In today’s post Ali of At Home With Ali shares 7 easy-to-set-up invitations to play prompts that are sure to get your kids playing
A while back I wrote this post about quick and easy boredom busters to get the kids away from the lure of the TV. Just recently I decided it was time to bring the boredom busters back! My 5 year old has a tendency to get up in the morning, plonking herself on the couch and then asking me what she should do. I have a tendency to stagger out of bed, heading straight to the kettle for a cuppa. Mornings are not my best time for creative play ideas! Plus, sometimes I just don’t want to be the “Recreation Director.”
To avoid the morning stand-off I have started taking 5 minutes in the evening to set up a simple invitation to play before I go to bed. This way there is something interesting ready and waiting for the kids when they get up. These activities are designed to start them playing and experimenting. They may not last long but I find that once my kids get started playing, their imagination will usually do the rest.
So here is another week’s worth of early morning boredom busters that each take less than 5 minutes to set up:
1. Blocks and a camera
I dragged out our wooden blocks – the kids hadn’t played with them for a while – and simply placed a camera on top. My 5 year old instantly said, ‘Do you want me to build something and take a photo?” and then that is exactly what she did. I am sure older children might like to video their spectacular building projects, and possibly the demolition of those buildings too!
2. Pipe-cleaners and sticks
This activity is so simple that I wasn’t sure it would motivate them to do anything…… but it did! I laid out a collection of sticks from the garden and colourful pipe-cleaners. We now have lots of sticks gift wrapped in colourful pipe-cleaners and one very strange looking nest.
3. Fold up the washing
This activity involves a useful chore so it’s really a win-win! I simply leave out a basket of washing – but not just any washing. I only include items that were easy to fold, like face washers, tea towels and hand towels. My 5 year old loves to fold these and put them away.
4. Tissue paper and masking tape
This is a good one for the mini-makers. It was inspired by an interactive exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum called Paper Planet. At Paper Planet the kids (and adults) were asked to create sculptures with only masking tape, brown paper and tissue paper. They had such a good time making with these very restricted supplies. This is my replication of that activity and it works a treat once they get stuck into ripping and shredding the paper. I keep the materials really restricted – just tissue paper in different colours and masking tape which is also easy to rip so no scissors are required.
5. Sticks, feathers and string
This is an open-ended creative activity with no set outcome for what they should do with the supplies. It’s a great creativity-starter for the slightly older child. You can really choose whatever craft supplies you have on hand – I went with feathers, wooden rods and string (all found at my local $2 shop). My 7 year old had a great time attaching the feathers to the sticks by tightly wrapping the string around them.
6. “Find it” game
Write a list of things to find – you can make it as simple or as complicated as you like. I generally stick to things I know my kids will be able to find without too much trouble… like a green apple or a pink pony. I do have to read the list to my non-reader…. as my (very average) pictures are often not quite enough!
7. Cup stacking
Cup stacking is awesome fun! All you need are cups and a flat surface. We like to use the big red plastic cups you can find in the supermarket. Add a timer for some dramatic flair. We have taken these cups to family get-togethers for competitive cup stacking. It really is a family favourite!
Looking for even more ideas? Check out The Art Pantry’s Invitations to Create eBook for 30 days of easy creative prompts!
What are your quick and easy activity ideas?