Download these ideas as a PDF for you to keep!
The thing I have found raising young boys is they rarely like to sit still!
Today I have put together some of our tried and tested activities that have helped keep them amused (and me sane!) over the years.
This one is still a hit in our house. You can vary the 'ingredients' depending on the age of your child (and how much mess you can deal with!)
You will need:
- A jar (or container)
- Mixing Bowl and spoon
- Ingredients (you can use anything in the pantry, we have used water coloured with food colouring, sultanas, oats, small pieces of fruit, breakfast cereal, whatever you have in the cupboard)
- Smaller containers/dish
Use the smaller containers to measure out the different ingredients into smaller amounts (so you have some food left in the house at the end)
You can make up some jars/jugs of coloured water using food colouring or just use tap water.
Let your child choose and mix combinations of ingredients together in the mixing bowl, or use this as a counting activity by saying add 10 sultanas etc.
Depending on the age of your child you can mix straight into the jar or use a mixing bowl then pour the mixture into the jar to finish the potion.
- Keep the mess down for younger children and just add some dry pasta to a bowl with a whisk.
You can also do this activity outside with natural ingredients such as sand, flowers, grass, leaves etc. mixed into water.
Anything with paper and pen has always been a struggle in our house! But by tailoring the project to their interests I have got them to sit and draw!
Ideas that have worked for us:
Design and draw a race track (then race your cars around it) or for younger children you can draw the race track and they can race the pencil around it.
Drawing maps; this can be traditional style maps like an island with rivers and mountains, or go with their interests ( maps of a zoo, amusements park, construction site for example).
Design a house; tree house, military base, animal hideout, again going with their interests has worked best for us.
03. COLOUR HUNT
Go on a colour hunt - search inside or outside to find objects of each colour.
Use the colour chart below (or make your own), print it out and put it in a zip lock bag, container or bucket, whatever your have at home.
Go on a colour hunt, placing one thing of each colour into the bag until you have found them all. Use a hole punch, or tick to mark them off as your find them
My boys have always loved building and knocking down towers (and still do!) Build one with duplo, blocks, boxes, cushions, plastic cups etc.
See who can build the highest tower
Time how fast you can build it
Make a repeat pattern (blue, yellow, blue yellow)
Another favourite in our house!
Use a table, chairs, couch, bed, or any household items to make a cubby house or fort. My boys have always loved using lots of cushions for this, blankets or sheets can also be draped over chairs to made a hideout. Add some toys or books and it makes a great secret hideout to read or have a snack in.
06. MAKE YOUR OWN BOARD GAME
Draw out your own board game, or use the template on page 6, to make your own board game (you can also google board game templates to bring up lots of others).
Help your child to brainstorm ideas.
Write directions based on your child/their interests in some of the boxes to control which way the counter moves.
- Fight with (siblings name) go back 3 spaces. Meet up with (friends name) for a play go ahead 2 spaces.
- (Your pets name) gets lost go back to the start to find him/her.
- Your digger is stuck in the mud miss a turn.
- You can use TV or book characters your kids love too
DOWNLOAD THE TEMPLATE HERE
07. MAKE BELIEVE
Take yourself off to an imaginary world using old clothes, shoes, hats or other household items. Some ideas we have tried;
Put on beach clothes and go to the beach, setup an umbrella, make the sea out of a sheet or blanket, tie some string onto a broom and go fishing.
Go to the zoo, using stuffed/miniature toys as the animals
Blast into space in a chair rocket (a washing basket works well for blasting off with small children you can lift)
Make a shop, vet, hospital or post office
Be a fireman and drive the fire truck (chairs) to put out the fire (red blanket or piece of clothing)
08. PAINT THE FENCE
- Use a bucket of water and some paint brushes to paint the fence or bricks so they change colour with the water.
- Draw with chalk and 'paint it off' with the water.
- Use shaving foam in the bath to 'paint the sides of the bath' then wash it all away when your done.
09. OBSTACLE COURSE
Another long time favourite at our house!
- Use household items such as chairs and pillows to map out a course, add in rolls, hops, jumps or dance moves!
- Take it outside and use chalk to draw a line to 'balance along' or ride your trike/scooter along.
- For older children you can time laps to add some healthy competition
10. COLOURED RICE
This one can be messy and not for everyone, but this activity kept my boys busy for HOURS. They are big lovers of construction sites and just love loading and unload their trucks with rice!
- We coloured our rice but you can just use plain rice, pasta or (for less mess) little balls of Al Foil (these are boulders according to my boys)
- Spread a sheet/ picnic blanket/tablecloth out on the floor (to attempt to contain the mess!)
- Add trucks, animals, little containers, jugs or cup measures to play with
- Once finished tip the rice into a container to keep for next time (if you have any left on the sheet!
- Vacuum up the rice no longer on the sheet
TO COLOUR RICE YOURSELF
- Put 1 cup of rice is a zip lock bag
- Mix 1/2 tsp vinegar with a few drops of food colouring (the more colour you use the brighter the rice will be)
- Add the coloured vinegar to the bag of rice and close it up, rub around to colour all the rice
Spread out on a tray for a few hours to 'dry'