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Eye-Hand coordination with hammering out side

We are surviving amazingly well on very little TV for the kiddos.  He still likes his morning cartoon.  I liken it to my morning cup of coffee, he’s not quite awake until he’s had an episode of Phinnes and Ferb, and I am really fine with that.

I cleaned Brady’s room yesterday (I’m convinced my child is a hoarder, but that is another post).  His clean, better-organized room opened up a new world of play opportunities.  He can now easily access more things, allowing more independent play and sparking more ideas other than “can I watch a cartoon?”  Last night after dinner, he built a marble ramp with dad and played two board games before bed.

I am still always looking for ideas and suggestions on things to do to keep my littles entertained, I came up with a list a while back.  But when I need new ideas, I am lucky that I never have to look further than Brady’s amazing preschool teacher and her lists of suggestions from her facebook page or articles she writes for our local mothers’ club newsletter.

Here are some of my Cookies N’ Dirt favorites:

  • Adult Sized Paintbrushes or Foam Roller Brushes: Give your child a bucket of water and send them outside to “paint”.
  • Birthday candles:  Let your little one to put them into play dough- you will be surprised how long they will play with these!

    Play Dough and Candles

  • Tongs and Cotton Balls. Have children move cotton balls from one bowl to another with the tongs. They can also tong tissue, plastic eggs, sponges…anything. This activity is great for hand eye and fine motor skills.
  • Baby soap or regular soap: Soap can be so much fun for children to pump out and play in! Use the dish tubs to set up a “baby bath” with a plastic doll, or a dino bath with plastic animals.
  • Potato Sprouting: Stick toothpicks in the side of an organic potato and put one end in water with the other sticking out. Watch your potato grow a plant.
  • Hammering: Go to a local hardware store and buy the smallest hammer you can find along with some protective goggles. Have your child do some hammering into an old piece of wood or stump. You can start the nail for smaller children and let older children do it themselves. This is great for hand eye coordination as well as cognitive development. Let them know the rules for safety before you start.

    Keeping busy and focused

  • Plant seeds:  lima beans and snap peas are the easiest!! Birdseed is also great.
  • Peel Eggs: Boil some brown eggs and let your little one work at peeling the shell off. It is good for children to struggle a little so don’t be too quick to step in. You can also get an egg slicer and let them slice when they are done peeling.

    Look at the concentration!

  • Color shaky bottles: Fill 4 used water bottles ¾ of the way full with water.  Add a few drops of food coloring to each bottle so that you have one of each color. Put glitter in one, beads in one, soap in one, and cooking oil in one. Now screw the cap on tight and tape the bottle tops. Let children shake and roll the bottles.
  • Fishing: Fill a plastic baby pool with water and plastic animals, fish or bugs. Give your child a net and let them “catch” the animals. If you don’t have a net use a colander or old baseball cap!

What are you favorite activities to keep your kids busy without TV, or what resources do you go to??


Glitter Glue Nails Instead of TV

This week is National Turn Off Your TV Week…or maybe it is next week. (A few different sources say different dates.) I posted on Facebook to see who was “in” for the challenge.
Fellow parents wondered if it meant all screen time; lapsers, iPods, youtube?
Was it just for kids or did it mean US too…I mean, who really can go without SMASH for a whole week??
I had long been thinking that Brady’s TV time had been creeping up over the last few months and I had been wanting to slim it back down.   So, I took this suggestion as a chance to re-examine how I use TV with my preschooler and was their some room for improvement.
This is not the first time I have written about TV and my kids.
And I have tried to cut his TV viewing back before too.
What I realized this time, is TV viewing is just like our health in other ways. We can have normally good eating or exercising habits, but then life sneaks up on you and all of a sudden you realize you are eating movie thither sized boxes of Junior Mints on a regular basis and skipping your morning workout to do laundry (or lets face it, sleep in).
I think every healthy habit needs a reset.  So I decide to take this week to reset our TV viewing.
So did I keep the TV off all day yesterday, day 1 of Turn Of Your TV Week??.
Did he watch 20 minutes in the morning while he woke up with his milk, instead of leaving the TV on all morning?
Did he protest when I said it was time to turn it off?
Did we get out playdoh and art supplies instead and did he entertain himself for at least 45 minutes while I got his sister down for a nap and did a little work?
Did he get one time-out for hitting me after I denied his request later that morning to turn the TV back on?
But we both recovered and we spent the rest of the day;

  • Building a ‘house’ out of boxes in the recycle bin (which he did at the table next to me while I worked)
  • Painting his toe nails with glitter glue
  • Playing Go Fish
  • Had a picnic lunch in the living room
  • He pretended to be a garbage man while collecting every scrap of garbage all over the house (score!)
  • Went to the library
  • Went to the grocery store
  • Had a rousing game of see how I can make my sister laugh while trying to ride in her stroller with her.

At the library, we checked out some books on CD. When it came time for quite time, he didn’t even ask to watch a cartoon first (as is his normal routine). He just went to his room to listen to his new cd. And when I went to check on him about 20 minutes later….asleep.
We’ll keep this up the rest of the week.  My husband is out of town next week and there is NO WAY I am going TV-free then without a co-parent to carry the load.
But I think both Brady and I realized we can survive with a lot less TV.

Now…my next challenge is getting the adults in the house to give up smart phones for a weekend. I’m not sure I could do it? Could You?

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