Independent Activities for 4 and 3 year old... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 11-26-2007, 04:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Cross-posted in Childhood Years (mods: Also posting this here as working mamas might have insight into this situation that I can't find in Childhood Years. Please don't delete/move). Per my other thread, my teenage sister watches my kids while I work and I'm about to have another baby in January. I don't want her sticking the kids in front of the TV all day, but I understand that she will need them to do their own thing so she can care for the newborn. I'm making clay, adding to my stash of art supplies and so on, but I need more ideas of things that a 4 and 3 year old can do on their own to keep them occupied with little set-up or stuff I can do beforehand so she can just pull it out for them when she needs to concentrate on the baby. Books, websites, your own ideas, I'm looking for any and everything. TIA!

Mama to two boys and a girl.
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#2 of 4 Old 11-27-2007, 01:01 AM
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My DD is younger, but aren't 4 and 3 good ages for building things? Lego or lincoln logs or whatever cool buildy things they offer now.

Also, putting on shows. Do they have lots of costumes for dress up, cd's to sing a long with, dance contests...
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#3 of 4 Old 11-27-2007, 11:46 PM
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My DD is 3.5 and I have also taught 4 and 5 year olds before. Here are some of the things that kept them occupied for a least 15 minute stretches and sometimes longer and were easy to set up:


*sticker pictures - sometimes I draw shapes on the paper and have my DD just put stickers in the shapes or draw lines and have her put them on the line. Also, look for those garage sale dot stickers and have them make pics with that - you can trace a letter and then have them put the dots on the letter

*Counters - can be sorted, lined up, played with in lots of ways -|searchResults~~p|2534374302061012~~.jsp

*cookie sheets with magnets - kids can make magnets for a craft project or just use any that you have around the house

*dry erase boards and dry erase markers

*a small dish pan type tub filled with beans - include spoons, containers and tweezers for taking out beans - or you can get a sand/water table and fill with something besides sand or beans like rice.

*flashlights - a good quiet activity - have them lay on their backs and flash the beam at the ceiling and "chase" each other's beam...

*paper link chains - this can be wasteful in terms of paper, tape and staples but hey it keeps them busy - have precut strips and then let them use tape or a stapler to make the links - it works quicker and better than glue

*"wash" dishes - this can be messy but using a little water reduces the mess or using a spray bottle - have them gather up their play dishes or food - assuming its plastic - and then have a littel water in a tub or spray bottle w/a smidge of dish soap - enough to make bubbles, sponges, and towels and have them "wash" their dishes


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#4 of 4 Old 11-28-2007, 12:10 AM
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A SAHM-thread mentioned the "telephone toys bag," which was a bag of very specific toys that came out ONLY when she needed to talk on the phone and went away as soon as she hung up. It kept them fresh. I think that's the key to anything. Don't have it out all the time, just pull it out for baths or diaper time or something.

I think the key is creating some kind of rhythm for the kids - morning activity, snack, activity, lunch, outdoor time, quiet time etc.

Third generation WOHM. I work by choice.
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