My daughter is almost three and often has more energy than I can handle. I’m constantly struggling to find something that she can do – something that will hold her attention for longer than the 3.865 seconds that she typically spends – so that I can deal with my 8 month old boys. I thought it would be helpful to fellow multiple mommies to have a go-to list of stuff to do that you could whip out like the mother-of-the-year that you are (or in my case, that I wish I had the time/energy/patience to be). If your kids enjoy the beginning activity, I’ll provide more things along a theme. Stuff like related songs, books, snacks – you get the drift. The first theme is rainbows. (Why rainbows first? No idea. It’s just what appealed to me. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m a child of the 80′s, when rainbows, unicorns and the Preppy Handbook reigned supreme.) Anywho…let’s get started.
Core activity: Rainbow hunt.
- Age appropriateness: 18 months & up
- Materials needed: Nothing special, just stuff around the house!
Activity: We’re hunting rainbows! Or at least we’re looking for colors in the rainbow. The object of the activity is to have your kids look for objects around the house in each of the colors of the rainbow. When Katie was little, I used to take cups and bowls of several colors and then find little toys that would fit in each of the cups. Then we’d work together to match each thing to its “home.” For example, a blue ball would go into a blue cup, and a yellow ducky from the bath would go into a yellow bowl. Now that she’s older, I take different colors of construction paper and tell her to go find toys that match the colors. You can adapt this to your own kids’ age and interest level. I’ve tried this with kids stuck in chairs waiting for dinner to arrive at a restaurant. Each kid gets a magazine and then has 20 seconds to find as many colored images as they can. Here is Katie’s collection of treasures. She’s pointing to her favorite color (yellow) with her foot.
Note two things, if you will. Number one: I didn’t have purple construction paper in the house. I improvised with a marker. Number two: the foot that so gracefully points to her favorite color is still in pajamas. Today is a family sick day. We are all in our pj’s, including yours truly.
Sing. Here are some songs related to our rainbow theme. I did a simple search on YouTube to find clips of the songs so that you can hear the melodies.
- I Can Sing a Rainbow (I learned this one in kindergarten in American Sign Language)
- Somewhere Over the Rainbow (2 versions: the original from The Wizard of Oz and my favorite from Brudda Iz)
- The Rainbow Connection (who doesn’t love Kermit?!)
Make. More rainbow-themed activities from other blogs that I found.
- Family rainbow poster with handprints
- Nature colors box (I love this idea but we need to finish eating the rest of the eggs in the house so I can use the carton!)
- Rainbow in a bag
Explore. I did a couple of online searches and came up with some cool resources. My dad often sits a grandkid on his lap and does a Google images search for such favorites as helicopters or lions. Then they click through to whatever looks interesting.
Read. I’m a book-a-holic and children’s books are my favorite by far. Here are just a few – some are old favorites and others new ones to enjoy.
- Rainbows by David Whitfield
- A Rainbow of my Own by Don Freeman
- The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister and J. Alison James
- Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert
- Magnificent Rainbow (acrostic poem)
Experiment. Here are a couple of “scientific” activities that I found trolling the internet.
- Fill a spray bottle with water, look at the mist in the sunlight.
- Create an indoor rainbow with a prism
- Make a rainbow in the dark
Eat. Fill your kids’ plates with fruits & veggies from a rainbow of colors. And you can use a drop or two of food coloring to turn milk or water into your kids’ favorite colors
- Red: apples, strawberries
- Orange: orange, mango
- Yellow: banana, yellow bell pepper
- Green: kiwi, celery, grapes
- Blue: blueberries
- Purple: grapes, eggplant, plums
Well, that’s all folks! I’m hoping to have a new activity every other Monday. You know, Monday, when you are chock full of energy and resolve that this week the kids are not going to watch so much TV and that you’re actually going to eat a piece of fruit or something that passes as a vegetable at least once every day and that you will, for sure!, get the minivan cleaned. Oh wait. That’s me.
If you have any more bright and colorful rainbow ideas, please add a comment. And if you have an idea for an upcoming theme, I’d love to hear about that too!