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“5 Ways to Keep Toddlers and Preschoolers Busy”

Toddlers and preschoolers seem to have endless amounts of energy. Tapping into their energy level can be fun and rewarding for both mom and kids. Kids like to create things and see the results of their labors. If you have both a toddler and a preschooler, we have some fun ideas to keep them both busy. Below you will find 5 simple activities to help channel your kids’ energy in positive ways:

Play dough – There are so many things to make with play dough that makes it perfect for kids of different ages. For toddlers, it is a fun tool to pique curiosity. They can make balls, logs and practice colors and counting. For pre-schoolers, use a rolling pin and cookie cutters to cut out fun shapes. Each child can enjoy playing with play dough at their own developmental level. Working with play dough also increases fine motor skills.

Finger painting – Kids love to paint and create. To keep the mess contained, use gallon size baggies and fill them with paints. Use painters tape to tape them to a glass sliding door, and let your toddler smoosh the paint around. He can learn about mixing colors and how light passes through his creations. Pre-schoolers can wear an old shirt and paint on butcher paper. They can work side by side at their own level.

Garden – Kids love to be outside. Digging in the dirt is fun for kids of all ages. Create your own kiddy garden where your kids get to choose the foods that are planted and help dig holes, plant the seeds and cover the seeds with dirt. Let them help with watering and picking ripe foods. They will be excited to eat veggies they helped grow. If you are short on space, use a lightweight plastic planter on your porch and fill it with potting soil.

Baking party – Cooking is something kids of all ages enjoy. Plan a baking day in the kitchen. Let your preschooler help mix the dough – let him help measure ingredients and learn the order of combining ingredients. Get your toddler involved in rolling the dough into small balls and smashing them on the cooking sheet. Set the timer and let them watch the cookies bake through the oven window. Decorating sugar cookies can also be fun with sprinkles, colored sugars and frosting. To make baking more fun, put on music and dance while the cookies bake to help burn off energy.

Read – Story time is always a child’s favorite, no matter what their age. Go to the library and pick out several books your kids will enjoy. Choose a few that your older child can read to the younger sibling. If your child is still a pre-reader, choose a picture book and encourage him to make up the story based on the pictures he sees. Reading together develops good reading habits and encourages kids to engage their imagination.

Kids learn through play. Finding fun activities to make learning fun is a challenge all parents face. Sometimes we just need to let them get dirty enjoy themselves without being worried about making a mess. When you look back at the memories you made with your kids, the times you emphasized fun over keeping clean will be some of your most cherished memories.

About today’s contributor:

Jennifer Chung is a parenting expert and co-founder of Kinsights.com: part parenting community, part online health record. Kinsights provides parents with a safe place to seek answers to their questions while also helping them track their child’s health information. Organize your child’s growth and developmental milestones, immunizations, medications, allergies, and more. Connect with Kinsights at www.kinsights.com to learn more and sign-up! You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter (@kinsights).

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