Archive for the ‘summer’ Category

Playing in the rocks in the driveway or messing around in a little makeshift sandbox that Dennis made for them in an old plastic drawer are other activities that keep our visiting 4-year-old Tweety and 2-year-old Doodle absorbed and happy for hours. I bought them some little trowels and rakes at Wal-Mart, and it was money well spent. But if I hadn’t made the trip to Wal-Mart, they would have stayed just as happy with old spoons and plastic containers. They got pretty dirty, of course. That’s one thing about pre-schoolers…the activities that keep them happiest seem to be messy.

I remember when my own kids were preschoolers, on rainy days I used to let them play in an indoor “sand”box, which I made by pouring 5 or 10 pounds of cornmeal into a plastic dishpan. It kept them happily occupied for long spells. When they finished playing in it, I had a little sweeping to do to clean up, but I thought a little sweeping was a small price to pay for the luxury of being able to focus on my own project for a half hour without interruptions. Later, after my kids had outgrown indoor sandboxes, a friend showed me her version, which used unpopped popcorn kernels for the sand. Running my fingers through that popcorn was a tactile delight. I think if I had small children around a lot today, I’d go for the popcorn sandbox.

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Doodle painting a tree

Our two granddaughters (ages 4 and 2) are visiting from Colorado with their parents. The weather was warm, so I let them paint with water outdoors. I found a couple old paintbrushes to give them along with a bucket of water. They were happy all morning painting the sidewalk, the trees, the old rusty wagon, and the big plastic water cooler. The next day a 3-year-old friend of ours came over, and they had just as much fun water painting with her for a second morning. We added sidewalk chalk to the mix for a little variety, and they really enjoyed washing off the chalk marks they made. Water painting is wonderful, cheap entertainment for preschoolers, and it doesn’t require much adult supervision. You just set up the materials, and the little ones find things they want to paint. They will spend hours at it, contented, satisfied, and absorbed.

Over the years my family has enjoyed many fun water activities.

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