101 kidsbusy


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101 kidsbusy

  1. 1. 101+ Waysto Keep Kids Busy
  2. 2. To the Caregiver As a caregiver, you have ing, reading and singing. and doing things. These a very important job. For They became small-sized children were growing many hours each day couch potatoes. and developing to the you take the place of the fullest. - Another caregiver, just ence the child in many down the street, planned 101+ Ways to Keep Kids ways. every day and had her Busy can help you help two children active and the children you care for The early years of the to grow and develop. It’s child’s life are extremely and doing many fun ac- full of wonderful ideas of important. The child is tivities. These children things you can plan and do growing and developing. were alive. They smiled with your children. You can help the child and laughed and cried and grow and develop to the giggled! Young children are fullest. supposed to be active, Which of these two family curious, questioning, Not long ago, a caregiver child care homes do you busy, and a host of other was discovered who al- think was the happiest? things. lowed the two children Which one had the most she cared for to watch We hope you’ll use 101+ TV for hours and hours. children’s growth and Ways to Keep Kids Busy These two children soon development? Of course and we hope you’ll make became dull children. the answer is the family every effort to help your They weren’t interested child care home where children grow and de- in running and jump- the children were active velop to the fullest. He or she? Him or her? Please note: In this and all Better Kid Care publications we take turns referring to children as “he” or “she.” When we use he or she, we include all children.2 101+ Ways to Keep Kids Busy
  3. 3. 101+ Ways to Keep Kids BusyHave a Telephone show the children the pat- Make a MusicalConversation tern of the course so that InstrumentA homemade telephone can they know what they have A musical instrument canhelp younger children build to crawl over, under, or easily be made with twotheir vocabulary skills and through. small paper plates andalso be a lot of fun. The beans. Place the beans onphone can be made from Make a Necklace one plate. Cover with thepaper or plastic cups. Empty thread spools that other plate. Tape, glue, or are painted different colors staple the plates together.The phone line should have can make a safe necklace Encourage the child to playtwo “receivers.” Punch a for younger children. They the instrument to music.small hole in the bottom can even help you make (Due to choking hazards,of each cup, and push the the necklace. this activity is not intendedends of a 15 to 20 foot for children under threestring through the holes. Take the spools and string years of age.)Tie a large knot at each end them together with a softof the string. The children string or shoe lace. Thecan stretch out the string younger children will enjoyand begin their conversa- helping you do this.tion. (Due to strangulationhazards, this activity is not Colored Sand Artintended for children under Take dry sand from thethree years of age.) sand box and put a handful Learning Important into several small contain- InformationLet’s Jump ers. Add some food color- Help a child learn hisHave the children stand ing into each container and telephone number and ad-with their toes at a starting mix together until the sand dress while playing. Tapeline, which can be made is colored. the house number on a playusing a strip of masking house or the bedroom door. Give the children some The telephone numberyou give a signal, have the paper and glue. Have them can be taped to a play make patterns with the glue telephone. Ask the childforward. The distance each to make a design. When his telephone number andchild jumped can be mea- address frequently.sured with chalk or string. sprinkle the glue with theLet the children jump again colored sand. Householdto see if they can improve Itemstheir distance. Counting the Can Be Fun Dishes Egg cartons, milkObstacle Course Have the chil- cartons, emptyAn obstacle course can be dren help set the thread spools,set up either in or out of table for meals or snackdoors. Chairs, old tires, and ask them to count coloring can be used tostools, and cardboard how many napkins, forks, make fun, safe educationalboxes are just a few things dishes, and spoons will be toys and materials for thethat can be used. Make and needed. children. 3 101+ Ways to Keep Kids Busy
  4. 4. Paste JewelryWhat you need:1/2 cup corn starch1/2 cup salt warm water Egg and Milk Ideas with PaperWhat you do: Cartons as Toys Children can make aMix the ingredients in a collage or book by cutting Cut egg cartons intobowl. Add warm water pictures out of old maga- individual cups and makegradually until the mixture zines and gluing them onforms a dough. Before a piece of paper. Make a a pipe cleaner as a stem.working with the dough, necklace by cutting out The children can also make puppets out of egg cartons colorful magazine stripsthe stickiness. The children and wrapping them around and pipe cleaners.can shape the dough into a tooth pick. Pull the tooth-different shaped beads. A Milk cartons can be trans- pick out, glue strip, let dry,hole can be pierced in each formed into great building and thread between beads.bead with a toothpick. Dry blocks or a train. To makethe beads on a screen. the blocks, simply cut the Feel Box top off two cartons and Find an old shoe box. Cut aGo Bird Watching push them together. The hole in the lid. You can askMake a bird feeder out of a blocks can be covered with the children to decorate thepaper milk or juice carton. contact paper. box. Put some things in theCut out two opposite side box. Let each child put onepanels and fold down to To make a train, cut the hand in the hole and try tomake a ledge for the birds top off of the carton and guess what is in the box byto rest on. Let the children cover with contact paper. feeling the objects.decorate the carton. Put For wheels, glue four egga string through the top carton cups on the bottom Experiment withto hang. The bird feeder of each “car” of the train. Watercan be hung from a tree or The cars can be connected Fill three jars with waterclothesline near a window. with string or yarn. and mark the level on eachLet the children add the jar. Place one jar in theseed when necessary. Homemade freezer and one in a win- Puppets dow. Put aFun Play Dough Old socks, mit- lid on theWhat you need: tens, and lunch third jar bags make and put it be-1 part salt interesting side the jar in the1 part water hand puppets. window. Havefood color Children love to talk the children through puppets. This check theWhat you do: gives them the chance to jars frequently.Mix and knead until it is create their own charac- Talk about expan-doughy and the color is sion of water, evapo-mixed in well. Store in a eyes and noses and yarn for ration, and air.covered container. hair. The children can even add clothes, a hat, teeth, or ears.4 101+ Ways to Keep Kids Busy
  5. 5. Make a Newspaper Make a Megaphone Make Bean BagsWhat you need: A clean, empty bleach Help your child sew someseveral sheets of paper container with the bottom scrap material together andsafety scissors cut off looks exactly like acrayons megaphone. The children beans. (Due to chokingconstruction paper can practice singing or hazards, this activity is notglue talking to the “crowd.” intended for children under three years of age.)What you do: A Theme CollageA child can make her own What you need: Make a Booknewspaper by drawing old magazines Have the children cut pic-or dutting out pictures of safety scissors tures from an old maga-events or writing a simple glue zine. Each child can pastestory. paper the pictures into a book made of paper and boundThe child can mail the What you do: with yarn. Each child cannewspaper to relatives or Have the children decide write or dictate a shortfriends. the theme of the collage. story about each picture. Write the theme at theA Noodle top of the paper. They Rough and SmoothNecklace can look through Young children enjoyBig uncooked magazines and seeing things change. Letmacaroni, painted cut out pictures children see the differenceor plain, can make that follow the between rough and smootha great necklace. theme. Some by using a piece of wood.Younger children ideas for themes Let them feel the roughwill enjoy thread- are dogs, cats, or wood, and then, with sand-ing a string or plants. paper, smooth the woodshoelace through the down.macaroni. Press Some Flowers(Due to choking hazards, On a nice day, ask the chil- Flavored Milkthis activity is not intended - Ingredients:for children under three ers and place them inside a 1 cup milkyears of age.) big heavy book or a stack 1/2 banana, mashed, or of books. (To protect the 1/2 cup orange juice, orStart a Collection pages of the book, place a 1/4 cup crushedYoung children like to napkin or paper towel in strawberriescollect things like rocks,shells, or coins. You can Help the child mix the milkhelp children organize the dry. The children can make with one of the ingredi-collection by labeling the ents, and then shake untilobjects as to where they blended. This is a tasty,were found or who gave piece of paper. nutritious drink.them to the child.(Due to choking hazards, Dress-up Follow the Dotsthis activity is not intended Old hats, shirts, shoes, You can make a dot-to-dotfor children under three ribbons, junk jewelry, and picture for a child to followyears of age.) other old clothing will oc- and color. For an older cupy a child for hours. Let child, make the dots farther each child pick out his own apart and number them. costume. 5 101+ Ways to Keep Kids Busy
  6. 6. Sounds in the Home excellent. These can be little more than one cup ofGo on a tour of your home used as blocks to build.with the children and look They could be glued to- pie crust, biscuits or bread.at everything that makes a gether to make them stable It works best if you com-sound. Children can make or used as props in acting bine with “store-bought”a book of the sounds by out a story. The children (For safety reasons,drawing the object and learn to “read” the picture an adult should operate thewriting the sound. labels and recognize that blender.) foods come in many forms.Stick Puppets They may recognize food Cut and PasteHelp the children cut out boxes used at home. Magazine Picturesseveral pictures of animalsor people from a magazine. Use Posters to of fruits and vegetables.The pictures can be glued Decorate The children may tear orto cardboard and then to Visit your grocery store cut the pictures and glue,popsicle sticks to make and ask the produce man- paste, or tape the picturespuppets. ager to give you some pro- to paper. Label the collage motional materials, such as “My Favorite Vegetables,”Creating a Peanut large posters or pictures of “The Fruits We Put in OurButter Sandwich fruits and vegetables. You Salad,” “Fruits and Veg-When lunch time arrives, can use these to decorate etables I Want to Taste,” orthe children can create rooms by hanging them on whatever children suggest.their own sandwiches. Put the wall or making mo-out some bread, peanut biles. Children may like Classify Fruits andbutter, sliced banana, to paint or make a collage Vegetablescrushed pineapple, dried over large posters.fruit, relish, raisins, grated pictures, or real fruits andcarrots, or cheese. Let vegetables, encourageeach child decide what she children to group them bywants in her sandwich. categories, such as: shape, color, “those I like least,”Let’s Clean House “those I have tasted,”Young children enjoy help- “those I have never eaten,”ing you clean around the or any other categorieshouse. Cleaning windows their imaginations provide.is a favorite. Give each As they sort fruits and veg-child his own cloth. Let Make Your Own etables, they develop basic FlourDon’t expect a young child This is a good activityto last too long. Discuss to do after reading “Thesafety rules with the chil- Little Red Hen.” If youdren and let them help put want to make your ownthe cleaning supplies away. in a blender. Blend onBuild with BoxesAsk parents to help you produced. One cup ofsave empty, clean food grain will make aboxes with pictures offruits and vegetables.Frozen food packages are6 101+ Ways to Keep Kids Busy
  7. 7. Fruit salad Ingredients: suggestions:4 cups water apple3 large carrots banana3 potatoes oranges2 onions melons2 stalks celery1 can tomatoes Vegetable1 can corn salad suggestions: Act Out a Story1 can peas4 teaspoons beef bouillon lettuce Read or tell the childrensalt to taste spinach the story of “The Little tomatoes Red Hen.” Then with yourHeat 4 cups of water and celery help let them tell the storybouillon in a large pot. Peeland cut carrots, celery, po- Learn about Grains you leave out. Eventually,tatoes, and onions. Simmer Visit a farmer, health food they should be able to actall these ingredients until store, or feed mill to get out the story.soft. Add tomatoes, corn, some different grains—and peas. Salt to taste. wheat, barley, alfalfa, oats. Let’s Make...Cook 10 minutes longer. Let the children look at Make something to wear them and touch them. How or look at. String cerealCooperation Soup are they the same or and/ or macaroni to makeCooperation Salad different? a necklace, bracelet, or• Everybody helps decide belt. Wrap tape around one which vegetables or fruits “Do You Know the end of the yarn or string to to use. Muffin Man?” make it stiff. (Due to chok-• Everybody helps wash Have the children help you ing hazards, this activity is fruits and vegetables. not intended for children• Everybody helps peel song. The children will en- under three years of age.) and slice the fruits and joy pretending to sell muf- vegetables. Children can Make a collage of cereal or peel things like bananas dry pasta. To help children and use a dull plastic learn the names of shapes, knife to slice soft fruits. - use square-shaped “Chex They can also tear lettuce cereals” and round “Cheer- and spinach. To be safe, of varieties! ios” for circles. As the chil- an adult needs to peel dren glue the shapes, talk and slice other fruits and Song: about their differences and vegetables. names, such as, “A square• Everybody gets a chance has four sides.” to eat. Let’s All SewSoup suggestions: What you need:carrots man who bakes a lot of cardboard of various sizes,tomatoes shapes, and colorspotatoes long and short shoelacespeas yarn or heavy string paper punch 7 101+ Ways to Keep Kids Busy
  8. 8. What you do: Have children collectOutline a shape on a piece objects that can be used creatively, such as leaves,punch to make a series of nuts, seed pods, sticks,holes around the shape. For etc. In the fall children canyounger children, make the make collages from dif-shapes simple—a square ferent sizes and shades offor example—and limit the the shapes and colors on leaves.number of holes. For older the other. They can lacechildren the shape can be on the top of the card to Leaf Figuresan animal or person and match and then return to What you need:have more holes. Young the bottom of the card to leaveschildren can use a shoe- match the next shape. twigs/pipe cleanerslace, while older children grasscan use a blunt needle From Seed To crayon/construction paperand string or yarn. Large Flower glueneedles used for needle- What you need: package newsprint/cardboardpoint are good for thisactivity. They are available of cardboard glue or tapein plastic and metal. You small container and dirtmay also want to makethe holes larger for young What you do:children. The cards can be This activity will help chil-used over and over. (This dren understand how plantsactivity is not intended for grow. You can use any typechildren under three years of container to plant theold.) seeds or plant them out- doors in the garden. Let theVariations: children look at the seeds.• Paper plates can be used Plant some and glue or tape What you do: instead of pieces of card- some on the cardboard and During a nature walk have label them with the name children collect leaves of lacing as a picture for the different colors, sizes, and children to take home. plants have grown, glue or• Each hole can be given a tape some of the leaves and newsprint or cardboard, number and the children have the child glue a leaf can then lace in nu- with the seeds to show how or leaves to form people, merical order until they a plant grows from a seed. animals, and plants. Other complete the card. This body parts may be made activity teaches number You can make different by attaching pipe cleaners, awareness and sequenc- displays using different drawing with crayons, or ing. kinds of seeds. Why not from scraps of construc-• Divide a large piece of make another display using tion paper. Leave it to the cardboard in half and list vegetable seeds and plants? child’s imagination and colors and/or shapes on you’ll get a variety of one side. On the other Let’s Find... side list the same colors What you need and/or shapes but in a a paper bag or container to different order. Have the collect things children match the shapes and colors on one side to pictures for nonreaders8 101+ Ways to Keep Kids Busy
  9. 9. outside play area, Don’t expect a three- or the neighborhood, four-year-old to understand all these concepts, but it’s “play dough” to let an introduction to their the children make learning about how to get buildings. After the around the neighborhoodHow Do I Get buildings have dried, and community. Older chil-There? they can be painted or food dren may be familiar withWhen children go to coloring can be added to the concept of a map. Theyschool or child care it is the “play dough” before may want you to explainnot unusual for them to ask making the models. Card- more and explore morean adult, “How do I get board boxes, milk cartons, themselves. They maythere?” or, “How does this paper models, wood, and want to go to the library tobus driver know where to other creative materials can get a book, like a children’sgo?” Draw a map to show be used and painted instead atlas, and begin activitieswhere the child lives and of play dough. using it.how the roads lead to child Treasure Hunt Giant Paint Pencare. Point out places thechild knows like a gas sta- A treasure hunt can help Roll-on deodorant contain-tion, a store, a church, or a children follow directions ers can be used as giantpark. on a map. This is a game paint pens. If possible, pry that can be played indoors off the top of an emptyAsk the child to draw a or outside. An adult or roll-on deodorant con-map of how they would go child hides a treasure and tainer. Wash the containerfrom the kitchen in their draws a map for the chil- thoroughly, dry it, andhome to their bedroom. dren to follow to get to theHave them show where treasure. Have them make paint. Push the top backtheir home is and other various stops along the on and you have a “non-homes in their neighbor- way to collect extra items. messy” paint pen. Thehood, like friends’ houses. tempera paint cannot beScraps of paper can be Let’s Play thick or lumpy. Remember,glued to add color to this Preschool children like to not all roll-on containersactivity and allow a child play with blocks, trucks, will work.to use his/her creativity. and cars. Often they will make roads for their trucks Plastic EggsMy Room and cars. Sometimes 1. Glue the egg closed.Children can construct a schools, homes, zoos, and Some children may want topaper map or model of parks appear along the put sand in the egg beforetheir child care classroom, road. Although children gluing. This will help it toschool, school building, or may not understand the stand up.outside play area. Small concept of a map, this is 2. Children can paint on apieces of wood and other a good time to begin to face or cut out eyes, nose,creative materials can be explain that a map helps and mouth and paste on theused in this project. people get from one place face. to another. 3. Hair can be anythingA Model that is available: paper, cot-Older children can discuss Maps are all sizes and ton, yarn, etc.with the younger children shapes. They explain a 4. Clothes can be coloredthe model of the child small community, a nation, tape, paper, paint, or what-care, school building, or the world. ever is at hand. 9 101+ Ways to Keep Kids Busy
  10. 10. Finger Puppets nose, mouth, and hair can What you do:What you need: be colored with crayon or Have the children paint orpaper and material paints or other items that cover the boxes or tubestape or glue children may want to use with paper. They can cutcreative materials to help the puppet “come out and paste on the facial to life.” You may want to features or use anythingWhat you do: help children decide on the they want to make theirChildren can draw differ- size of the pattern before puppets special. Pipeent characters on paper or cutting it out. Remember cleaners, yarn, rope, andfabric and cut them out. By buttons can all be used totaping or gluing a ring on head and arms so that chil- create a box or tubethe back of each character dren can make the puppets puppet.the children can slip the move. Yarn or string makes great hair, mustaches, and Matching Numbersand use them to tell a story. beards.How about using this idea Valentine 2Another way to make asimple pattern that can be What you need: paste or glue safety scissors crayons or markers 2glued or sewed together. assorted construction paperThe face can be drawn orcolored. Children can use What you do: or carpet to make a match-yarn, string, or other Children can make a valen- ing game. Squares cancreative materials for the also be used as “steppingface, hair, clothes, and their favorite colors. They stones” by writing numbersother features. can glue or paste decora- on them. tions on them or drawHand Puppets pictures. 2. An old shower curtain orWhat you need: plastic tablecloth becomesfabric or heavy paper Box and Tube an indoor hopscotch gameneedle and thread or glue Puppets when permanent-ink mark- crayons, markers, paints, What you need: ers are used to make lines and other materials old boxes (cereal, crackers, and numbers. Be sure tosafety scissors old tubes (paper towels, to prevent accidents.What you do: toilet paper, wax paper,The basic pattern of thehand puppet lets the child creative materials catalog. Cut out a pair ofcontrol the head and arms everything. Paste one toof the puppet by usingpuppet’s head and arms.If children can sew, theycan use any kind of fabricfor the pattern. Youngerchildren can use fabric orheavy paper (glue the sidespaper lunch bags. Eyes,10 101+ Ways to Keep Kids Busy
  11. 11. a small cardboard. Have Paste pictures on pieces Show the children how tochildren match up the other of heavy paper or card- clip the item on the cor-one. board. Punch two holes in responding set of objects. the edge of each paper or For school-age children,Number Hopscotch cardboard. Tie the “pages” you may want to use thisWhat you need: together with string or activity for simple mathmasking tape yarn. problems in addition, sub-dice traction, multiplication, or Counting division.What you do: What you need:This helps children form cardboard circles Paper Platea better understanding of clip items—clothespins or Menagerienumbers and sequencing large paper clips What you need:and combines matching markers paper platesconcepts with large muscle crayons - What you do: popsicle sticksing tape to form a pattern This is a good way to help staples children match objects with safety scissorschildren you may want to the corresponding numer- yarnbegin by using one die. als or number words. Draw tissueFor older children you can circles on heavy cardboard. other assorted items (paperincrease to a pair of dice or Divide circles into sec- and fabric scraps, but-make your own dice, using tions, depending on abilitylarger numbers. Remem- of the children who will beber that children playing working with the circles. In What you do:hopscotch go from one each section draw a set ofnumber to another number objects, for instance: base. Young children canin sequence. Don’t let them create numerous projectstouch the lines or put both 2 birdsfeet down. Encourage chil- 3 birds activity, gifts, or seasonaldren who cannot hop on 4 birds characters, and reinforceone foot to jump on both concepts and skills.feet. Make the hopscotchpattern the right size for the With the stretch ofchildren playing the game. children’s imagination,Make a Book become a:Cut brightly coloredpictures out of magazines. • Hand puppetYou will need at least four • Face made with yarn,pictures to make a book. scraps of fabric, buttonsYou may use more. You • Face with glasses, tissuecan make a book about for nose, comb, etc.babies, food, dogs, cars, On the clip-on item, print • Turkeyfarms, or any other subject, the number of the word. • Tambourine to sew oror make a book about big For instance: lacethings and little things or • Pumpkin persontall and short things. 4/Four • Mask 5/Five • Matching activity (good 11 101+ Ways to Keep Kids Busy
  12. 12. square, triangle, and Children may use any• Easter bonnet number of hearts to form• Clock face them back in where they shapes of their favorite• Rhythm instrument belong—a great activity for animals. Some animals• Christmas mail box eye-hand coordination as may be placed in cages to• Turtle well as identifying shapes. provide a zoo-like back-• Banjo ground. Scrap materials may be used to add fea-• Teddy bear tures to each animal.• Match and tell (object Fun With Plants• Man What to use for planters:• Elephant • milk cartons—they can• ABC clock be cut to various sizes• Sad-glad Raggedy Ann • juice or other cans—• Rabbit make sure there are no• Owl sharp edges• Clown • pie or cake pans• Angel contact paper shapes, and • plastic containers• Read-a-book caterpillar letters are other materials • paper or styrofoam cups used for teaching through • cottage cheese or yogurtWhat Shape Is It? the sense of touch and containers1. Glue various coloredpaper shapes (circles,triangles, squares, and rect-large plastic container. See a pencil, string, and paperhow many shapes a child clips. Children can prac-can identify. tice shapes, colors, let- ters, numbers, and words2. Cut shapes out of the through this game.sides of a plastic bottle orshoe box. Cut the same Valentine Animals What kind of soil:shapes from paper. Have What you need: You can buy potting soil inthe children sort paper construction paper a store or you can use topshapes by putting them paste or glue soil and peat moss mixedthrough the correct open- scrap materials in equal amounts. Regularing in the bottle or box. safety scissors outdoor garden soil may not be able to hold mois-3. For a matching game, What you do: ture, so be careful thatuse egg cartons. Cut shapes This is a good activity after you use soil that will helpout of stiff paper or felt. a trip to the zoo, reading plants grow.Glue one of each shape in animal stories, or takinga section of the egg carton. care of favorite pets. What you need:The children can match the cotton, yarn, sandpaper or felt shapes with Get children to discuss newspaper or paper towelthe ones in the egg carton. their favorite animals water or something they have containers4. Make puzzles from learned about animals. seedscereal boxes or old greet-ing cards. Cut out a circle,12 101+ Ways to Keep Kids Busy
  13. 13. What and how to plant: paper or plastic strawsFor rapid growth try grass in various lengths. Haveseeds. Lettuce grows the children cut variousquickly, but does not do sizes of triangles from thewell in hot sun. Bean colored paper or cut andseeds grow fast and tall. Broiler Sandwiches color white paper. Glue theThey can be grown in For something different, triangles to the straws andmoist cotton, yarn, a paper broil or bake open-faced the straws to the bottomtowel, or a piece of news- sandwiches. The children of the boats. The childrenpaper. Once the plants have can help put them together. may want to paint or colorsprouted, they will need the cardboard tube beforeto be replanted in soil in a Some ideas: the sails are glued to thecontainer. Water when dry, • Peanut butter and honey boat. You may also wantbut not too much. • Cold cuts, cheese, and to glue a half circle to each tomato end of the tube.Carrot, beet, and pineapple • Cheese, olive, and crisptops can be placed in a bacon Busy Boxes andshallow container of water • Cheese in cookie cutter Busy Bags (helpingto grow. Let them stand a shapes children be creative)few days after cutting be- “What can I do?” is afore placing in water. It is The children can arrange question every caregiver the ingredients on the and parent has often heard.to grow in dirt. bread. Actually, children can do lots of things at little cost ifShake a Pudding You do the next part. Bake simple, everyday items—1. Pour 1 cup milk and a or broil the sandwiches even pieces of junk that3-ounce package of instant in the oven. Cool before usually get tossed away—pudding mix into a jar. serving. are available to them.2. Put jar top on very tight.3. Hold with two hands and Encourage children to A great idea is to divideshake. clean up work area and collections of such odds4. Pour into bowls. table after eating. They and ends into “busy boxes” learn important self-help or “busy bags.” For exam-Tasting Party skills and cooperation from ple, children of all ages areTaste different cheeses these kinds of activities. delighted with a containerby having a tasting party. of:Include two or three differ- Cardboard Boatsent kinds of cheese such as What you need: • odds and ends of coloredMozzarella, Brick, Swiss, cardboard tubes from paper paperor Edam. towels, wax paper, toilet • old greeting cards paper, etc. • pipe cleanersLet the children taste each glue • cottonone, comparing color, taste, straws • stringand appearance. “Swiss scraps of colored paper • cardboard rolls fromcheese has holes.” “Moz- paints, crayons kitchen or bathroomzarella is white.” “Cheddar safety scissors • tissue paperis yellow.” • wrapping paper leftovers What you do: • used ribbons and bows Cut the cardboard tubes in • cotton half lengthwise to make • paper doilies two separate boats. Cut • egg cartons 13 101+ Ways to Keep Kids Busy
  14. 14. • clean plastic meat trays bottles• several magazines pie pans• paste and glue other aluminum items• nontoxic paints• a “clean-up” cloth or Groups of caregivers and/ paper toweling -• safety scissors ful to spend some time• crayons, pencils, markers sharing ideas on: small empty bottles andEvery box, regardless of its • what kinds of boxes to boxespurpose, should contain the provide rick-rack, ribbon, scraps of • what to put into each box fabric • how children can use sandpaperNeighbors and grandpar- each box plastic spoonsents are usually happy to old greeting cardsgive caregivers and parents A good idea is to prepare oatmeal boxestheir “junk,” making it one box in advance and, as old sockspossible for caregivers to children start using it, start nails, screws, boltsprovide busy boxes for any making another box. This brown paper bagsseason or special event: way there will always be corks, sponges, magnets one busy box or bag avail- empty shoe polish bottlesHalloween able at all times. popsicle stickssick day cardboard tubingsnow time Remember, too, that chil- strawsbirthday dren will need a place to old pots and pansMay Day work. measuring cupsrainy day rolling pinThanksgiving Some items everyone potato masher, egg beaterEaster might begin saving are: clothespinsValentine’s Day cookie cuttersplaymate day milk cartons aluminum foil pans shells magazines with color vegetable and juice cansEven a box for: pictures pizza cardboards dress-up clothescooking yarn old clock that tickspainting buttons wallpaper scrapsdress-up stringclaysewing coffee cans and lidscardboard sculpturing baby food jars and lidstracing and coloring (Due to choking hazards,assorted blocks the busy box activity is not intended for children under three years of age.) Bead Strings What you need: safety scissors paints string or yarn cardboard tubes (from14 101+ Ways to Keep Kids Busy
  15. 15. paper towel or toilet paper cut a “face” from a slice of bread (savelarge macaroni the cut-away bread toWhat to do: can be cut into shapesCut cardboard tubes into with cookie cutters orvarious lengths. Have the into triangles, squareschildren paint the tubes and or rectangles. Thenmacaroni. When dry, they spread on peanut but-can string their cardboard ter or cheese spreadtube and macaroni “beads” and decorate. Older chil- Filling:on the string or yarn. (Due dren can squirt designsto choking hazards, this with softened cheese tuna OR 3 hard-cookedactivity is not intended for spread from a pastry tube eggschildren under three years onto the bread. 2 tbsp. mayonnaiseof age.) chopped olives, celery, or Decorations:Bead String Games Carrot curls, apple slices, salt and pepperSequencing and color raisins, banana slices,matching games can be cheese squares and tri- Children can peel eggs,played using the strings of angles, pickle and olive chop ingredients with abeads. slices, slices of cucumber, blunt knife, mix them or radishes. together, and spread on bread to make a sandwich.those on the home-made What’s for Snack? Encourage them to cleanbeads, draw color patterns Let the children plan up when done.on pieces of cardboard, snack. Make a chart of thefor instance, red, red-blue, days of the week. Write in Story Timeblue, etc. Have the children the name of the snack and Children love to listen tomake the same pattern with add a picture of the snack. stories and talk about them.their beads on their string. You might want to give the It is important to read toSome children may want to children a few approved children every day.draw their own patterns on choices or you make thethe cardboard to make their choices and the children Your local library is a goodown games. select the days. Then refer source for books. If pos- to your week’s calendar/ sible, take the children toThe children can also chart to help the children visit the library. They canmake necklaces, bracelets develop time concepts and choose books to read. Theand other jewelry. Keep reading skills. children’s librarian canthe beads and strings inboxes or storage cans. (Due Make a Sandwich right for their age. Someto choking hazards, this Filling children will be able toactivity is not intended for When a young child pre- choose their own books.children under three years pares a simple sandwichof age.) Give the children a chance to look at books, turn pag-Design a Sandwich Plan ahead and organize es, and look at the pictures.Instead of plain old peanut Measure ingredients Older children can readbutter and jelly, let children See different forms of food to younger children. Afterdecorate their sandwiches. Make something good you read a story, talk about Clean up after himself it with the children. 15 101+ Ways to Keep Kids Busy
  16. 16. End the Story talk about their drawings Encourage GoodRead part of a story and with the other children. Snack Habitsask the children to make Children need regularup their own ending. They Let’s Pretend snacks and meals each day.may want to develop new Have some of the children Serve nutritious snackscharacters and places and act out a familiar story with the same routines aseven combine another story that you have read. If they mealtimes. Have the chil-they know. You may want really like the story, they dren sit down to eat, not eatto make up a story and let may want to make masks, on the run. (Eating on thethe children give it a new or if a dress-up corner is run is not healthy or safeending. available, dress up like some of the characters. meal and snack times to in-After Reading a troduce new foods. NeverStory, Ask Questions Pack a Snack make a snack a reward forHave the children talk good behavior.about the sequence of the along a simple snack, such - as orange juice and celery Pretend You Areduce new words, ideas, or sticks. Take along an old Popcornan activity. Some children sheet or light blanket for a Children like creativemight like to bring a book place to sit while they are movements. First pretendfrom home and share it eating their snacks. they are little kernels ofwith the other children. corn. Then they begin to Television Can Be sizzle, sizzle, and thenAdd a Story More Fun POP! They jump up asBegin a story and let each larger pieces of popcorn.child add to the story. activities for television The next step is to be a saltWatch how ideas, charac- programs that the children shaker or melted butter.ters, and places change. watch. Ask them: “WhatThis helps children develop would you do if you werecreativity, improves their in that television pro-ability to use oral language, gram?” Some children mayand learn to cooperate with want to pretend that theyothers. are on television when act- ing out a story.Draw a StoryGive each child paper, Eat a Snack Youcrayons, paints, markers, Have Read Aboutor pencils. Let the children Plan snacks that relate todraw some of the scenes books the children enjoy. Fruit and Vegetable Displayand characters they liked in Blue Berries For Sal— Set up an interestingthe story. Ask children to display for children to Stone Soup—vegetable explore. soup Little Red Hen—bread and On a low table, shelf, butter Bread and Jam for up a display of some fruits Frances—bread and jam and vegetables with a com- mon theme. Print a sign telling how they are alike.16 101+ Ways to Keep Kids Busy
  17. 17. All of these are red on the to make a stick puppet. The or put on a play. They canoutside: children can make these in cut pictures out of maga-tomatoes different sizes and shapes. zines and glue these to theapples sticks. Yarn or crayonsradishes Fabric scraps can be used can be used to make hair.beets to make costumes for the Paints or crayons can be puppets. used to create many differ- ent kinds of puppets. Play Restaurant Make your own props or Stage for Finger visit a restaurant or fast Puppet Play food store and ask for cups, Large cardboard boxes empty boxes, hats, bags, make excellent stages for menus, and other items. Set these up so the children can plays after creating their pretend to be customers or puppets. Cut a sectionAll of these grew under the restaurant workers. out of the bottom so thatground: children can reach throughpotatoes Scrambled Eggs with their puppets. Theyradishes Crack open an egg, put it in can make curtains or othercarrots a bowl, and pass it around decorations for the front ofbeets for everyone to see. Then the “stage.” If you do not crack open 5 or 6 eggs, add have a cardboard box, anyAll of these are apples: salt and pepper, and beat.red apple Cook in an electric skil-green apple let. Compare the raw eggyellow apple and the scrambled eggs. song the children like, they Talk about what you did to can make puppets to useAll of these are potatoes: make them different. Taste when singing or perform-Idaho potato the scrambled eggs. (Neverred potato taste or eat raw eggs.)sweet potato Finger Puppetsnew potato Stick Puppets Materials: draw a face on one or morePaper Bags for stickPuppets and Masks pencil to use only materials thatSmall paper bags can be straw wash off easily.used to make hand pup- paperpets. The children can draw safety scissors Tape a piece of paperfaces on them or glue on paints and crayonsscraps of paper to make strip of heavy cardboard The children can draw adifferent puppets. small strips of wood face on the paper and have ruler the puppets talk to eachLarger paper bags can be other. cardboardused to make masks. The gluebag can be cut and deco- Fingers from old glovesrated in many ways. Children can draw a face, can be cut and decorated to create slip-on puppets.Fill a paper bag with news- People or animals can and glue it on a stick. Theypaper. Tie the open end “come alive” with a child’s can make more than onearound a stick with string imagination. and use them to tell a story 17 101+ Ways to Keep Kids Busy
  18. 18. Various shapes and sizes What you do: to secure the stocking andof heavy cardboard can Cut rings from heavy cover with tape. Electri-also be used. Two holes for cardboard. Let the children cal or masking tape works paint them. An empty soda best. can or a stick placed a fewlegs. This is an activity feet away can be used as a Give the children light-that older children may target for ring toss games. weight bean bags, sponges,enjoy doing with younger Some children might want or lightweight balls to hitchildren who are not able to make their own games back and forth with theirto use scissors to cut the and rules. rackets. Remove the stock-cardboard. ing from the hanger and More Ring Toss and use it for hoop games. It Bean Bag Activities can be hung from a tree Save empty milk cartons to make a moving target, for the children to decorate held by a child from any and use for either the ring distance, or hung like a toss or bean bag games. basketball hoop. If a child Make various sizes of rings holds the hoop, be sure that for different size targets. it is at arm-length and that The ring should be 2 to the object to be thrown is 3 inches larger than the soft and does not have anyNature Walk target. Milk cartons can jagged edges.Plan a nature walk. Have also be used as targetsthe children talk about for bean bag games. The Like the ring toss and beanwhat they might see. Give children can throw the bags bag games, children caneach child a bag and have into the cartons. Cartons make their own rules andthem collect interesting can be stacked in various games. These games canitems, such as small rocks, heights and knocked down be made out of many itemsleaves, pine cones, or by throwing the bean bags. that you might normallysticks. When they return Encourage children to de- throw out. If you do nothome, have them talk about velop their own games and have the items handy,what they collected. They rules. Activities like these ask parents to bring somecan glue some of the items are fun for many children, things from home.to a piece of cardboard or including older ones.put the items in a shoe box. Cardboard HousesA nature walk is a good Racket and Hoop and Villagestime to talk about outdoor Games Cardboard boxes of allsafety. Bend the hook of a wire sizes allow children almost clothes hanger so that it limitless play activitiesRing Toss, Bean makes a small circle. Tape and experiences. SmallBag, Racket and the end so that it does not boxes can become cars,Hoop Games hurt the hand. Shape the trains, boats, the beginningWhat you need: body of the hanger into a of a house or some otherheavy cardboard large circle or oval. Slip building. Larger boxes maysafety scissors a nylon stocking over the be available by contact-paint and brushes body of the hanger until it ing a local appliance ormilk cartons - department store. Thesebean bags ing surface is going to be boxes can be used to makeclothes hanger used to hit small light ob- a house. More than onetape jects it must be as tight as box can be used to make anylon stocking village. Make sure that all18 101+ Ways to Keep Kids Busy
  19. 19. sharp objects like staples a gift. Rock painting is an remind the children thatand wood are removed be- activity for all ages. Give some toys will be ruined iffore children begin to play. it a try. used in the sand. Try mak-You can cut windows and ing some sand toys. Cutdoors. The children will Outside Water Play a large plastic milk jug inlove to paint them. The warm summer months half. Put tape on any rough are great for outside water edges. Half can be usedThe only thing that makes - as a funnel and half as acardboard a short-term play kler for children to run bucket.item is the weather. Rain through the spray. Childrenwill reduce the boxes to pa- must be closely supervised Children enjoy wet sand. Aper in a matter of minutes, at all times around water. variety of sizes and shapesbut children will enjoy Children usually love to of plastic containers canthem while they last. If the play in the water, but some be used to make wet sandrain does damage the play children may not want to molds.house, don’t pass up an op- get wet. Remember to planportunity to talk about the all activities with the chil-changes in the cardboard dren in mind. If one childand how it happened. You does not want to play in thecan help the children dis- water, try to plan anotherpose of the cardboard after activity for him to enjoy. Forcing or embarrassingwith it. children to participate will create more fear and breakLet’s Make a Tent down the trusting relation- ship you are trying to build Sand Boxes or Sandto make tents. Hang some with the children in your Pilesclothesline or thin rope care. You do not need to buybetween two poles or trees. a sand box for sand play.Secure the bottom withsmall sticks or rocks. If you makes a great sand box.use old sheets or blankets, If you are able to buy orthe children can draw or get some lumber, you cancut holes for windows. make a box to hold sand.Tents can be used for many You can also dig a shal-different play activities. low hole that sand can be dumped in. These “sandPainting Rocks box” ideas will help youSmooth rocks provide and the children keep thea good surface for the sand in one area and makechildren to create a picture it last longer. Be sure tousing tempera paint. After have a protective cover forthe children complete their your sand box.picture, older children or - Set rules before children Sand Toysgernail polish to protect the play in the sand area. Make Plastic and woodenpainting as well as to give sure the rules you set are spoons, pots and pans, realistic for the age of the metal spoons, and manyThe painted rock can be children. Not throwing inside toys can be used forused as a paperweight for sand is very realistic and playing in sand. You can 19 101+ Ways to Keep Kids Busy
  20. 20. important. Most children children begin to under- months of the year, days ofcan understand this rule. stand larger numbers. the week, and numbers. AHowever, telling children record of the weather cannot to get their hands dirty Number Puzzles be kept by having smallor sand in their clothes What you need: symbols represent weatheris not realistic; most of stiff cardboard conditions: a sun, raindrop,the time it is impossible. safety scissorsHands and clothes can be marker etc.washed after sand play. ruler Winter MobileCatch the Rabbit What you do: An easy-to-make mobile“1-2-3-4-5.” Cut the cardboard into can be fashioned by bend- squares or rectangles—all ing up the ends of a coathand) - hanger. The children can“I caught a rabbit alive.” er to write a large number make a variety of things“6-7-8-9-10.” on each piece of cardboard. to be hung by string or For the number 1, you will ribbons, like a snowman,hand) not do any cutting. For all“I let it go again.” the other numbers, use a snow shovel. Pictures of“Why did you let it go?” ruler to divide the card- winter scenes can be cut board into sections. For from magazines, pastedso.” example, there should be on construction paper, and 2 sections for the number hung on the mobile.“The little one on my 2, 3 for number 3, etc.right.” This activity will help the Dress Yourself for children understand the Winterright hand) number and allow them to Have the children lie on a count pieces of the puzzle large piece of paper such asNumber Walk that equal that number. wrapping paper. Draw anA walk around the neigh- outline around each child’sborhood can be a fun time A Calendar for All body. Let each child dressto use numbers. Children Seasons himself or herself for win-can count houses, cars, Make a large piece of card- ter, using crayons or paintstrees, people ... almost board into a calendar. Paint to draw what to wear. Re-anything. or cover the cardboard with mind children that we need paper and mark it off as to dress warmly, whichNumber Footsteps a calendar. Numbers can means wearing hats, glovesWhat you need: be made or cut out of an or mittens, boots, etc.cardboard older calendar and pinnedmarker or taped on day by day. Shape Snowmensafety scissors This is an excellent way What you need: for children to learn the white and colored paperWhat you do: safety scissorsTrace children’s footprints glueon the cardboard and cut crayons or markersthem out. Number the foot-prints and arrange them What to do: - Cut circles out of the whitedren will have to follow a paper. Cut various smallsequence. You can increase squares, triangles, andthe number of footsteps as rectangles out of colored20 101+ Ways to Keep Kids Busy
  21. 21. paper. Glue circles to paper paper chains. They make Pencil Holderto make snowmen. Make a colorful decoration for Glue a paper cup to a piecefaces, hats, and scarves a holiday or special occa- of wood. Paint and thenfrom the other shapes. sion. decorate with small bits of wrapping paper or smallThis is a good activity for Paper Mache pictures from old greetingchildren to practice cutting. What you need: cards.They can review shapes, newspapercolors, and talk about size. wallpaper paste or home- Cornstarch Clay made paste What you need:3-D Trees 1 cup cornstarchWhat you need: What to do: 2 cups salttree pattern Tear the newspaper into 1-1/2 cups cold watergreen construction paper strips and soak in a con-pencil tainer of water for 24 mixing bowlsafety scissors hours.glue What you do:cotton balls, glitter, paper Mash the paper into a Put salt, food coloring, and scraps pulpy mass and squeeze 2/3 cup of water in a sauce- out excess water. Mix with pan and boil. Mix the corn-What to do: paste. This mixture can be starch and the remainingFold paper in half. Trace molded into a variety of water and stir well. Put theand cut evergreen shapes objects. The children can two mixtures together andout of paper. You will need paint their paper mache knead like bread dough. The objects after they are com- pletely dry. by the children like regular clay. Store in a covered Homemade paste container in the refrigera- tor. The children can mold with 1 pint water and boil different objects and paint until consistency of heavy them after they have dried. cream. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and mix. Play Dough What you need: Candle Holder To make a candleholder, 1/2 cup saltthree shapes for each tree. glue small pieces of 1/2 cup waterGlue two of the tree shapes colored paper to a bottle. 1/4 cup vegetable oil ortogether on one side only. Another idea is to mix a few drops of liquidDo the same with the third Elmer’s glue with a little detergenttree shape. You will now water, dip construction pa-have a 3-D tree that will per or tissue paper into thestand up. Glue pieces of mixture, and stick it to the What you do:cotton or other trims to bottle. Or tear bits of mask-decorate trees. ing tape and put them on Add the water, oil (or de- the bottle. Paint or use shoePaper Chains polish to add color. For a Knead the mixture as if itCut strips of colored paper. were bread dough. Store inThe children can glue these mixture of clear craft glue a covered container or intogether in circles to make mixed with a little water. a plastic bag in the refrig- erator. 21 101+ Ways to Keep Kids Busy
  22. 22. The children can make touching the potato. The an avocado tree. To encour-objects and allow them to potato will start to vine in age full growth you mayharden. Beads are easy to 2 to 3 weeks. Some people want to “pinch” the mainmake and can be strung on have been able to plant the shoot when it is about 6a string or yarn. Roll into potato vine in soil and have inches tall.any size of ball or other the plant grow.desired shape. Before themixture hardens, poke a Avocado plantshole through the middle Starting an avocado plantwith a nail, knitting needle, is very similar to startingor other slim object. When a potato. Be careful whenthe beads harden, the chil- you peel the avocado sodren can paint and string that you do not damage thethem. pit. Allow the pit to “rest” for a few days before put-Sawdust Clay ting into water. The fatWhat you need: part of the pit is the bottom2 cups sawdust and this should be resting in water. This is done by1 cup salt water, as needed putting toothpicks around the middle of the pit. MakeWhat you do: sure that the bottom is theMix the dry materials only part in water. Rootstogether. Add water until will start to form in a fewthe mixture is moist, but weeks and then the pit cannot wet. This clay dries be placed in soil. Makevery hard and is good for sure the soil is appropriatemodeling and painting. for plants. Potting soil is best. Place the bottom halfPotatoes and of the pit in the soil. WaterAvocado Pits lightly and keep moist, butPotatoes and the pits of not wet. In a month youavocados can be rooted will have the beginning ofin water and then planted.Both make nice houseplants.Potato plantsSelect a potato with eyes.One that has begun to de-velop shoots is best. If youhave a narrow neck glasswater and rest the potato onthe neck of the jar. If youdo not have a narrow neckjar, put toothpicks in thedo—and rest the toothpickson the top of the jar. Makesure that water is always22 101+ Ways to Keep Kids Busy
  23. 23. Good Ideas 23 101+ Ways to Keep Kids Busy
  24. 24. PROGRAM DIRECTOR James E. Van Horn PROGRAM ASSISTANT DIRECTOR Lyn C. HorningVisit Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences on the Web: www.cas.psu.eduPenn State College of Agricultural Sciences research, extension, and resident education programs arefunded in part by Pennsylvania counties, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the U.S. Depart-ment of Agriculture.Where trade names appear, no discrimination is intended, and no endorsement by Penn State Coopera-tive Extension is implied.This publication is available in alternative media on request.The Pennsylvania State University is committed to the policy that all persons shall have equal access toprograms, facilities, admission, and employment without regard to personal characteristics not relatedto ability, performance, or qualifications as determined by University policy or by state or federalauthorities. It is the policy of the University to maintain an academic and work environment free ofdiscrimination, including harassment. The Pennsylvania State University prohibits discrimination andharassment against any person because of age, ancestry, color, disability or handicap, national origin,race, religious creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or veteran status. Discrimination or harass-ment against faculty, staff, or students will not be tolerated at The Pennsylvania State University. Directall inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination policy to the Affirmative Action Director, The Pennsyl-vania State University, 328 Boucke Building, University Park, PA 16802-5901; Tel 814-865-4700/V,814-863-1150/TTY.© The Pennsylvania State University 2006Produced by Information and Communication Technologies in the College of Agricultural SciencesCODE # UA229 rev20M11/06cdt4526 COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES COOPERATIVE EXTENSION