Wednesday, November 21, 2012

How Do You Keep A Preschooler Busy?

I have found it increasingly hard to keep my preschooler entertained.  Interruption after interruption for a snack or a drink leaves me frazzled and distracted.  It proves to add at least an hour to our school day.  We are working our way through trial and error to come up with a solution that will keep Little Guy smiling and me teaching. 
In my search I have found very few attempts promising, but I will share what has "worked" for my Little Guy so far.

Little Guy does the dishes:
In this experiment I filled the sink half full with water and a few extra bubbles to make it fun.  Then I picked out some of our kid's plastic dishes which included a mixture of plates, bowls, and cups for Little Guy to wash.  What made it fun for him was the realness of it.  He was really washing the dishes!  Now, I am sure if I allowed him to wash the dishes every day it would loose it's appeal, but this experiment definitely was added to my bag of tricks!

Little Guy does a Lego Quest: (Vessel)

Giving him a Lego Quest assignment also proved to be entertaining and kept Little Guy busy for about 45 minutes!  It doesn't sound like much time, but when you are being interrupted every 5-10 minutes, 45 minutes of focused time is something to get excited about!  If you are unsure what a Lego Quest is all about click the link above and you can follow our Lego Quest journey.

So far these two activities have had the best results, but I am still at work experimenting what will hold Little Guys attention the longest.  I would love to hear your ideas and comments below.

Thanks for visiting Noah's Ark Homeschool Academy!

I had some suggestions for busy bags, so I thought I'd give it a try.  I haven't been to the store to get all the supplies that I need to create the busy bags I have in my head, but those are coming in the future.  Here are some picks of what we put together to get started with busy bags.

For this busy bag I used a piece of card stock and I drew a parking lot on one side.

I put 3 hot wheels cars in the bag.

Little Guy really likes this bag :)

The cars are having a wreck of  course!
On the other side of the card stock I drew a race track.

In this bag I kept it simple with a variety of sticker sheets, crayons, and pieces of copy paper cut in fourths.

I had these on hand an put them in a bag, but if you wanted to recreate them you could do it with star stickers instead of dots and any other type of sticker to replace the ladybugs.  You could write the numbers or you could use number stickers.

I also had this cute Monster Match game of hand from one of the kids magazines, but if you are crafty you could make some just like it.

At the risk of sounding cheap and repetitive.....I had these on hand too!  Somehow putting all these items we already had in a "busy bag" made them new and exciting.

The idea for this bag is making coin rubbing designs.  Coins, crayons, and paper is all you need.

I had some sea creatures, but nothing to go with them.  I used card stock to make a play mat, boat, fishing pole, and some clouds.

And here it is all put away in the bag.

If you're like me and can't run out to the store every time you get an idea, I hope this will inspire you to dig up what you already have around the house and make it new.


  1. Have you tried busy bags? Organize a swap with some other parents. Keep it small, less than 10 children or so. The idea is to make easy activities that a child can do independently and will fit in a gallon Ziploc bag (I've also seen the cloth pencil bags or small show box size rubber maid containers used). Each person states what they are making so there are no duplicates. You make a busy bag for each child, including your own. In the end you have 10 (or however many participated) new activities for your little one. I keep some in the back pocket of my seat in the van for my daughter. Here is my pinterest board with busy bag ideas.

    1. First of all thank you for your thoughtful comment! I have not yet tryed busy bags, but I have heard about them. I do need to investigate those a little bit more. I will check out your pinterest board today and hopefully post pictures here after we try them out!

  2. I have no one I can swap my munchkin (4.5) off with. I also only have him but I work full time from home too. So when we're not doing lessons or a therapy I keep things out that he can easily get - markers and paper, cuisinaire rods and base 10 flats, dry erase books, puzzles, counting animals. sometimes I set up the easel and let him use chalk, dry erase markers, or pull some paper over it and paint. I give him little things to "work" on while I "work". Then I say do 15-30 minutes of my work while he does his and when the timer goes off I tap our windchimes and he knows that he has full attention for at least 15. And he shows me the letters he wrote on the board, or what he made, etc. Since he's right here with me, I've got an eye on him and right there if he really needs me but he doesn't want help all the time. For the snack issue, I cut up cheese and fruits and veggies and set them in a plastic bowl in the fridge and he can just go grab what he wants when he wants. Yogurt too. It works so maybe something along those lines will work for you? Good luck!

    1. That sounds like a real blessing that your little one is so independent. I am trying to encourage that independence in my children, but it seems that it's going to take a lot more practice and tolerance on my part :)

  3. Oh, another idea I've used is bins. Get a little plastic bin and fill it up with all kinds of things that can be used only while school is going on. Games, puzzles, whatever that can be done a bit independently. You can swap things out or do weekly themes, etc.

    1. I've seen the bin idea before. That looks fun and can be educational too. I will have to pull together all these great ideas and rotate them! Thank you for taking the time to comment and give your ideas.

  4. We have good luck with playdough, scissor projects, glue dots and items from the recycle bin to stick together, watercolor painting on top of crayon pictures, making patterns with food snacks to match a picture I draw (goldfish raisin raisin cheerio, goldfish raisin raisin cheerio) then eating them, number matching with stickers (I write numbers and they attach stickers to match) and finally making aluminum foil boats Then testing them out in the bathtub. Just a few of our favorites..... Hope you find a new one you enjoy.

    1. I love the idea of the foil boats! We have not done that yet and he could even do that in the kitchen sink right next to where we do school. We have done playdough in the past but I have forgotten about. I will have to whip a new batch of playdough! Thank you for all your thoughtful ideas!