How to entertain your energetic pre-schooler around the home.
What a very unique time we have on our hands. And with the uncertainty facing us over the coming weeks, many parents have begun to feel overwhelmed at the looming task of keeping pre-school and early primary kids at home.
Here are four simple activities to get those bodies moving and squeeze every last morsel of energy out of the kids without destroying your house! And the best news is; they use no more than what you are likely to have on hand (thank goodness, because those shops are just not worth the stress right now).
1. SCAVENGER HUNT
Think of everyday items around the house to find. You can draw a picture of each item to find or alternatively, why not do a colour scavenger hunt and get the kids to find items that match. An old egg carton is a fun container to collect everything in.
2. JUMPIN’ JACKS
Simply find yourself a roll of masking tape and place some lines on the floor for kids to jump over. Different jumping options you can try are:
• Hop over each line on one leg.
• Hop backwards over them.
• Long jump: How many lines can they jump over in one go?
• Run and jump: Experiment with how much farther they can jump with a running head start.
• Balancing beam: Take the tightrope challenge and try to walk along the line, and then jump to the next one.
• Put your feet on one end: How far can you stretch and reach?
For older children, try taping letters or numbers on the floor and stringing a few commands together to test their memory. For example, ‘walk backwards between A and E, and then crab walk from E to D’ etc.
3. RED KIGHT, GREEN LIGHT OR “WHAT’S THE TIME MR WOLF?”
These schoolyard classics work equally well on a porch or in the hallway and are perfect when you have more than 2 kids at home.
For Red Light, Green Light: Player 1 (the person who is ‘IT’) stands approximately 5m away from the others. With their back towards the players, this person yells ‘Green Light’ and the others move forward until player 1 spins around and shouts ‘Red Light’. If player 1 catches anyone moving, they must return back to the starting line. The game progresses with ‘Green Light’ and ‘Red Light’ until someone tags the person who is ‘IT’ without getting caught.
For “What’s the Time, Mr. Wolf”, it’s a similar arrangement with player 1 (the “Wolf”) approximately 5 metres away and with their back turned to the other players. The other players chant “What’s the time, Mr. Wolf?” and the Wolf says a time, such as, “5 o’clock”. The other players step 5 steps towards the Wolf, counting aloud as they go. The game continues until the Wolf responds, “Dinner Time” and turns on the players. They must run to safety behind the start line without getting tagged by the Wolf.
4. PANTYHOSE BOWLING
A game that will have everyone in stitches of laughter. Simply place an apple or tennis ball in the leg of a stocking and tie it around your waist. Place some cups on the floor and get those hips swinging to try and knock them down!
Hopefully this list starts to get those creative juices flowing! And a final tip: be sure to let the kids plan and execute the activity… it may never quite end up the way that it was supposed to (in fact, it almost definitely won’t), but by giving them ownership over the direction the activity takes, you are guaranteed to maximise engagement time and creativity.
By Alice Zsembery. Alice is the author of “Real Kids, Real Play”. It provides over 150 activities for pre-schoolers and early primary students to do at home using typical household items. Real Kids, Real Play is available online in print and eBook at www.realkidsrealplay.com.au, as well as at Big W and all good bookstores.