Have you ever heard, “give a child a box and it will provide hours of endless fun”? It’s true! Open-ended projects give children the opportunity to use their imagination, creativity and keep them interested in an activity for an extended period of time. What most parents do not realize is that your house is a toy boxes waiting to be explored by your child. Why not promote learning and exploration with real objects found in your home environment?
Here are some great activities that you can do in your home without breaking the bank:
- Pail/bucket and a real paint brush: fill a bucket with water and give your child a paint brush and have them “paint” your house or the fence.
Promotes: language and imagination
- Rock painting: look for bigger rocks and have fun painting them and putting back in the yard.
Promotes: creativity, language and fine motor
- Box art: explore different size boxes and have your child use paint, tape, markers, etc and have them create whatever they want to.
Promotes: creativity, imagination, language
- Be creativity with paint: use different sizes of paint brushes and paper. Tape paper on the floor, the window, on the fence, under the table, etc. You can also dip toy cars or golf balls in the paint and see what textures or designs they create. The key is to be creative.
Promotes: creativity, sensory (if you use your fingers or hand) and language
- Chalk: dip them in water to make the colors bolder.
Promotes: creativity, science, pre-writing skills, language
- Ice tray and tongs/kid-size tweezers (big plastic ones): put items in the ice tray and have your child use kid-size tweezers to grab them out. Ideas: cotton balls, rocks, large buttons, etc.
Promotes: sorting, fine motor, pre-math
- Pot and pans: mixing dirt or sand with water and cooking utensils.
Promotes: large and fine motor, imagination, science
- Musical Instruments: bang on pots and pans or make your own shakers.
Promotes: music, language and large motor skills
Science & Math
- Water play: use a large rectangle container or a sand/water table and get different size cups, containers, pots, etc and have let your child explore filling and emptying.
Promotes: pre-math, sensory
- More water play: fill the water table or large bin with water and put a few ice cubes to see what happens. Other items that you can use with the water: toy cars, bubbles with a sponge to clean their toys, color bath tablets, dirt, sand, etc.
Promotes: science, language, imagination, sensory
- Homemade recipes: making homemade recipes is a great way to teach basic math and science skills. Items you can make are playdough, bubbles, liquid starch slime, oobleck and bake clay
Promotes: science, math, language, fine motor, creativity
- Gardening: is a great activity to with children. Kids love to dig in the dirt and watch their plants grow. The best part is that they can eat what they grow.
Promotes: science, sensory, eating healthy, language
There are so many wonderful items in your house that promotes learning and teachable moments. The key is to be creative and have fun while exploring with your child. If you are having fun so is your child. I am a firm believer that the messier your child gets the more fun they have! So put down your phone, turn on some music and have fun explorer your “toy box” with your child.
By Jamie Brown - Former Preschool Teacher, then Director, and now Parent & Consultant for EastBayPreschools.com
Read Jamie's Bio