My Facebook and Instagram feeds are filling up with adorable pictures of preschoolers graduating, end of year field trips, and field day shenanigans. School is out and that means the days are about to get really long. You may sign your kids up for camps or have lots of travel planned but there will always be that day you have nothing planned and you always need a plan. Kids can smell oncoming chaos from a mile away. All it takes to send your home spinning into total anarchy is the distraction of one little phone call. Indeed, summer is upon us so let’s get prepared with a few activities with a minimal set up to occupy your littles for at least 2 minutes, 30 seconds at a time.
I’m not one of those moms that has a lot of great Pinterest-worthy developmental activities for preschoolers in my back pocket. Murphy Jr’s Law states that the more time and energy you spend preparing an activity the more repelled your kid will be from said activity. So here are my top five go to activities when my kids need a little organization…
- Tub Full of Dried Macaroni - Our Sunday school teacher turned me on to this. She said my daughter spent a lot of time one Sunday morning just rolling the macaroni around in the bucket. $3 bucket from Target + $5 worth of macaroni from the grocery store + a couple of measuring cups I grabbed out of my kitchen = best $8 ever spent. Both of my kids spend an unusual amount of calm time just rolling their hands through the macaroni and pouring it from one cup to the other. I think this is the kid version of the desktop zen garden.
- Tub Full of Water- In my experience, there is no need to haul out the big guns (baby pool, sprinkler, water table) when it comes to water. Kids adore the stuff as long as it is not washing their hair so you can get away with a pretty minimal set up. If I need to be multitasking on the main floor of the house then I just let the kids have a tub on the back porch but if we can get it together to haul everything out on the driveway then we take our little water show out there.
- Cooking - I know this “idea” pops up on every wellness kid list out there. I’m not here to say that if my kid cooks it then he will eat it (cause he won’t) but I will say he enjoys being a part of the process. He may not be learning to eat his vegetables while cooking with me but I’m pretty sure he is laying down some foundational math skills while scooping various volumes and counting the number of tablespoons. His sister is trying to join in the cooking fun now so there are extra credit lessons on taking turns taking place as well.
- House Chores - Are the kids good at chores? No. Do I have to go back over everything? Yes. But is it cute and slightly helpful to have a little baby Roomba bumping around the kitchen? Totally. It does not have to be some big plan in the day to get a little extra vacuuming in. If my kids are getting a little sideways, I just pull out the cordless vac and let them have at it. I also keep a spray bottle with a water and vinegar mixture for cleaning and my son loves to get a rag and just go around spraying and wiping. Can’t hurt, right!? Good clean fun.
- Quilt Fort - You saw this one coming, right? I know I do not have to explain the value of a quilt fort but think back to childhood. How giddy did you feel to get inside your very own handcrafted shelter? Quilt fort construction is a multilayered activity…first you build, then you have your little housewarming party, then you read a book in it, then (if your mom is brave enough) have a picnic lunch in it. A good quilt fort could take the better part of a morning to enjoy. If you do not have the proper building materials, get in touch with me and we can get you set up ASAP.
We all need a big list of activities to get us through the summer so let's swap! Leave your favorite tips in the comments for me and all of the other moms, dads, and babysitters to enjoy!