I absolutely love activities that easily keep kids busy, because I can just set them up and they can keep at them for as long as they’d like which allows me the freedom to work around them in peace.
It was time to make dinner and the kids were running around like mad. Which is a regular occurrence in this house, don’t get me wrong.
It was just getting wild and I knew that I had to intervene with something else for them to do. Which is where quick busy activities come in handy.
This busy activity happens to be great for fine motor skills, too.
All you need are a bunch of rubber bands (I finally bought a rubber band ball not too long ago because my kids have been stealing my rubber bands constantly and I never get them back…) and a can of food, or anything else cylindrical (think water bottle, shampoo bottle, anything, it doesn’t have to be empty).
And have the kids put the rubber bands on the can. That’s it!
At first I thought it would be fun to make it a contest. Who can get the most rubber bands around the can before supper time.
And Henry took right too that, but I realized soon that George was going to get really upset if he didn’t win. He’s been very sensitive lately.
So I quickly switched the goal of the activity. Let’s see how many rubber bands YOU can get on YOUR can before supper time.
And then I let them to it.
Henry was still sure he was going to have the most. But George kept at it.
I made it a point to tell them that we were going to stop before dinner in time to take off the rubber bands and count them.
Henry was very particular in how he placed them on his can so he could count them well. His were all neat and very straight and lined up. He even took time mid-activity to push them all closer together to get more to fit on it.
George wasn’t as particular, just persistent and kept at it.
When it was time to stop, Henry took off each one of his to count. He had 33 rubber bands.
I had George just remove his rubber bands and I’d help him count them out. He ended up with… not only more than Henry, but almost double Henry with 64 rubber bands on his.
I made sure to point out the ‘pros’ of both their wrapping because Henry still saw it as a contest and I could see George starting to get excited about him ‘winning’. Although George put on more rubber bands, Henry took his time and did a really neat job at his.
We have lots of ideas for fine motor activities! Browse around our 30 activities and the materials that promote fine motor skills.
Creative with Kids has a wonderful list of activities when you need one quick.More ways to keep kids busy:
- Check out our list of 16 busy play activities.
- Often these activities that require no setup also keep kids busy independently.
- Same with our quiet time preschooler activities, they are intended for independent play.