Monday, February 13, 2006

Filling the time with good things

Quilt Lesson #4 is here.

A friend recently asked me for some ideas on keeping kids busy. I have found that making sure they have something to do ( as opposed to just wandering around) helps all of us have a better day. Here are some of the things we do in our home:

Please feel free to add to my list by leaving a comment!

Just recently we started extending our school day until about 3:00 (I found this idea on a blog but I can't remember which one. If it was your blog, please speak up because you had a great list of ideas!) After all of our regular assignments and reading are done for the day I let the boys do some "unschooling". They usually end up with about an hour or more in which they can do some of the following:
-simple science experiments (look at the library for science experiment books for kids)
-drawing, writing stories, crafting etc., etc., etc. (last week they made boats out of popsicle sticks)
-researching a topic (I let them use the computer as long as they are really researching)

Here are some ideas for crafty-types:
-play-dough with cookie cutters, rollers, toothpicks, etc.
-building sets like Legos, Marbleworks or Erector sets
-craft box with felt squares, glitter, beads and string, etc. (look at the dollar store or thrift store for supplies)
-we have an end-roll of newsprint paper (buy it at your local newspaper for about $3.00) and you can cover your table or floor and let the kids draw, stamp or paint. They can also outline their bodies and draw faces and clothes or their insides (muscles, organs, bones)
-the clean-up for these things only takes about 10 minutes and I always have my boys do most (if not all) of the work

Let your kids be a part of what you are doing:
-cleaning (this will really pay off when your kids are 7 or 8 and they begin to do cleaning jobs themselves. In our house, once a kid knows how to do a task, I generally don't do it very much anymore. I know this sounds kind of bad but, really, I still stay quite busy!!!
-crafting- my daughter likes to cut and glue my excess fabric pieces and tie them onto her dolls

Every afternoon we have 1 1/2 hours of "quiet time". The kids are each in their room doing something like reading or Legos. I started this as soon as babies quit their afternoon naps. I used a play-pen or a safety gate. Start with a small amount of time (20 minutes) and work your way up to an hour or so. This is a great time to recharge in the afternoon!

Most days are imperfect but I have found that when my boys have something practical to do, they are less likely to start a wrestling match on the living room floor or run around the house screaming! They can save that for outside!!!