March 23, 2020

Happy at Home by Doodle Bugs!

Contributed by Lauren Wierzbicki, Education Specialist

During this ever-changing time, many of us are finding ourselves with a lot more time spent at home with children. And, with so much uncertainty, we’re all trying to develop a “new normal”, balancing working from home with caring for their children.

 

With a few simple materials, you can bring some familiar Doodle Bugs! activities home – helping to provide some stimulation, normalcy and happiness to your days.

 

Infants

Off and On – Bring out some containers with lids – empty Tupperware, tubs for yogurt, or canisters for oats work well! Baby can explore them, figuring out how to take the lids off and put them back on again. You can add some toys for baby to put inside the containers, too!

 

Basket of Balls – Fill an empty basket or shallow box with some balls. Baby can explore the balls – throwing them, kicking them, and chasing after them!

 

1 Year Olds

 

Dish Soap Silly Putty – Mix together 2 Tbsp. of cornstarch and 1-5 Tbsp. of dish soap (until you are happy with the consistency). Children can explore squishing, squeezing, flattening, and rolling their putty!

 

Rainstick Sensory Bottles – Take the label off of an empty water bottle, and add some long sticks to the inside, along with 5-10 teaspoons of dry rice. Use hot glue to seal the cap onto the bottle. Baby can explore the bottle, turning it over to hear the rice fall, and rolling it around to hear a different type of noise.

 

Toddlers

 

Toddler Soccer – Remove the flaps from an empty cardboard box, and place it on its side in a safe, open space. Provide children with a ball, and encourage them to gently kick the ball into the box “goal”!

 

Paper Tossing Bin – Place some pieces of paper into an empty box or shallow storage tote. Children can rip up the pieces of paper and them crumple them into a ball, stand back from the bin, and toss the paper back in!

 

Baby Doll Library – Set up a few books and baby dolls together. Children will be drawn to the set up, and can choose to look at the books and “read” to the baby dolls.

 

Preschool

Cornstarch Slime – Mix ¼ cup glue with a few drops of food coloring (optional). Slowly mix in the cornstarch, using a total of ¾ cup. Test the consistency of the slime, adding a little more cornstarch if it is still wet and sticky, kneading the slime until you are ready to play with it. Children can play with the slime, see how far the can stretch it, or adding some toys to cover in slime!

 

Writing Center – Add a layer of salt, sugar, or cornmeal to a sheet pan. On index cards or pieces of paper, draw shapes, letters, or numbers. Children can choose a card, and write or draw the shape/letter/number in the dry material on the pan.

 

Object Hide and Seek – Choose some of children’s toys, and hide them in unexpected places around your house. Create a simple list with a drawing of what you have hidden – or use a phone or tablet to create a photo album of the objects – and invite children to go on a hunt to find them all!

 

Chalk Shapes – Use chalk to draw several shapes on your driveway or sidewalk. Name a shape and encourage children to jump to it! You can add an additional challenge by adjusting the language you use – “Jump on a shape with 4 sides” rather than “Jump on a square”.

 

Pre-K

Letter Matches – On the top of a set of craft sticks (or strips of cardboard/paper) write an uppercase letter. Set these out with some books. As children explore the books, they can run the craft stick along the text and find a matching letter.

 

Draw Around the Obstacles – Place a piece of paper on a table (the bigger, the better – tape a few pieces together!), along with some random objects or toys. Children can place the objects on the paper however they would like. Then, challenge children to draw lines around the objects! When children are finished, remove the objects, and encourage them to continue drawing on what they have already created.

 

Tape Jumping – Place pieces of painter’s tape on a carpet, with the lines facing in different directions. Challenge children to jump from tape to tape, trying to keep the tape between their feet instead of landing on top of the tape!

 

 

Paper Plate Counting – Write numbers 1 – 10 (or as high as you would like) on separate paper plates. Provide children with some materials to count with – small blocks, LEGO pieces, paper clips, buttons, etc. Encourage them to count out the correct number of items for each plate.

 

School Age

 

Laundry Basket Skee Ball – Turn an empty cardboard box, some laundry baskets, and balls into a skee ball game! Check out this link from FrugalFun4Boys for instructions and visuals.

 

LEGO Brain Puzzles – On a piece of paper, draw a 10”x10” square. Challenge children to use LEGO brix to design a puzzle that fills the square. Try this with other shapes, too!

 

Shadow Drawings – During a time of day when shadows are being cast at an angle, take a few toys or other objects outside and line them up in front of a piece of paper. Children can trace along the shadow that is being cast by the objects, and then design the rest of their artwork around the shadow tracings.