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I need some kind of plan on how to spend time educating creatively. I see people mention Nature Circles, Craft Time, etc. But have such a limited imagination that I'm lost. What is good for a 3 year old? Especially one whose speech is a little behind.
 

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Originally Posted by BeingMe View Post
I need some kind of plan on how to spend time educating creatively. I see people mention Nature Circles, Craft Time, etc. But have such a limited imagination that I'm lost. What is good for a 3 year old? Especially one whose speech is a little behind.
Have you tried googling ideas?
What about reading-flash cards- coloring-beads-glue-scissors- pipe cleaners- stickers-paper.. let her imagination run wild.
 

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An art box helped us - put in things that are open-ended that don't make a huge mess so your lo can drag it out any time and you say "okay!" My ds especially loved making collages out of bits of cut up junk mail, a glue stick and markers.

Ideas: a washable glue stick, watercolor paints/paintbrush, washable crayons/markers/colored pencils, stamps/washable stamp pad, scrap printer paper, leftover wrapping paper or tissue paper, my ds loves leftover coupons from the paper or magazines, safety scissors, odds and ends collected on nature walks for collages or wreaths (leaves, acorns, pinecones, rocks, etc.), paper plates and string for masks, a little pack of googly eyes is fun for making creatures, cotton balls

There are a lot of great books and websites out there and it can be very overwhelming to read them. My rule of thumb is to try to have one new activity ready to go in my mind every day should a lull or boredom come about. Also keep in mind you can spend time finding the perfect craft or game but it will probably be over in less than 5 minutes!


As far as the speech lagging, I would try to focus on being more descriptive in your speech and engaging your child - like if you took a nature walk around the block you could say - Hey! Look at this fuzzy green moss I found under this maple tree! Singing helps too if your little one is into that - I make up songs a lot (and we get lots of CD's out of the library) and he loves to dance and play instruments to his music.

My ds also loves helping me out around the house which in and of itself be educational and fun - like if I am washing dishes my ds can stand next to me and help scrub while we sing a song together, or he could help me sort laundry by color or he loves to play "bath scrub" which is when I give him a spray bottle of vinegar and a shaker of baking soda and put him in the tub with a scrub brush. He thinks its hilarious that it fizzes and cool that baking soda and vinegar make water (when its mixed in the right amounts of course). He loves to help me count measurements when I am baking something and likes to dump the ingredients in the mixing bowl. Sometimes when I find expired condiments or jars in the pantry or fridge I put on his apron and chef hat and give him a big bowl, some measuring spoons and cups and a whisk - he spent almost an hour this past week mixing together a combination of fast food condiment packets, a little flour, expired old herbs, and leftover easter candy into a concoction whose smell made me want to vomit but which made him incredibly proud!
The best part was when he made daddy taste it when he got home!

So even if you are not imaginative you can usually find things around your house to do if you think long enough. Once you start trying stuff you may find a few things that you little one loves to do that take up time and don't require many supplies - for me this is the art box. Usually I find that I actually need less than I think I do to have fun - most of it is an incredible amount of enthusiasm (feigned or not) and patience to let my ds be whoever he is going to be and do the "activity" however he is going to do it at his own pace.
 

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I have 3.5 yo and a 17 month old boys.
Some of the things that we do are:

visiting the library, dancing around the living room, cooking, blowing bubbles, we tell interactive stories (just telling a story and drawing it on paper at the same time, it can be really fun to hear what they will come up with), we go to the park, play in the back yard, build forts, play pretend, build blocks, paint, use chalk, go on walks, ride our bikes, run errands, play with cousins and grandparents, read, read, read, watch a little tv, shop, make lists, play t-ball, go to gymnastics, cleaning up, playing with stamps, cutting paper, using stickers, glue, pom-poms anything that is crafty, playing in our water table, destroy the house, destroy the house again
playing fetch with the dogs, bothering the cats, playing in their pretend kitchen, watching the fish, and so on.....

Good luck and don't get discouraged entertaining a three year old can be challenging for anyone!
 

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I got him some preschool and kindergarten books to work on after breakfast/before lunch. Things like writing letter, numbers, and addition. I read 4 books at a time with him when he wants to relax/nap/bedtime..he picks 4. Reading the same few books helps them with memory and language...
 

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I have a 3.5 yr old and an 18 month old.....here are some things that we do....

Outside activities - MOPS, church nursery, community pool, Mommy & Me class, library story time, YMCA classes, amusement parks, playdates, Michael's craft store class, bible school, festivals, shopping, arcade, Lowes/home depot activities (a bit young for this), science center, zoo, etc.

Outside- play in yard with outside toys, swim in baby pool, go to park, go for walk

Free Play - play with toys

TV/Movies - videos/dvds= (Baby Einstein, Leap Frog); tv=Sesame Street/Barney

Read Books - read a variety of books - some of which we own, some from the library, some online

Activities/Crafts - watercolor paint, finger paint, color with crayons, playdough, art projects (stamping, glue, etc), cooking/baking, puzzles, board/card games, write/draw with washable markers/aquadoodle/magnadoodle/chalkboard

Napping and eating take up a portion of the day

Learning - work on alphabet, numbers, shapes, colors, animals,
by using activity books, flash cards, internet, etc.

Special toys - Vtech Vsmile; story reader, my first leap pad, read with me dvd,

Dance/Listen to music
 

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Our daughter used to love mixing colors in the bathtub, but since those little tablets are expensive, I've always used paste food coloring (available at Michael's). The paste coloring lasts forever because a little goes a long way.

Every night I'd let her pick two colors and I'd put a smudge of each in separate bowls and she'd add the water and start mixing. It didn't take many nights for her to figure out secondary and even tertiary colors, thanks to the many different shades of paste food coloring.

This is also good on hot summer days if you have a small kiddie pool, the food coloring doesn't stain the skin unless you give them way too much. Hope this helps!
 

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Also subbing.....
 

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Here are some resources that I use with my 3yo & 21mo, in addition to a lot of the fun things already listed. All of them are inexpensive and can easily be done at home.

First Art for Toddlers & Twos- this is a GREAT book, and kids will love it well beyond the toddler years.
Kididdles- downloadable songs, lyrics, & songsheets.
Brightly Beaming Resources- this is a free online homeschool curriculum for babies, toddlers, & beyond. I don't follow it to the letter, but rather pick & choose things that work for us. A great resource for all of the nursery rhymes, songs, finger plays, etc. that I remember learning as a kid, but would never have remembered to use now as a parent....
Tot Trays- lots of good ideas for keeping your little ones entertained while also working on assorted motor skills
Tot Books- these work if your lo can resist tearing paper.
Level 1 Lapbooks- if you like the Tot Books, there are a few more options at this site.

Now having said all that, we spend most of our time doing "fun" things (i.e. bubbles, riding bikes, singing, dancing, etc.), but I have come to really appreciate the things I mentioned above as they really help me to keep things exciting for my little ones. We don't have pre-school or playgroups or libraries or other groups/outings here, so I like to be able to provide as many options for fun & learning as I can, and just follow my kids' leads for what they like and are interested in. HTH.
 

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My DD is only 2, but my approach to language is just to have a very language-rich environment. Lots of books available, library story time, lots of singing and playing music, really talking and interacting most of the day while we're doing whatever is fun (art projects, dolls, walking outside...all are opportunities for conversation, describing what I notice or asking what she sees or thinks). One thing she's really into lately is "talk about the day." This started as a bedtime ritual. I just go through the whole sequence of events of the day in as much detail as I have the energy for. She loves it and I think she must get a lot out of it even though she is just listening (memory, processing, sequence of events, vocabulary), because she asks so often to "talk about the day."
I was a teacher with 3-year-olds for awhile, and some of the favorite activities were...anything messy (cornstarch and water mixed together...so fun!, bubbles, playing outside in the rain, sand, water), painting, collage, and making things out of recycling bin stuff (cardboard, etc.), lots of time outside to run and be wild, running into and punching a big pillow, superhero play with peers, dress-up, manipulatives like blocks or legos (open-ended, not following a design), lots of freedom for imagination and pretend.
 

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How about a book like The Toddlers Busy Book - good ideas for easy and often free things to do with your toddler. Games, songs, crafts, etc.

We go for a lot of walks. DD (32 months) seems to think we go to Trader Joe's for the balloon, not the food I get when we're there! We do story time at the library. We do a playground or park when the weather cooperates (no backyard). DD does a lot of coloring.
 

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with me two year old i have a bunch of idea books (too many really i think i'm addicted) and i go through and pick out 1 or 2 'educational' activity's to do at some point i n the day.

lots of painting /coloring sometimes free draw sometimes coloring pages.

craft activity's - glue and glitter / collages / 'dyeing' fabric bits

littleacornlearning.com has a monthly program that has helped me out tons.
 

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I didn't read all the replies so I don't know if this has already been covered but some things my 3 - 4 year old loved to do:

Pouring and squirting water (old dishtub, bottle, small sponge, a couple of measuring cups.... maybe even some soap!)

The above pouring with rice or dirt or oats.... instead of water

squishing things.... icky wet noodles, clay, shaving cream... if you can let your child smooth shave cream all over an outdoor window or flat board

painting outside with a little can of water and small paintbrush... endless fun

digging with kitchen utensils.... spoons, muffin cups, sifters etc...

Just a few ideas.
 

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Dude, now I want to build a fort


Try camping in your living room or back yard- building the fort idea


Gardening. We moved to a house that had an old rotten stump. We dug it up and found all kinds of cool bugs. DS and his new neighbor friends got a really cool science lesson for free, well for the price of my sweat and sore muscles
(part of our homeschool lesson for the day
and the public schooled friends learned alot too
- they told me!) One actually said they wished they were homeschooled. Now I'm afraid his mom is thinking, "Oh great, freakin' hippies."
)

Check out The Crafty Crow. Their stuff might be for older kids but, they still have great ideas your LO can help with.
 
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