Below are some of the activities that were popular in our house for a 4-year-old and 2-year-old.
I am neither a stay at home mom nor a homeschooling expert. Until about a week before Covid19 hit the fan, I was a full time working mom (in tech) juggling my own business and two small children. I say that to emphasize that I’m no expert, just another mom in the trenches trying to figure out how to survive each day.
Some activities we’ve tried have been incredibly successful, and others massive failures. Below are some of the activities that were popular in our house for a 4-year-old, 2-year-old, and 20 month old. Hopefully you’ll find a few ideas here that require minimal effort but will keep the kids entertained, at least for a few minutes!
Materials: Liquid watercolor paint, card stock, straw, googly eyes
Activity: Dab a blob of watercolor paint on card stock and then blow in random directions to create your germ. When the paint has dried, glue on googly eyes.
Materials: Small paper plates, hole punch, variety of ribbon or yarn, crayons
Activity: Thread yarn or ribbon through holes and color jellyfish faces.
Materials: Bubbles, liquid food color, paper
Activity: Blow colorful bubbles to create unique art. I highly recommend this activity be done outdoors. We did this on the patio and there is now an orange stain on the patio carpet because my son thought it would be fun to dump the bubbles. If your kid hasn’t mastered blowing bubbles, this works well as splatter paint too.
Materials: Cardboard cutout in the shape of a rainbow (I used an Exacto knife and amazon boxes), colorful paper cut into small squares, pom poms, glue stick, anything else you have on hand
Activity: Kids create their own rainbow collage. The sturdiness of the cardboard made this a great project for the small boys and kept everyone entertained for at least 30 minutes.
Materials: Large clear jar or vase, shaving cream, liquid food color
Activity: Fill jar ¾ full with water, create a layer of shaving cream at the top and drop food coloring into the shaving cream. As your cloud fills with rain, rainbow spurts will rain into your water. I’d recommend doing lines as opposed to random dots as it makes a prettier pattern in the jar as the rain begins to fall. I genuinely cannot say if my children or their grandmother enjoyed this experiment more but we had to do it multiple times!
Materials: 7 clear cups, paper towels, liquid food color, water
Activity: Line up 7 cups. Fill cups 1, 3, 5, 7 with water. Add 5 drops of red food coloring to cups 1 and 7. Add 5 drops of yellow food coloring to cup 3. Add 5 drops of Blue food coloring to cup 5. Fold paper towel and drape between cups 1 and 2, 2 and 3, etc. Watch and observe.
Materials: Clear jar, water, oil, liquid food color
Activity: Fill the jar ¾ full with water. Add a small layer of oil on top. Drop food color into oil. Wait for your fireworks to begin.
Materials: white bowl, water, pepper, dish soap
Activity: Fill your bowl with some water and cover the top with pepper. Have your kids dip their finger in dish soap and then place it in the bowl of pepper and water. Watch as the pepper is instantly repelled by the dish soap. I think we had to repeat this experiment about 12 times because the kids were so amazed. Great way to teach the kids about the importance of proper handwashing!
Materials: White plate with a lip or serving dish with a flat bottom and sides, white-board pen, water
Activity: Draw a stick-man on the bottom of the plate or dish. Make sure all lines connect. Give him a minute to completely dry. Slowly add water and watch him lift off the bottom. As you move your bowl, you can make him dance.
Entertaining 3 small kids day-in, day-out is exhausting. The key to our sanity is daily walks through the neighborhood. Come 10am, you can find our crew wandering around the neighborhood, looking at the trees and spring gardens our neighbors are perfecting in their own quarantine. We have an app (Picture This) that allows us to identify the trees and flowers and use it as a learning opportunity for the kids. My daughter can proudly identify white oaks and silver maples. The younger boys are excited to point out every anthill we pass. All the kids enjoy mud puddles after a rainy day. We’ve decided to let them go nuts as long as they strip before coming into the house.
On rainy days, we’ll make an obstacle course in the house or, more likely than not, look up a cosmic kids yoga video or search for “Toddler Dance Party” on YouTube.
Other activities the kids love are helping us bake (box cake mixes, sugar cookies, etc). We have turned sorting cookie cutters by color or shape type into an activity on more than one occasion.
We have a set schedule so the kids always know what to expect. It has considerably helped with discipline issues and the uncertainty of this crazy situation. We don’t always follow it to a T but close enough that the kids know what is expected of them. I admit fully that it is my privilege at this time to not have to worry about work so I can focus on the kids. It’s still exhausting and this is HARD. Just like anyone else, we’re looking forward to some the return of some semblance of normal but until then, Pinterest is my best friend in helping me keep the heathens entertained.
Good luck Mamas! We’re all in this together!