Alrighty- here they are folks!
- Hit the dollar store for some great items to add to the playdoh playthings: combs, hair rollers (minus the spongy part), cookie dough scoops, ribbon (I know it gets messy – but my kids LOVE it in the playdoh for some reason), popsicle sticks, wooden kabob sticks, toothpicks, straws, army men, plastic snakes/frogs/reptiles, measuring cups and spoons, paper cups, etc….
- Using butcher paper and masking tape, cover the surface of your coffee table. Let the kids have at it with markers (they can’t draw off the paper this way!- which is a common problem at our house when it comes to markers), stickers (try foam ones or the super CHEAP ones from Walmart that come 1000 at a time), self inking stamps (Oriental Trading Company -team up with another mom and split an order to get some variety), or ????. My kids LOVE this one. We usually get about 30-40 minutes of total devotion to decorating that tabletop. :-)
- Make some Peanut Butter Playdough, just be sure it’s far enough away from a mealtime so they aren’t full when it’s time to eat real food. :-)
- Use sidewalk chalk, under a back patio or awning when it’s raining, and try one of the following: hopscotch, letter/name/word recognition, draw out different shapes or items and then play “Mama says” (ie: “Mama says: stand on a square!” or “Mama says: hop over to something drawn in orange!”).
- “Paint” animals. My kids are addicted to painting their plastic animals with a clean paintbrush and a small cup of water. I give them each a towel and they have a great time painting and drying the animals over and over again.
- Give the kids each their own large bowl, washcloth, and let them “wash” their favorite baby doll or stuffed animal. It’s a hit around here and it gives me a chance to teach them about how to properly bathe one’s body too… :-)
- Dye some pasta noodles for one day’s activity, then use them to decorate picture frames for their art (use the rim of a paper plate for the ‘frame’) or string them on yarn for another day’s activity. We dye a bunch of pasta (several different shapes…and several different colors) at once and store it to use over several different activities.
- Thin out some water based paint using water (tempera paint works well) and place a small amount on a paper plate. Give your child a straw and let them push the paint around the plate by blowing air through the straw. It makes fun art….and it’s inexpensive to do over and over again!
- Let them paint using strange items instead of brushes. For example: pieces of potato, q-tips, cotton balls, chunks of sponges or kitchen scrubbers….
- Give them headlamps or flashlights and turn off the lights and close the curtains. Enough said. :-)