friends make one of these for Silas, Paul and Justice one afternoon a couple years ago when she was 7. It was twice as effective because it served as a project for Phoebe and her friends, and then as a fun game for Justice! Basically it is a graph with colors along the top, and shapes along the side. A younger child will enjoy the challenge of trying to figure out where each peice goes, and an older child will enjoy trying to beat their time, - or put them all in place while holding their breathe, etc.

Super cheap, and easy. - For the mat, they simply taped 4, 8x11 sheets of paper together.

Here is a book out of the 'Cut and Create' series that I can not recomend highly enough. This is the farm book, and has tons of patterns for adorable easy to cut and paste projects with a page of visual easy to follow directions for each project. Below are some of the ones Justice made when he was 4.

 They are SO cute!! There are cut and create 'zoo', or 'fish' or many other books...

Here is where being prepared pays off. To make this a super easy go to project, - pre-copy the patterns on the correct color papers, and put a copy of the instruction page, and the ready to cut pages in an envelope, and your ready to go.

Here you can see how it is all ready to go. Now all you need are scissors and a glue stick.

For Justice's 4th birthday, my Mom made the entire farm set (30?) in envelopes ready to go. It was an AMAZING present. I can't recomend this highly enough. If you have a first child who naps, - I would suggest doing this now!!! If you are a grandma, or aunty, or just an amazing friend of a mom with one or more youngsters, I cannot tell you what an incredible gift this is!!! -Cousins Justice and Paul are very different personalities, but both LOVED these. (What 3-4 year old doesn't love scissors!?) 

As a mom of a young eager learner, it is fanTAStic to be able to pull out an activity all ready to go that requires no prep time on your part, and give them that undivided attention they need.
As your child gets older, they will find they can do it by themself, - as the instructions are so easy, - and Justice found imense sastifaction in being able to do a project 'all by himself'!
These were a huge blessing when I was so morning sick last year with Felicity, - Justice could do this right near me, - happy and productive, with minimal effort on my part.

Here is Justice with his color/shapes graph completed.

Here is a set of pre-school activity books I love. They are from Rod and Staff, a menonite company, and have wonderful classic pictures and family based stories. Each book helps with cutting, pasting, writing, counting, and more basic pre-school skills.

  Our local wal-mart has some great 'hidden picture' books, which is something else Justice loves. These are perfect to pull out when we need something fun to do. 

 So I grew up in a home with pipe cleaners, glitter, beads, toillete paper tubes, glue, yarn, googlly eyes and more were pretty much always available. Cheap brown lunch sacks can become a as simple, or elaborate creations as your heart desires, - not only are they fun to make, - but fun to use in puppet shows later!

So for those of you who have not yet purged your stacks of magazines and newspapers, here is the perfect way to use them! If you are super organized and have no useless clutter laying around, - I am sure you have a friend like me who would love to give you some when your ready to use them!! :)
        I remember cutting out pictures from magazines to make 'alphabet books' in which our favorite pictures filled one half of a construction page folded in book style with each page for one letter.
   This was another twist on that. - Once again, - it was a project Silas did last year, - (he cut out pictures he thought were interesting and glued them onto paper plates) Then 26 clothespins each got a letter written on them.  Now Justice sits with the stack of plates and clothes pins and tries to find which pin to clip to a picture that starts with that sound. He thinks its a game. - He doesn't know he's playing with a time filler for Silas! Or that he's learning in the process.

    By the way, - something great about these homeade projects is that when your child is done, - you can declutter and throw them away! Cheap and easy to re-make, - or have your oldest child make for a younger one later on! A tip I heard somewhere along these lines is to take pictures of projects with your child, - so that you can throw the actual project and still keep the memory.
I still like keeping favorite projects or papers, -but I think this is a great tip, especially if you have a hoarder child like mine who litterally wants to keep EVERY scrap of every project he's done. NOT kidding. Each scrap peice of paper that fell on the floor."I'm going to USE it Mom!!!"

   Something else that helps is to keep them all in a folder, - and give it time, - then a few months later, go through it with him and ask him to only save the things that mean the most. - Thankfully time usually helps him become 'un-attached' and by then he has no problem throwing out the scraps and just keeping the nice project. I try hard to never throw out behind his back, - or force him to, - I think it would just make him more resistant. So far, - the 'wait and then throw' method has worked very very well.

   So what are things you like to have prepared for those moments when a little one is bored? I'd love to know!!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, thanks for the great ideas! I don't have any creative ideas to offer, but I definitely think I will be using these. Thank you!

    --Julie, mom of a 6yo, 4yo, and 2yo