Thursday, January 6, 2011

Staying Alive With Preschoolers

It's January.  Which for those of us who live in Northern Climes, the month that NEVER ends.


I think last January was 392 days long.

I have absolutely no scientific data to back this up, but I would venture a guess that this is the month that causes many a SAHM to pack it in and go back to work.

We are almost at the end of it.  Sprout starts Kindergarten in the fall.  I go back to work.  (I have no idea what I will be doing but it will be something part time.)  But I thought I would share with you all some of the things that got us through this month in the past.  Feel free to leave your killer suggestions in the comments.

Rice table.  I spread an old table cloth on the floor, fill a tub with rice and hand the kids a bunch of spoons, sieves, cars and what not and let them go to town.  It is messy, you will get rice on the floor, but it does kill at least an hour.

Baking.  My kids have done this so much that they pretty much can make muffins by themselves with me just supervising the cracking of the eggs and reading the directions.  We always have baked good in the freezer this way, it takes up time and it teaches them all kinds of useful skills like sneaking dough when mommy isn't looking, how to fish eggshells out of dough and how best to removed dough from cupboards when flung there by bored 2 year olds.

Painting With Water.  This is the red neck version of aqua doodle.  I give my kids a container of water, large sheets of construction paper and a paint brush.  It is a bit frightening how much my kids enjoyed this.  It's a sure sign we need to get them out more often.

Cutting:  The boys have spent HOURS and HOURS cutting pictures of of magazines and saving them for goodness knows what.  They also used to enjoy cutting things out and them gluing them into pretend houses drawn on large sheets of paper.  According to my kids, the best use of kitchen space is often a leafblower or a motor bike.

Penny drop.  To help my kids with their fine motor skills I cut a small slot in the top of a clean yogurt container and they had to pick up pennies with one hand and drop them in the container.  This also was a surprise hit.  If they grow up to be surgeons I'd like the credit for their killer dexterity.  I'd also like a bit of their money.

Obstacle Courses:  Our living room was often transformed into an obstacle course.  There was jumping (over wooden spoons) bouncing (over couch cushions) throwing (bean bags into empty garbage bins) and crawling (under a broom suspended by two chairs.)  It was great for gross motor and lots of fun.

Ice melt:  I fill a Styrofoam cup with a bit of water, and stick in an old plastic toy.  Then I freeze it and then give it to the boys to work together to melt and free the toy.  This is cold, but lots of fun.  The boys had a blast coming up with all the ways the warm the ice up faster.

We've also done sidewalk chalk in the unfinished basement, used washable markers on our windows, played clothespin games, painted till our arms fell off, taken long bubble baths in the middle of the day and made crafts by the pound.

What about you?  How do you get through January?


a Tonggu Momma said...

We watch the Food Network. *grin*

We also used to have the Tongginator wash her plastic toys such as play dishes at the sink. She loves playing in the sudsy water and it disinfects a bit.

We play card and board games. Which used to make Momma bored, but now that she is older it can be quite entertaining.

Audio books with storybook in hand.

LOVE your ideas - I'm saving them for this next go-around.

Nicole said...

Wait, wait, wait. You're going back to work??? Wow! Congratulations!

Those are all good ideas. I also let my kids take digital pictures of things around the house. Very amusing to see what they will do for the camera. Trouble is, they need to be old enough to be trusted not to smash the camera. Important point.

granola_granny said...

Building forts was always a hit at our house. The kids would construct their fort (often with couch cushions and blankets) and then empty all the tins out of the pantry stocking it. Having the kids clean up also takes up a good chunk of time.
Our kids may have been unique because they loved it when I brought out the beach clothes and towels and let them pretend they were at the beach in the dead of January.

JCK said...

What about telling them to go outside and locking the door? Oh, yeah...can't do that in January where you are. Oh, to go with your sure fire winners!

Happy New Year, Happy Geek! I hope 2011 is full of wonder and good things for you.

momofthecrazies said...

Duct tape for the kids and lots of coffee for the mommy.

Anonymous said...

Trust me your children are spoiled. When I was young if we would of done one of those activities in any given year we would have been blessed. You are a wonderful mother & your children probly don't know it. Wow & now you are thinking of returning to the work force. ? Are you nuts? I will stay home as long as I can.