It’s no secret! We are all very busy!
Often I find myself just needing 10 minutes. 10 minutes to finish getting food on the table, 10 minutes to finish packing the bags to head out the door for a game, to finish a phone call for my husband, to find the ever-missing shoe, get dressed, to finish my makeup! You name it; I bet us mommas can do it in 10 minutes.
NOW…where do we find this 10 minutes without a little person tugging at your shirt, or asking 30 very cute but completely distracting questions while you’re trying to get something done?
These days plenty of us, myself included, are quick to turn on a show or hand them an Ipad.
I certainly can't knock it, because I’m so guilty, but I wanted to write out some of the alternatives that seem to work well in my house in the hopes that maybe you too can have 10 glorious minutes to finish whatever it is you’re doing while your child(ren) are engaged and learning something. We could all use a mom win, right?
So, Here are some easy prep/quick-cleanup crafts you can set your small children up with to keep them busy and get that 10 minutes you need!
Fruit Loop Color Sorting
This one is for the younger babes! Probably ages 1 to 2 1/2
You’ll need :
- Crayola Markers / Crayons
- Fruit Loops
- Use the widest part of the cup to help you make circles on the paper with the markers/crayons.
Note: You’ll want to use the colors you have in the cereal (Yellow, Orange, Red, Purple, Blue, Green)
- Grab a handful of Cereal and lay it out nearby.
- Take a second to demonstrate sorting the fruit loops into their appropriate color circles and show excitement when they are all correct.
- Dump the paper and ask them to try!
Even toddlers who don’t know the names of the colors can recognize that they are the same. Don’t underestimate your little one! This is an easy way to introduce the names of colors and help them associate. Additionally, to buy more time (once they have the sorting down), you can ask them to stack the cereal by color, making little cereal towers− if they have any left!
This one is good for children who have an awareness of their letters (ages 2.5+).
- White Paper
- White crayon
- Take your white paper and your white crayon and write some letters that your child might recognize scattered throughout the sheet (Press crayon down hard on the paper).
- Set your child up with their watercolors.
- When your child applies the paint to the paper, the letters will appear like invisible ink!
This is one I use while making dinner, and to engage my daughter. I’ll just call out some of the letters and she tells me when she finds them and what color she used. For added complexity, you can mix capitals and lowercase. If you have a child that can do three letter sight words, you can write those out and have them find phrases or their own names. Challenge them!
Number Line /Pattern Time
This one is more for preschool aged.
-Post it notes
This one is nothing fancy, I wanted to include it because I feel like we just forget that we can engage our kids with simple things!
1. Take some post its and write out numbers quickly 1-10, one number per sheet.
2. Lay them out on the table and ask your child to arrange them in order.
3. Ask them to count up, scramble them, and then ask them to count down.
Once they have that mastered, maybe talk them through evens and odd’s and have them line those up!
As they start to get it, you can increase the numbers or instead draw out some shapes (probably two of each) on the post-its and call out a pattern for them to complete. (ex: circle circle square).
Tips: Remember to show excitement at their completion so it’s always a fun challenge and never a drill! I also want to add that the Fruit Loop Sorting and Number Line/Pattern activities can be easily packed in a backpack to do while traveling with littles! If you take the watercolors on the plane you're on your own, girl.
Please comment or shoot me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you like these activities, want to see more or have any suggestions for tweaking them for older kids!