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).
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.
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?