An activity a day for March

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Okay, here goes: my plan for 31 activities to do with Maia this month, including art projects, nature activities, excursions, and cooking, among other things. Many of these may require some advance preparation or material purchasing, hence THE PLAN to help make it happen. This isn't necessarily in the order that we will do them. I'm going to sit down with this list and my calendar and write one in for each day, but with the idea that I will keep them flexible and perhaps move them around as necessary. Again, I've decided to do this because days when I do at least one fun, kiddo-focused activity with Maia seem to be happier, smoother days than when I'm just trying to "get things done."

In addition, borrowing Julie Liddle's idea, we'll create an extra box of activities (listed below) that Maia can choose from on occasion. These will be easier, no-advance-preparation-or-purchasing-required activities, such as building a marble run together. I may let her pick from these sometimes instead of doing one of the 31 activities. And, to be honest with myself (and you) we might still be doing the 31 activities well into April.

31 Activities to Do with Young Children

1. Tissue paper candle holders: tissue paper pieces applied to glass jars with Mod Podge or glue.

2. Make birdseed pinecone treats to hang in the trees, then watch the birds and squirrels they attract.

3. Start a nature journal and try observational drawing outdoors on a warm day (or from the window on a cold day). Also, see Lori's tips on introducing observational drawing to the young or reluctant child.

4. Pack a field bag with binoculars, magnifying glass, tweezers, bird book, art supplies, etc. and head to the arboretum to explore and observe.

5. Make paper plate masks for dress up and pretend play.

6. Make tissue paper stained glass using wax paper and liquid starch.

7. Cook soft pretzels (thanks Erica!).

8. Try clean mud with soap and toilet paper. Here are Julie's notes: I use liquid watercolors instead of food coloring! Oh, and the cheaper the t.p. the better for this recipe. If you add a little water, you get an actual moldable substance. The more water you add, the softer and fluffier and squishier it gets.

9. Decorate and fill a Fun Box with Maia (see below).

10. Make yummy baked doughnuts.

11. Try tissue paper staining again with actual bleeding tissue paper. Wow! I just realized much of MaryAnn Kohl's Preschool Art book is on Google. I wonder what other books are on there?.

12. Try nature stamping with leaves and flowers and a stamp pad. Perhaps do these in the nature journal.

13. Revisit fruit and vegetable printing with paints and a variety of produce such as onions, apples, cabbage, grapefruit.

14. Make pizza faces a la Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots or happy face open sandwiches. Add bell pepper smiles, olive eyes, etc to pizza or bagels with cream cheese. Add raisins and banana to a peanut butter sandwich.

15. Trace Maia's body and help her fill in her body parts (bones, heart, etc).

16. Make salt dough beads or claydoh beads. Last time we tried a different recipe and they fell apart under Maia's rough handling, although they were still well worth making.

17. Visit the art museum or the science museum.

18. Germinate grocery store produce: avocados, lemons, oranges, sweet potatoes, potatoes, pineapple, apples, squash, beans, etc.

19. Make wool felted balls or eggs using raw, carded wool and a big bowl of warm soapy water following SouleMama's instructions in The Creative Family. Here's an online tutorial for a different felted ball method, and another for felting with kids.

20. Make handmade paper shapes per Tracy's tutorial. Add flower seeds to the mix and give as gifts that can be grown in the garden.

21. Make a found object sculpture with popsicle sticks, paper clips, and buttons such as the one shown on Art Projects for Kids. You'll have to scroll down a little bit to get to it because I wasn't able to get the permalink to work for some reason.

22. Make Montesorri Mama's awesome ball tube. Also, set up a simple ramp (perhaps a cookie sheet set on some blocks) and test roll different kinds of objects.

23. Try some marbleized paper with oil and food coloring or liquid watercolors — a project I know Maia would absolutely love.

24. Collage/decorate an unfinished wood frame then use it to frame and hang a piece of Maia's artwork.

25. Cook popovers, one of Maia's favorite cooking (and eating) projects.

25. Make sandpaper art by drawing on coarse sandpaper with crayon stubs then melt at low heat in the oven.

26. Make a kite and fly it.

27. Dye white flowers by setting the stems in water mixed with food coloring.

28. Make butter by putting cream in a jar and shaking it. We did this when I was a kid (we had a cow), and I'd like to try it with Maia.

29. Try watercolor pencils. Also, draw with washable markers then take out in the rain or spray with water.

30. Make bean face collages. Use glue to draw a face, then fill in the features with various kinds of beans.

31. Grow a rock sugar crystal.

For the Fun Box

I'll follow Julie's suggestion of decorating a shoe box with Maia and asking her for input on the activities she'd like to include. Here are some possibilities, but I'm sure she'll have ideas of her own:

1. Build a marble run together

2. Make nachos

3. Do a puzzle together

4. Play a board game

5. Make mud pies outside

6. Play hide and seek

7. Invite a friend over

8. Play I Spy

9. Go to the library

10. Visit the pet store to look at the fish and animals

11. Have a teddy bear tea party

12. Bake cookies

13. Read stories

So there it is. Any other ideas or tips you have for the 31 Activities or the Fun Box?

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Comments

  1. r8ermom says

    What wonderful ideas and a great list to have on hand. Thank you for sharing them with us and providing the links. I have a ton of books of ideas but find I have to sift through them to find the best ones for my kids age levels. This list is wonderful since my oldest is about Maia’s age. I all be printing this list out and referring to it often!

  2. ohfishyone says

    Thank you for sharing these ideas. I am so inspired to make a similar list for my 2.5 year old and 11 month old sons. You are right – what a big difference it makes to have something planned!

  3. Emily says

    Holy guacamole, Jean. This rocks! I’m glad you’re back blogging and that you’re so organized to do this. I’ve noticed that my daughter suffers, too, when I don’t have things planned. As a life long go-er with the flow this is really hard for me! I’m going to make my own list but I’m sure that I’ll supplement with some of the amazing things here. :) Thanks!!!

  4. says

    Hi Jean :) What a wonderful post! Thank you for sharing all of these super ideas with us.
    How about making collages using flower and seed catalogs? We love dreaming of our vegetable and flower gardens this time of year, and making collages from our catalogs after we read them is so much fun. Love hugs, Q

  5. says

    great list! i’m sure many of us will be “borrowing” it from you. thank you so much for sharing. i wholeheartedly agree with you that a little mommy and me time invested makes for a much smoother day. my daughter and i love to gather all the pillows in the house and throw them on the floor. we have gentle pillow fights or she plays “fall down” in the pillows. she’s still young enough too that walking on the pillows is a bit of an obstacle course for her.
    ah…an obstacle course…that might be fun!
    how about a scavenger hunt for stuff around the house or yard? it might give you a little time in between “hunts” for different things to get stuff done.

  6. says

    As a stay at home father and an artist, I thank you. These are wonderful suggestions! I’m always looking for ways to combine my first love, my family of course, with my art. I want to keep them involved so they can learn to appreciate life through art.
    Thanks again and the kids and I look forward to hearing future suggestions.
    Jeff Duckworth
    http://www.jeffduckworth.com

  7. says

    Sounds like fun! Another hint for the observational drawings–when I’ve done outdoor drawings with kids I’ve given each a piece of paper with a postage-stamp sized hole in the middle, and asked them to lay the paper over something outdoors to “frame” what they’re going to draw. Helps kids (and me, too!) focus in on a little bit instead of trying to draw it all, and helps them play with scale as a fraction of a leaf or a tiny pebble bleeds off their drawing page.

  8. Stephanie Stanford says

    Thank you for sharing!!!! I can’t wait to do some of these with my son!

  9. Victoria says

    Wow, what an inspiring list! And wonderful ideas in the comments too.
    What age do you think these would work from? My little boy is just two and quite hard to get involved in art projects (he gets very absorbed in his play people) until I end up feeling I’m doing them for my own enjoyment! I don’t want to pressure him into enjoying craft activities – they’re meant to be about freedom after all – any tips? Or has Maia always had your creative gene?
    (Do direct me to another post if this is something you’ve covered already – I’m a new reader)

  10. says

    For Victoria: Give your wonderful son some very expressive exploratory “messing about” kinds of things to do, art, if you will. And only expect ten to fifteen minutes from him as far as concentration or involvement. There are lots of ideas on my website, but think of simple things like gluing cotton balls on a paper plate. Don’t worry about how things turn out…no product is needed for kids this age…he simply needs a quick fun exploration experience…a process of creating time…don’t expect him to care about the finished product. That is an adult concept, and one that kids like later in life. Try this: Put some mustard in a strong ziplock baggie. Let the air out. Let him “fingerpaint” on the outside of the bag. You can add some ketchup too and let him mix the colors from the outside of the bag. I have written a book called “First Art: Art for Toddlers and Two’s”. You might like to check it out from the library. It gives lots of easy things to do, that are quick as well, and hints for the mommies along with the project.
    Best wishes,
    MaryAnn Kohl
    art author

  11. says

    Thank you for all this wonderful ideas. I’m sure, I’ll try something.
    So I wish you a very creative month!

  12. says

    What a great list of ideas! I also like the box of ideas too – easy, ready to-go, realistic on busier days. We’ll have to add some of these to our rotation of sorts.

  13. says

    oh my goodness, youre going to be busy! :^)
    thank you for the links! were excited about spring. i want to make kites…

  14. says

    You are so organized. I love it. You are amazing for finding time to do all of these things, Maia is a lucky girl.
    Another thing you could add — like the butter — is ice cream in a bag. (I have this vague feeling that I may have even commented here about it before…) Anyway, it might be more of a summery activity, though I like ice cream even in the cold!

  15. says

    Thanks for the great ideas!
    Peanut butter playdough has been a hit for us!
    1 c peanut butter
    2/3- 1 c dried milk/corn meal
    2 T honey
    Play with, add raisins, etc. and eat when you’re done!

  16. says

    Wow, what a great list! I am always looking for fun things to do with my son and I just got a bunch of wonderful ideas. This is my first time coming across your site. I will definitely be bookmarking it!

  17. Donna says

    This.is.a.great.idea! I am going to trying and make a random activity box for my kid! Ha. Off to the basement to find a shoe box! :) Thank you for sharing.