10 Activities That Take No Time To Prep
I started a vlog! Technically it's my original YouTube channel that's been sitting dormant for quite a while. I changed the name (to BethanyKingVlog) and I plan on sharing videos there, at least twice a week. I'd love if you subscribed.
Here's my first activity video! (Below the video, I have outlined the activities and included more details for each one.)
If you keep stickers on hand at all times, this is a quick activity to throw together. It encourages fine motor skills and a bit of creativity. If you want to go the extra mile, draw some circles on the paper so that your child can "aim" the sticker (place it inside of a circle).
COTTON BALL TRANSFER
Technically this can be done with lots of things (here's my post on transferring activities). But cotton balls are often found in the medicine cabinet. And I used a cup, bowl, and spoon to direct the activity. You can use tongs or tweezers, two cups, two bowls.... there are a lot of possibilities, but the nice thing is that it only takes a minute to put together.
PASTA IN A SHAKER
I used a spice shaker (or maybe it's for dusting) and some angel hair pasta. Break the pasta into small pieces and your child is very likely to figure out what to do! It's easier with this particular shaker because there are so many tiny holes to choose from. Something with fewer holes would be trickier, as would something that is larger than angel hair pasta.
So easy to throw together, and don't underestimate your child's ability to pour! Sure you'll have a little spillage here and there, but that's what makes it fun. (And it's just water, so it'll clean up easy!) If you've got cups with a spout, that's best. Make sure the cup is not too heavy; otherwise it's very tricky to tilt when you're only 3 feet tall, and your grip isn't quite strong enough yet.
I've got several sets of wooden letters. I grabbed a handful of letters (you could use more or fewer) then I wrote the same letters onto a sheet of paper. I wrote lowercase letters on the paper, but you could use whatever you think would work best. You could also use colored blocks and use colored markers to draw circles on the paper. Then your child can match colors instead of letters. (Or do the same with numbers... or shapes... whatever fits your child's interests!)
SHAVING CREAM BEAD HUNT
Find some beads (or coins, or dried beans, or anything that's small and firm). Spray some shaving cream into a plastic bag, toss in the beads, release the air, and seal the bag. It's sort of a "feelie bag" where your child has to hunt for the beads, through the shaving cream! It can also be relaxing just to press and move the shaving cream around inside the bag.
OBJECT MATCHING PUZZLE
I love these! You can find any objects just lying around, trace them onto some paper, and then give the paper + objects to your child. Easy!
Every time I hide objects for Alexander (even if they're hidden in plain sight), he finds them, hides them, finds them, hides them, and so on. He can do this for at least 30 minutes, sometimes much longer. So find some trains, or blocks, or balls, or whatever(!), hide them in plain sight, and tell your child to go find them. If your baby is younger, hide them just a few feet away, in very obvious places. If your child is older, you can obviously hide them in trickier spots. Keeping the number to 5 or 10 makes it easy to keep track of them.
PIPE CLEANER THREADING
A simple activity that requires great concentration! All you need is a straw and a pipe cleaner. I cut the straw into pieces. You can also cut the pipe cleaner. You can even have 3 colors of each and then thread by color. If your child is able, you can thread beads onto pipe cleaners as well. And if they're even more able, you could use straw pieces and yarn instead of a pipe cleaner. A pipe cleaner is just sturdy enough that it can easily go through a piece of straw, but it's still flexible so it doesn't become frustrating.
I know this is a bit of a cop-out as an activity, but honestly, we have 15 nesting dolls in our house. Many are nice, wooden ones, and some are just silly (like the robot one in the video). If your child is younger, I'd just have one large and one small and set the other dolls aside. If your child is older, use all the dolls. Don't guide too much; when Alexander first started, he simply put the separate dolls together. Now that he's older he will usually nest them (often forgetting a doll altogether, but that's okay). It's a tricky skill called size discrimination. A nesting doll is size discrimination + some gross motor skills.