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I just set my kids up with a 1/4 cup of vinager with a teaspoon of salt in it. I handed them a jar of pennies and some dishtowels and they spent almost 2 hours happily cleaning pennies while I got some stuff accomplished around the house.



Please add to this thread.... activities that can occupy a child without adult involvement.
 

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well, depends on the age of the child. but my 4yo can entertain herself for quite a while with:

~coloring pages printed out off the internet/computer and her crayons and markers
~homemade playdough with a butter knife and garlic press
~my digital camera (and its actually interesting to see the pictures she takes lol)
~washing windows. I give her a cloth and squirt bottle filled with water/vinegar and ask her to help me clean all the windows in the house
 

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Threading noodles onto a spare shoestring. Give them a tub full of various shaped tube noodles and an old shoestring with a knot tied in one end.

Give them a box of toothpicks and a bag of frozen peas. See what they can build.
 

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For 4 yo:
Give paintbrush and a cup of water and send them outside. DD was amazed that I was giving her permission to "paint" anything she wanted! LOL!

Package of stickers. May need to set rules on where these can be used/not used.

A big bucket or plastic jar of small items. DD will play for a long time with buttons, crayons, small rocks, pretty much any pile of small items. She will line them up, have them talk to each other, etc.
 

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My 3 1/2 year old likes to wash dishes. So I stick a chair in front of the sink, fill it with Tupperware, and let him at it.
 

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My 8 year old likes to fill his super soaker (thank you, Grandma...not!) with water and spray the kitchen floor and mop it. You could accomplish the same thing with a squirt bottle full of vinegar/water and get the floor clean at the same time!
 

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We do the painting with water thing. Also, giving them a pile of baking soda on the carpet and letting them run thier cars through it. Vaccums right up when they are done. Cornstarch mixed with water- messy, but fun. Playing in the wading pool in the backyard, although I do have to be there, but I can do this while I pay bills at the kitchen table since our table is right by the sliding glass door. Puzzles occupy my little guys. Also, we have a big box of little toys like those Mc Donald's toys or just small stocking stuffer toys that they have collected. Looking through those will keep them busy for a bit. Blocks are fun. Mr. potato head. I let them play with shaving cream in the backyard, although I have to be nearby. With my kids though, I pretty much always have to be watching them or disastrous things happen:LOL
 

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We pour it on a tray, no carpet here, and ds spent all winter at the job site. I can carry it to the floor or back onto a table. We just kept adding to it until the weather warmed up and I told ds we would do it again in winter. I like saving this for rainy day weather.

He loves magic tape and will make bridges, etc with it. I buy it in 12 packs at Costco.
 

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I think if I knew what magic tape was, I might love it too, please share!

Elliott can be busy for hours with a hole puncher, the stapler, and some paper--this is definitely a process-driven activity; there isn't much to display on the fridge when he's done, but he loves every minute of the work.
 

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What a fun thread!

Last week, I had my 4 yr old ds sort through his crayon box and separate the broken crayons into a big bowl, then he peeled off all the paper and sorted them into paper muffin cups according to color. It took him most of 3 afternoons! (We have a BIG crayon bin
)

Now I need some ideas of what to do with all these neatly sorted crayon pieces. Anyone have suggestions?
 

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Magic tape is regular old tape. I don't know why it's called that.

I let ds have the kitchen sissors this afternoon to cut up all the plants I was pulling out of the vegetable garden. Everything bolted and I had a beet the size of a baseball! He was mostly careful with the sissors and then we reached the "all done" point and I put them away. I was rather impressed with his growing abilities.

He always peels the paper off the crayons and just wants to sharpen them...
 

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Boxes. Get a few different sized boxes ... meaning carton size and bigger, like 2 feet by whatever ... and let 'em at 'em.

Loving this thread. And am just giggly over the frozen-peas-and-toothpicks idea. Thanks ...
 

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I am giddy over the the vinegar cleaning pennies idea. Mamaduck is a genius


Magnets...lots of screws, bolts, Canadian pennies (I think that's it).

Dot paints...very fun.
 

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my son is almost 4 (will be in just over a month)...

things he does on his own* ~

- puts together puzzles (24 pieces... though he needs a little more of a challenge than that now)
- colors, draws, works with chalk
- plays with his LeapPad
- pretend play
- builds stuff with his blocks
- makes up his own games
- plays music

* he does them with us too, but can happily / safely / efficiently do them on his own.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by deanna
Now I need some ideas of what to do with all these neatly sorted crayon pieces. Anyone have suggestions?
I knew someone who baked "crayon muffins". She put the broken pieces (you can mix colors for a multi-colored crayon) in a muffin tin and baked until they melted. I don't remember if she used the paper liners or not, but if you don't mind possibly sacrificing your muffin tin, you could do 50/50 and see what happens. Or maybe someone else has tried this?
 

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These are some great ideas.

Here is a crayon muffin recipe I found here http://store.yahoo.com/royalmunchkin...nmuffins.html:

Quote:
You will need:
Muffin tin
Nonstick cooking spray
Crayon pieces

Preheat oven to 350. Spray muffin tins (generously) with non-stick cooking spray such as Pam. Remove all paper from crayons, and let your child fill the muffin tins with the crayon pieces.

Place in oven. As the crayons melt, the colors will swirl together forming a beautiful "muffin crayon" that your child will enjoy. They don't take long to bake - one to three minutes - so keep a close eye on them!

Once cooled, remove from the muffin tin and let your child enjoy!
Fieryfly I did the water and paintbrush thing today with my two older children and they had a blast! Thanks for the idea.
 

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Yes, I need this thread right now. And I have been thinking about making crayon muffins, so the timing is good.

My 4 year old likes to build roads on the carpet with masking tape and then drive cars around on the floor. It pulls up easily and makes no mess. My current problem is this: how do I keep my active 12 month old walking, climbiing baby away from the 4 year old's project/stuff? I pretty much tell the 4 year old to take stuff to the dining room table to play up high - but that rules out a bunch of projects - like tape on the floor...

Here is another great vinegar thing we did recently. We took off our shoes and got in the shower and sprayed vinegar all over the walls and then took turns scubbing. Happy kid, clean shower!

We also recently sorted a huge bowl of change and made baggies of pennies, nickles, dimes and quarters (for toll booths, I guess). We looked for state quarters for our state quarter collection.

Boxes and tape are good. My son likes to play mail carrier and deliver stuff in the boxes to me.
 

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Some various activities we do:

drawing (big package of printer paper and big package of pencils)
stories on tape (we love Your Story Hour's Bible and Story tapes)
Playing outside (we have a patch of garden that's just dirt for them to dig in)
Playing zoo (dozens of small plastic animals and barns)

we have a model train program (Trainz) that we allow them to play on. They create various "worlds" and drive trains in them.

real model trains (at this point just wooden ones, they'd break real model trains!)

reading (even though they don't "read" yet, they love looking through books)
 

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And to think, I almost took all the pennies to the grocery store change machine to get cash! Glad I saw this thread first! *whew!* Thanks Mamaduck!
 

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NatureMamaOR said:
stories on tape (we love Your Story Hour's Bible and Story tapes)
QUOTE]

The other day the kids helped me make our own books on a CD. I read while my 4 yo tapped a xylophone to indicate when to turn the page. My 8yo also wanted to record his own book for them to listen to. We did this on our computer and also our digital video/picture/voice recorder and then changed it to mp3 so they could listen to it on their cd player. They love it!
 
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