hands on : as we grow http://handsonaswegrow.com Hands on kids activities for hands on moms. Focusing on kids activities perfect for toddlers and preschoolers. Sat, 28 Feb 2015 14:20:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 Colored Coffee Filter Flowers for Kids to Make http://handsonaswegrow.com/watercolor-coffee-filter-flowers/ http://handsonaswegrow.com/watercolor-coffee-filter-flowers/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 02:32:58 +0000 http://handsonaswegrow.com/?p=6574 Please note that these coffee filter flowers the kids made were first shared back in April of 2012 as a Mother’s Day gift. However, I love flowers for spring, and I’m in the mood for Spring! I’m thinking of Mother’s Day and what to make for Grandma this year from the boys (My mom still has the […]

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Please note that these coffee filter flowers the kids made were first shared back in April of 2012 as a Mother’s Day gift. However, I love flowers for spring, and I’m in the mood for Spring!

I’m thinking of Mother’s Day and what to make for Grandma this year from the boys (My mom still has the tissue paper contact paper flowers we made for her last year).

Instead of using tissue paper this time, we used coffee filters to make these flowers, which opened up a lot of fun to color them!

I really only intended this to be for Henry, but George hopped right up in his chair, so I got him setup to try it, too.

With a couple ice cube trays, I put in a little bit of water with food coloring in the three primary colors. (In hopes of some color mixing to happen!)

Set up for coffee filter flowers for kids to make

I handed the boys some paintbrushes and coffee filters and let them go at it. I happily painted some coffee filters along with them.

George amazingly did a couple coffee filters with the paintbrush! I was thrilled!

Kid can paint coffee filters to make colored flowers

Henry was very slowly piddling at one coffee filter, trying his best to make green.

In the meantime, George found a new method to dye his coffee filters. And this spurred a lot of enthusiasm for the boys.

Dipping coffee filters in paint to color the flowers

George crunched up his coffee filter and shoved it into one of the ice cube sections of colored water. And pulled it out. Ta da!  Completely dyed!

Henry took off doing this as well, mixing his colors. First dipping is coffee filter in blue, and then in yellow. Of course, to make green.

Next up, was red and then blue. To make what? was my question. Purple, of course!

Kids dip coffee filters in colored water to make coffee filters flowers

This new method that George created sped up the process dramatically!

The boys dyed coffee filter after coffee filter until I had no more coffee filters. (Though I did just find a few more in my craft cupboard, shhh!)

We laid the wet dyed coffee filters out on paper towels for a day or so to dry (I think they would have been okay the next morning).

Letting coffee filters dry before making them into flowers

Dried coffee filters ready for the kids to make into flowers

And then we made flowers out of them, using pipe cleaners, that I got from CraftProjectIdeas, as stems.

It’s not really a science on how to make a coffee filter flower. I simply grabbed the middle of the coffee filter and kind of twisted. Then with the middle as a point, I tightly wrapped a pipe cleaner around to secure it in place.

I tried to get the boys (mainly Henry) involved in this process but he just wasn’t grasping it. So I did all the flower making, while Henry and George picked out each flower’s stem.

How to make coffee filter flowers

Once the pipe cleaner was on, I messed with the flowers to make them look alright (puffing them up here and there).

And arranged in a vase!

Later on, we made a yarn wrapped vase to give to Grandma too!

Colored coffee filters flowers for the kids to make!

I told you we did quite a few!

Henry has them all decided on who gets what flowers.

Colored coffee filters flowers for the kids to make!

An early Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms!

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15 of the SIMPLEST Activities Yet http://handsonaswegrow.com/15-simple-activities-kids/ http://handsonaswegrow.com/15-simple-activities-kids/#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 02:14:32 +0000 http://handsonaswegrow.com/?p=52297 I've noticed a lot of... well, complex activities lately. I can't seem to find just quick, doable and just simple activities to do with the kids.

15 of the SIMPLEST Activities Yet on handsonaswegrow.com

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I’ve noticed a lot of… well, complex activities lately. I can’t seem to find just quick, doable and just simple activities to do with the kids.

Everything that I see seems to try to outdo the last and it has escalated so high now that I don’t even want to try!

Do you ever feel like Pinterest is actually trying to stop you from being creative???

So instead, I’m going against the grain (typical me) and am trying to do really simple, easy, no-brainer activities lately. They’re often the biggest hits in our house ironically.

These may seem obvious. Or they may not. But the point is to spark us to do it our kids and to feel uplifted and good about ourselves! You can make it more complex if you like. Or maybe it will spark something else when you do it.

15 of the most simple activities to do with the kids -- easy and actually doable!

Here’s 15 of most simple activities yet.

This list of busy activities are super easy activities too!

How’s that for quick fun today?

A quick and simple challenge for you:

Which one of the simple activities will you do with your child this week?

Let me know in the comments!

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Peel Tape to Strengthen Little Fingers http://handsonaswegrow.com/peeling-tape/ http://handsonaswegrow.com/peeling-tape/#respond Tue, 24 Feb 2015 02:00:29 +0000 http://handsonaswegrow.com/?p=52156 Okay, so I use tape in a lot of activities here on hands on : as we grow, right? I love it. It’s very versatile and let’s me do a lot of things really easily (like build roads, or lines, or numbers) in minutes. But, the activities are always about something else, naturally. Not about […]

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Okay, so I use tape in a lot of activities here on hands on : as we grow, right?

I love it. It’s very versatile and let’s me do a lot of things really easily (like build roads, or lines, or numbers) in minutes.

But, the activities are always about something else, naturally. Not about the tape itself.

That’s how this activity is different.

Tape is the star of this fine motor activity.

Peel tape off the table (fine motor skills!)

I always have my kids peel the painter’s tape off the floor when we’re done using it.

I’ve always known it was great fine motor practice.

Find 30 materials that promote fine motor skills here.

This time, I didn’t use painter’s tape, but it could be used. This time, I had some colored electrical tape (affiliate link) on hand from awhile back, so I used that.

This tape activity was mostly for Louis, but George wanted to do it too because he likes ‘easy activities’ (or so he says).

I taped all over the dining room table. A section for George and a section for Louis.

I criss-crossed back and forth, making layers of tape.

Peel tape off the table (fine motor skills!)

The only object of the activity was to remove the tape from the table.

Using fine motor skills to peel it off the table.

And for George, I had him think a little to try to figure out which layer of tape was on the top to peel off first.

Peel tape off the table (fine motor skills!)

He didn’t always get it right.

Peel tape off the table (fine motor skills!)

Louis peeled them off one by one. He needed help here and there to get them started.

I gave them a little tiny start at times.

Peel tape off the table (fine motor skills!)

Do you know how much strengthening this does for little fingers?

Grabbing, pulling the tape?

I think electrical tape was a great choice for this because it kind of stretches, making it take more strength to pull off than painter’s tape would.

Peel tape off the table (fine motor skills!)

I was very pleased with such a simple activity.

So simple, it might be overlooked. This would be a great before dinner, or as a 10-minute challenge for the kids to take a break from some of the craziness.

Peel tape off the table (fine motor skills!)

If you like simple, you’ll also love these activities for your kids:

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How to Adapt an Activity for Your Child http://handsonaswegrow.com/adapt-activity-your-child/ http://handsonaswegrow.com/adapt-activity-your-child/#respond Mon, 23 Feb 2015 02:00:31 +0000 http://handsonaswegrow.com/?p=51792 Ever wonder how to do a preschooler activity with your toddler? Chelsie is here to share her tips along with examples to do any type of activity with your child. Hello everyone! My name is Chelsie from Skip Run Learn and I am the proud step-mother to an 8 year old girl and proud mother to a […]

How to Adapt an Activity for Your Child on handsonaswegrow.com

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Ever wonder how to do a preschooler activity with your toddler? Chelsie is here to share her tips along with examples to do any type of activity with your child.

Hello everyone! My name is Chelsie from Skip Run Learn and I am the proud step-mother to an 8 year old girl and proud mother to a 15 month old girl. As a parent to two kids born so far apart, I often find myself in the position of having to adjust our family’s activities to accommodate both of my girls!

At a first glance, this may seem borderline impossible, however, I have found that with a little creativity, anything is possible!

Jamie has asked me to write this article to help parents with 2 kids aged 4 and under. It’s been a while since I’ve had a preschooler, but I remember roughly the types of things I had worked on with my step daughter when she was that age, so some of this will be based off of memory, but some things, like the overall process, will be roughly the same.

How to adapt activities to your child's age -- tips along with examples using real activities

When I am trying to plan activities to accommodate multiple ages, there are a few things that I try to keep in mind:

  • My overall goals for each child
  • Skill levels and interests of the kids
  • If anything needs to be changed at all
  • The overall spirit of the activity

My Overall Goals For Each Child

The first thing I like to look at are my goals for both the kids I am doing the activity with.

For a preschooler, my goals may include things like letter recognition, letter sounds, penmanship, number recognition, opposites, and on and on. The list of potential goals for a preschooler is quite extensive.

For a young toddler, goals might be anything from first words, crawling or walking, and scribbling with a crayon to matching to like objects, pointing to body parts, and noticing changes in quantity (for more information on determining goals for a toddler, see my post on starting a “toddler homeschool”).

Once you know what your goals are for the child, you can plug in the concepts to the activity.

If I am working with my preschooler on recognizing letter sounds and I’m working with my toddler on recognizing emotions, I will use letters in the activity I set up for my preschooler and smiley faces in the activity I set up for my toddler. The toddler and preschooler won’t be doing “different activities,” but they have different themes as they work.

Skill Level and Interest of the Kids

After identifying the goals, I will usually look at the activity and determine if there are any parts of the activity that are simply beyond either child’s skill level OR unsafe for one or both of the children to do.

See the 3 questions Jamie asks before doing activities with a toddler and a preschooler together.

When I do this, I try to make it a point to not underestimate my younger child.

Toddlers, I’ve learned, are capable of a lot more than they can say in words. However, even the most capable toddler is most likely going to lag in some skills when compared with a preschooler.

I know my 15 month old, for example, hasn’t quite mastered listening to multi-step drections (I know, because I give her the benefit of the doubt and try from time to time). Consequently, I’m not going to have her “color and cut” a picture. In fact, I don’t trust my daughter with even safety scissors yet ;) so having her cut at all would be out of the question. Instead, I might have her “color” the page/draw scribbles and practice holding a crayon, while the preschooler colors and cuts a picture.

Determine if Anything Even Needs To Be Changed

Believe it or not, sometimes my 8 year old and 1 year old will do the exact same activity with no changes.

Frankly, sometimes my step daughter simply doesn’t want to be challenged by every single activity we do. If I am making sensory sand for my daughter out of cane sugar and food coloring, she is just as excited-maybe even more so, to write in the sand, watch the colors mix, and use the excuse to taste a bit of the sugar. I don’t blame her, honestly. I’m one who loves a challenge, but even I like to relax occasionally and do something relaxing.

Sometimes, my toddler, Pumpkin is even able to do activities I had planned for my 8 year old step daughter!

Mostly these are hand print and foot print arts and crafts. I will help my step daughter complete her craft, then my step daughter will help me to get Pumpkin to complete the art project.

This may not be entirely relevant in the world of hand and footprint art, but kids actually learn material best when they teach it to another person. That means, if you wanted to really drive a point home, ask your preschooler to “teach” your toddler the concept she just learned. If your preschooler just learned her ABC’s, ask her to sing it to your toddler so your toddler can “learn” too.

Keep the “Spirit” of the Activity

Without this step, you are essentially giving your kids 2 separate activities.

If the goal of the activity is decorate cookies, then that’s exactly what I will find a way to involve both kids in.

If the goal of the activity is to teach the child to recognize a concept-like body parts-then I’ll keep to that.

If the activity is about moving a bucket along a string, I will keep the bucket moving on a string concept.

I try to keep as much of the original activity in-tact, however some activities DO require more change than others.

Examples of Adapting Activities for Your Child’s Age:

Now I’m going to demonstrate a few examples of how I might change some of the activities found on hands on : as we grow.  In these examples, I will change one toddler activity into a preschooler activity, one preschooler activity into a toddler activity, and one challenge activity given to me by Jamie.

Changing a preschooler activity into a toddler activity:

For my first activity, I have chosen to change “Challenge Kids To Drop A String Into a Cup” from a preschool activity to a toddler activity.

In the original post, the children kneel backwards on a chair and attempt to lower a string into a cup. This is a great fine motor activity. Frankly, I could see myself enjoying this one.

Anyhow, right off the bat I can tell you this activity will need to be changed for my 15 month old to be able to do simply out of safety considerations.

At this age I tend to discourage her from standing on any raised objects, so I would lose that element altogether. I think if I were to attempt this activity with Pumpkin a few times we might be able to achieve the goal of getting her to put a string of yarn into a cup, but there is a simpler way.

To keep this activity more focused on fine motor skill than following direction skills, I substituted an ice cube tray for the cup and some wrapped soft mints for the string. This is an activity Pumpkin is already pretty familiar with, so she did quite well.

Adapt a preschooler activity to fit my toddler
After we played with the soft mints for a bit, I added in some Christmas ornaments that we found after all the others had been put away. The ornaments have attached strings, which gives them a weighted dangle element so that they are easier to control.

I gave the ornaments to Pumpkin to put into the ice cube tray.

Of course, she thought it was more fun to have the dangling ornaments “make music” by swinging them inside the ice cube tray. I don’t think she ever did actually drop the ornaments into the tray, but she had fun nonetheless and the activity still did allow her to practice her fine motor skills.

Adapt a toddler activity for a preschooler

Changing a toddler activity into a preschooler activity:

The next activity I chose was to change was the “Bucket & Clothesline Activity for Toddlers activity into a preschool activity.

I am, unfortunately, lacking all necessary materials for this one, including a preschooler, so bare with me on the lack of pictures.  In this activity, Jamie tied some twine to make a clothesline and attached a bucket, then let her toddler experiment with the set up. Later in the activity she used clothespins to attach some ribbons to the clothesline.

To make this activity a little more interesting for an older toddler or preschooler, I would attempt to use alphabet magnets to replace the ribbons. Some letters may be able to hook into the line, while some may require some creativity to stay attached.

After you have attached the alphabet letters, I would send the preschooler with the bucket to walk from one end of the clothes line to the other, BUT every time he comes to a letter he must ________ (here is where it gets goal specific. If your toddler is learning to recognize letters then he must “say the letter” if he is learning letter sounds he must “say the letter sound,” etc).

After he correctly completes the letter challenge he can put the letter into his bucket and go to the next one.

If your preschooler is like my step daughter was (and still is), then everything is better when she can see how fast she did it! So after I know she understands the concept, I would add in a timer and let her try and beat her previous best times.

Jamie’s challenge activity to adapt:

Lastly, I was challenged by Jamie to convert “Can You Follow the Number from Start to Finish?” into a toddler activity.

This activity has a couple of concepts at its core-number recognition and mazes.

Firstly, I’m not yet working with my toddler on number recognition yet, but I am working with her on recognizing changes in quantity.

Next I’ll look at the maze aspect. If you go to a store and look at a book of “mazes” for a preschooler or kindergartner and then look at a book of mazes for a 2 year old, you might notice a difference in the level of difficulty; namely, the mazes for a two year old may look a lot like drawing a straight line.

I am going to respect that difference in this activity, so the maze I do with my daughter is going to be a straight line “maze” that focuses on changes in quantity.

Instead of having my daughter tape a straight line, which is beyond her skill level, I gathered a bunch of “one hump” mega blocks and brought them to the maze.

Pumpkin saw that I was gathering “one hump” mega blocks and gathered a few herself to bring to the maze (I share this to emphasize the point that toddlers should never be underestimated. She not only noticed I was gathering blocks, she noticed I was only grabbing ones with “one hump”).

She also saw that I was putting them on the maze paper and did the same.

Adapt a hard maze activity to work with your toddler

I arranged the blocks into the giant squares I had drawn so that each square contained a drastically different number of blocks.

Something like 1 block-5 blocks-2 blocks-5 blocks-3 blocks-Etc. Then I brought Pumpkin to the beginning of her maze and told her there was 1 block as she bent down to pick up her block.

When she began to reach for the blocks in the next square I told her there are “more blocks. Wow! Look at all the blocks, there are so many! Can you put all the blocks together?”

And I put 2 together to show her what I wanted. She did not put the blocks together. Instead she threw them behind her and moved to the next square.

I continued to narrate to her about the quantity of blocks in each square.

Adapt a hard maze activity to work with your toddler

After we were done, I kicked off the remaining blocks and started walking in silly ways through her little maze.

Pumpkin loved it and she began copying me (by copying I mean she worked on running and walking backwards regardless of which form of movement I chose), and laughing hysterically. This added a bit more gross motor activity to our activity, but really it was just for fun-and fun is key with toddlers. We learned, and we played. As usual, the activity didn’t go “exactly” how I wanted but it was indeed a success and it ended with a happy toddler!

Doing activities with two different ages kids can definitely have its challenges, but with a bit of creativity it is possible.  Just try to keep everything light and fun so that everyone can enjoy the activity, and if things don’t go as you planned (and in my house they rarely ever go as planned) then don’t sweat it! I guarantee you that your kids are probably still learning something (even if it’s just how to make a mess).

How to adapt activities to your child's age -- tips along with examples using real activities

Do you have any activities you’re having troubles adapting for your child?

Ask in the comments, we may be able to help.

How to Adapt an Activity for Your Child on handsonaswegrow.com

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Rainbow Scavenger Hunt with Clues http://handsonaswegrow.com/rainbow-scavenger-hunt-with-clues/ http://handsonaswegrow.com/rainbow-scavenger-hunt-with-clues/#comments Thu, 19 Feb 2015 02:00:00 +0000 http://handsonaswegrow.com/?p=12842 A rainbow scavenger hunt with a free printable of clues to find the colors of the rainbow! Makes a fun rainbow craft to display too!

Rainbow Scavenger Hunt with Clues on handsonaswegrow.com

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We love scavenger hunts! I took this one a step further than we usually do and made it a rainbow scavenger hunt with clues!

I even made the clues a printable for you to print off yourself to do your own rainbow scavenger hunt! (They’re at the end of this post.)

There’s a little prep work for this scavenger hunt. Print off the clues and cut them apart. Tape, or glue, each clue to a piece of construction paper in the colors of the rainbow. You can leave the violet one blank (I ended up removing the clue on ours), since that’s the end of the rainbow, hence its the end of the scavenger hunt and there’s no more clues.

Cut a cloud out of white paper and tape a clue to it too. This is the starting clue.

On each clue, fill in the “by a” box with an object that’s easily identifiable (and accessible) in your house. If your child is beginning to read, you could put words in the box, otherwise draw the object!

Find more scavenger hunts for kids here.

A rainbow scavenger hunt to do with the kids -- with free printable clues to use

Then you’ll have to go hide your clues on those object! Its tricky, be sure to get the sequence right!

I tried to make these are friendly as I could for the youngest of scavengers. Henry (he’s almost 5) had absolutely no problem with reading the clues after I read through the first one with him.

On each clue I made little eyes that says “Look for” written underneath.

Look for _(color)_ by a _(drawing)_ clue for rainbow scavenger hunt

Then its a row of the colors of the rainbow. I thought this would be the trickiest for him to understand, but he grasped it right away.

The point of the colors is to see what color you currently have and to see what color comes after that in the rainbow.

The last part of the clue is the object to look by that you drew, or wrote.

Reading the clues for the rainbow scavenger hunt

I read the cloud clue with Henry:

“Look for RED by a CHAIR.”

Once he found the red slip by the chair, he was hooked!

Finding the clues on a rainbow scavenger hunt

I added another element to the hunt by bringing back the colored strips to glue onto a piece of blue paper, with the cloud.

Make a rainbow after finding each clue on the rainbow scavenger hunt

Make a rainbow after finding each clue on the rainbow scavenger hunt

In the end, our rainbow scavenger hunt also turned into rainbow to put on display!

Make a rainbow on a rainbow scavenger hunt to do with the kids -- with free printable clues to use

Rainbow Scavenger Hunt Clues Printable

Click the image below to print the PDF (or save it to your desktop for future use).

Rainbow scavenger hunt free printable clues

If you’re a rainbow fan, you’ll love our rainbow sponge painting and go on a color scavenger hunt to make a rainbow!

Rainbow Scavenger Hunt with Clues on handsonaswegrow.com

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Matching Upper and Lowercase Letters on ABC Road http://handsonaswegrow.com/matching-upper-lowercase-letters/ http://handsonaswegrow.com/matching-upper-lowercase-letters/#comments Wed, 18 Feb 2015 02:00:46 +0000 http://handsonaswegrow.com/?p=51947 Matching upper and lowercase letters is a great way to reinforce learning letters for preschoolers. Of course, making it fun is really what works!

Matching Upper and Lowercase Letters on ABC Road on handsonaswegrow.com

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I’ve found that matching upper and lowercase letters is a great way to reinforce learning letters for preschoolers. Of course, making it fun is really what works!

We did just that using our ABC mat (affiliate link if you’re interested). A toy I completely forgot about.

Do you ever forget you have certain toys? You put them away, thinking you’ll rotate them in or something, but then never do?

Our ABC mat is one of those toys. It’s one I don’t want out all the time because the boys just get all the pieces out and they’re strewn about the house for days and days.

So I put it away, back in the closet, so they wouldn’t see it and drag it out.

I forgot what a great learning tool it could be though! I forgot about it altogether.

When the boys were outside sledding with Dad, I snuck it out and set up an ABC road to work on matching upper and lowercase letters.

Find more Move & Learn Activities like this!

An active way to practice matching upper and lowercase letters

George came in first, which was perfect! This letter learning activity was perfect for him to practice lowercase letters.

As I wrote lowercase letters of the alphabet on sticky notes, George found his vehicle of choice, a dump truck.

I “loaded” his dump truck with 3 or 4 lowercase letters at a time.

As I loaded it, I asked George what the letters were. We’re still working on many of the lowercase letters. If he needed help, this is when I’d tell him what they were.

A load full of lowercase letters to match to uppercase counterparts

Then he was off to find the matching uppercase letter on the ABC road and stick the lowercase letter to it.

The goal was to fill all the ABC road with its matching lowercase counterparts.

Finding and matching upper and lowercase letters - and getting them moving

I purposefully didn’t make the road go around our loop in the house. I didn’t want it to get out of control as my kids often do.

It was time for me to start preparing dinner, so I set the road up so it didn’t go through the kitchen or by the dining room table.

Finding and matching upper and lowercase letters - and getting them moving

After George found the three matching letters, he’d come back to me to give him another load of letters.

There was some confusion at times. For instance, when matching the upper and lowercase letters like L – the lowercase is ‘l’ which looks like the uppercase ‘I’, so I had to clarify. Same with the M and W. No biggie.

Finding the matching upper and the lowercase letters

Then Henry joined us and immediately wanted to do the activity too!

Well, Henry’s in first grade and matching upper and lowercase letters is a little behind him.

I kicked it up a notch and used words.

I wrote a word on the sticky note that began with each letter.

Still not the toughest of tasks for him. But he did have to read the word to me before finding what letter it goes on.

Instead of matching upper and lowercase letters, make it harder to match beginning letters of words

I wish I could have come up with harder words for him.

I just didn’t take a lot of time to plan that part out.

Instead of matching upper and lowercase letters, make it harder to match beginning letters of words

The boys were done with their learning after they got through their letters.

They then raced their trucks around the road until time for dinner.

If they had wanted to continue, I had numbers ready for George as well.

And Henry would have had subtraction problems to equal each number 0-9.

Both matching upper and lowercase letters and beginning letters of words

We’ve been working on matching upper and lowercase letters a lot (and for quite a while!):

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No More Witching Hour! 10 Things to Do Between Dinner & Bedtime http://handsonaswegrow.com/witching-hour-things-to-do/ http://handsonaswegrow.com/witching-hour-things-to-do/#respond Tue, 17 Feb 2015 02:00:15 +0000 http://handsonaswegrow.com/?p=51777 Say "No" to the witching hour: the hour between dinner and bedtime when things sometimes just get out of hand. 10 things do with kids during witching hour.

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Today, we’re going to say “No” to the witching hour: the hour between dinner and bedtime when things sometimes just get out of hand… Amanda is sharing 10 things do during the witching hour to help make the most of the time with your kids.

Hi! Thanks to Jamie for asking me to write a guest post. I’m Amanda and live in Adelaide, South Australia with my husband, 3.5yr old son Pumpkin and 1.5yr old daughter Koala. Life is busy!

I’m in awe of how much Jamie manages to do with her children, some days feel like we’re just managing the essentials (although I admit that not all my ‘essentials’ are the same as everyone else’s).

Things to do with the kids during the witching hour

We have a loose routine in the evenings; at the moment it includes dinner starting anytime between 5.20pm and 5.45pm, and then bath around 6.30pm followed by stories and bed. My husband arrives home around the time we start eating (hence the more flexible start time), and so we try to have play time between dinner and bath when he can reconnect.

This time has been a great way to add anything we missed – sometimes I use it to get us out the house or burn off any extra energy.

Sometimes we go for a walk, ride around the block or go to the local park, as much if I feel like I’ve been inside all day.

Does anyone else wonder what to do at this time of day?

Say "NO" to the witching hour with these 10 things to do with the kids between dinner and bedtime

Here’s my top ten things to do after dinner

During the witching hour, before bath/stories/bedtime routine.

Hide and Seek. An old classic. Sometimes we do this in teams, one adult taking each child. My 1.5 year old daughter Koala loves being found!

Hot and cold. One of us hides a toy or other object and then gives clues to find it (hot means they’re very close, cold they’re far away). Or do it the opposite way and play the What’s Missing? game.

Pin the tail. A new game Pumpkin keeps requesting is pin the tail on the dinosaur. We’ve tried drawing it on cardboard, but the easiest version is drawing a dinosaur (or any other shape) onto our easel with chalk (affiliate link), and sticking on a tail out of cardboard and tape.

Obstacle courses in the backyard (Jamie has so many hints on how to do this I don’t think I need to elaborate).

Gardening. Sometimes (mostly in warmer weather) we pick fruit or water plants. Fruit picking works better in our house with a better adult to child ratio!

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Pretend play. Although I don’t generally start a new structure or activity, this is often a great way for Pumpkin and Koala to show their dad anything new or exciting that they have done during the day.

Cardboard boxes. A favourite all year round.

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Sensory play. Koala was given a sensory rice advent calendar last Christmas, and both children loved having 10-20 minutes playing with this. Each evening we would hide a different object for them to discover. This worked so well that I will try to do it more often.

Find more sensory activities here.

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Books. We read books before bed, but some days Pumpkin and Koala are worn out, and they love lying down and unwinding with us.

Have you tried interactive books for kids?

Cuddles/wrestling/piggy backs or ‘shoulder-bone rides’ (the name Pumpkin has given to a ride over one of dad’s shoulder!

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Enjoy the witching hour from now on!

No More Witching Hour! 10 Things to Do Between Dinner & Bedtime on handsonaswegrow.com

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