Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Hands On Childhood

I love being home with my kids and it seems extra fun when the weather warms up.  We all of the sudden have twice as many options of fun things to do and often can't fit it all into our days.  I remember when I first became a stay at home mom, it was a bit of an adjustment to go from full time teaching for 9 years to full time moming.  I've really found my groove after four years + two kids and am LOVING this mom job.

I wanted to share some fun things we do during the days, but I also wanted to say that I rarely do more than one craft, one messy hands on activity, one play date, one trip to the library/museum/park, one walk, etc. a day.  We try to vary our days.  Our goal is to pack in lots of great learning opportunities and tons of free play.  There are many fun things in this post, but I've been collecting ideas to share for WEEKS.  

10 Hands On Activities To Do with Your Kids

Olive loves to cut with scissors so we've been doing some fun scissor activities.  I let her shred some old magazines, we cut out food items, cut out interesting pictures and I cut out letters for her.  After doing this a few times she asked to cut out some letters of her own.  Here's her with her F for Fletcher and she had a great time cutting ribbon.  I let her go back and forth between kid scissors and big ones as long as she's careful.  I keep the scissors put up when we aren't working so she doesn't give the cat another surprise hair cut.

I have a huge jar full of cookie cutters so after too many rainy days in a row, we pulled them out to play with.  The kids had so much fun counting, stacking, identifying and tossing them into the jar.  I left them out for a few days and appreciated this activity they could do all on their own.

This one is hard for me, but the HUGE smile on her face motivates me to keep saying YES to her request of finger paint.  We read Mouse Paint together and learned all about coloring mixing to make new colors.  She was fascinated and couldn't wait to try it out.  She had a blast painting the paper, moved on to painting her hands and asks to do this activity nearly every day.  I say yes 1-2 times a week.  Watercolors are a great alternative if you don't want the mess of finger paints.  The clean up is much easier and they're still great fun.

All types of flowers are still fascinating to Olive right now.  She thinks they are all beautiful so we draw them, pick them and build them with Duplos.

We try to have book club each day where we sit and go through a stack of books.  Then Olive will take her favorites, hide them in the couch and keep reading them on her own.  These books from the Target Dollar Spot are her favorites.  They're filled with things to name and she is so proud to show them to me while she tells me stories or names everything on the page.

This floam is her favorite.  It's from The Dollar Tree and it holds up really well.  It's a bit sticky at first, but she's played with it enough that it's just fine.  She builds with it, covers her favorite toys in it, makes mustaches out of it and I would not recommend this stuff for kids under 2.  Fletcher tries to eat it every single time hence the sad Fletcher face sitting on the sidelines here.

So much dressing up, silly accessories and costumes.  She layers it all on and is happy to accessorize others.  I regularly go into the playroom to find Fletcher all decked out.  I don't think he was thrilled to be wearing matching bows :)

Olive adores the stuff.  She could play with it for hours.  We have cookie cutters and some basic tools, but she tends to have the most fun with games she makes up.  She'll make princess dresses out of playdoh for her dolls, sleeping bags for her Duplo people or bake cookies.  Here she's loving giving herself a unicorn horn out of playdoh.

We have lots of fun musical instruments, but Fletcher's favorites are these pots and pans.  He carries them around the house and bangs them as loudly as possible.  Olive prefers the real instruments.  Some days both the pots and her favorite recorder go missing because it's just too loud, but most of the time their little band is pretty cute.

The fresh air and sunshine does us all good!  We go for walks, play on the play set, dig in the sand box, sidewalk chalk, blow bubbles, ride scooters in the driveway or dig in the dirt.  Olive is workig on throwing a frisbee and this ring shaped one is really great for little hands.

Fletcher is thrilled to be climbing every single thing in the house.  He's mastered the coffee table, the couches, benches and the kid table.  He moves stools and chairs where he wants them and then climbs them.  He basically requires eyes on him 24/7 to save him from himself.  Good things he's so cute and that Olive and I both look out for him during the day.

What are some of your favorite hands on things to do with your kids??


  1. Jack's current favorite book is The Very Hungry Caterpillar. We are spending a lot of time outside. Jack loves his dirt pile and it keeps him occupied for hours. He loves bubbles. My dad hung a knotted rope from a tree. Jack loves to hold onto it and swing around. I've really seen an increase in his arm strength.

  2. I LOVE the cutting one. My girls would still love to do that. Maybe we should make some sort of really fun collage... if I didn't pack or throw out all my magazines in the purging craziness. This is a great list of activities, indoor and outdoor friend.

  3. I need to break out the finger paints more. We love to go outside and I'm so glad we have a yard that allows! Wesley LOVES cutting and I often give him the Sunday paper and let him go to town!

  4. You are such a fun Mom. I think it's the teacher in you :) And that you are really just a fun Mom, of course.

  5. You're such a great Mom! I bet your kids have a blast with you! :)

  6. I always love reading what you do with your kids. We do some of the similar things. We love to play with playdough, duplos, paint, board games and kinetic sand. We love playing outside too!


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