Just a minute,” you say to your impatient preschooler a dozen or more times each day. But, of course, we all know that a minute can often stretch into several. Keep some short children’s activities at your fingertips to occupy your little wiggle-worm while you complete a task or gather necessary items before leaving the house. Preschoolers will be delighted when offered projects and discovery items that are different than their regular toys and art projects.
Purchase a one-minute plastic hourglass timer. Keep the timer, or even several in a box, put away until you need to entertain Mr. or Miss “Are you done yet?” for a short time. Not only will your preschooler love watching the sand fall through one or more timers, you will also be reminded that you need to wrap up what you are doing quickly and keep your “just a minute,” promise.
Water and Air Musical Instruments
Put out a few sturdy glasses, some plastic bottles, a funnel, metal spoons and a pitcher of water. Your future rock star can fill the glasses to different depths, then tap on each one with a spoon to make different sounds. He can also blow over the top of a plastic bottle, with or without water, to make even more music. Challenge him to play a familiar tune with one or both of these methods.
Cotton Swab Art
It only takes a handful of cotton swabs and some thick glue or clear tape to spark a preschooler’s imagination. She can tape or glue the cotton ends together to create a sculpture, or even build a house in just a short time.
Young children are fascinated with any to do with the dinosaur age. Show your child some pictures of fossils, or some real or imitation ones. Provide some quick-drying clay or homemade dough for him to pat or roll out flat. He can press things like shells or leaves into the dough, then carefully remove the objects. Give him a plastic knife or nonworking ink pen to draw and shape his own fossil, maybe even a tiny little dinosaur.
Keep a supply of printed fabric ribbon and beads of different sizes. It only takes a minute to string a few beads onto a length of ribbon and tie it for a necklace or bracelet. Eyelet lace also works great for jewelry when combined with chenille stems. Your child can thread a chenille stem through the holes in the eyelet, then twist the ends of the chenille together.
Make Some Art Kits
Put your basket of craft leftovers and some small plastic bags out. Let him use his imagination to bag up some mosaic-type pieces of craft foam, craft sticks and markers, stray puzzle pieces and other things in bags. Put the bags in a small basket or box with scissors, tape and glue for ready-made preschool craft kits that he will love using.