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[Children's_Books]_Children's_Books_-_101+ Ways to Keep Kids Busy

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Published by Perpus Kota Semarang, 2018-10-09 22:32:57

[Children's_Books]_Children's_Books_-_101+ Ways to Keep Kids Busy

[Children's_Books]_Children's_Books_-_101+ Ways to Keep Kids Busy

101+ Ways

to Keep Kids Busy

To the Caregiver

As a caregiver, you have reading and singing. They active and doing things.
a very important job. For became small-sized These children were
many hours each day you couch potatoes. growing and developing
take the place of the to the fullest.
child’s parent. You in- Another caregiver, just
fluence the child in many down the street, planned 101+ Ways to Keep Kids
ways. every day and had her Busy can help you help
two children active and the children you care for
The early years of the reading, helping fix lunch to grow and develop. It’s
child’s life are extremely and doing many fun ac- full of wonderful ideas of
important. The child is tivities. These children things you can plan and
growing and developing. were alive. They smiled do with your children.
You can help the child and laughed and cried and
grow and develop to the giggled! Young children are sup-
fullest. posed to be active, curi-
Which of these two fam- ous, questioning, busy,
Not long ago, a caregiver ily child care homes do and a host of other things.
was discovered who al- you think was the happi-
lowed the two children est? Which one had the We hope you’ll use 101+
she cared for to watch most positive influence Ways to Keep Kids Busy
TV for hours and hours. on the children’s growth and we hope you’ll make
These two children soon and development? Of every effort to help your
became dull children. course the answer is the children grow and de-
They weren’t interested family child care home velop to the fullest.
in running and jumping, where the children were

He or she? Him or her?
Please note: In this and all Better Kid Care publications we take turns referring
to children as “he” or “she.” When we use he or she, we include all children.


2 101+ Ways to Keep Kids Busy

101+ Ways to Keep Kids Busy


Have a Telephone Make a Necklace Make a Musical
Conversation Empty thread spools that Instrument
A homemade telephone are painted different colors A musical instrument can
can help younger children can make a safe necklace easily be made with two
build their vocabulary for younger children. They small paper plates and
skills and also be a lot of can even help you make beans. Place the beans on
fun. The phone can be the necklace. one plate. Cover with the
made of styrofoam, card- other plate. Tape, glue, or
board, or plastic cups. Take the spools and string staple the plates together.
them together with a soft Encourage the child to play
The phone line should string or shoe lace. The the instrument to music.
have two “receivers.” younger children will (Due to choking hazards,
Punch a small hole in the enjoy helping you do this. this activity is not intended
bottom of each cup, and for children under three
push the ends of a 15 to 20 Colored Sand Art years of age.)
foot string through the Take dry sand from the
holes. Tie a large knot at sand box and put a handful Learning Important
each end of the string. The into several small contain- Information
children can stretch out the ers. Add some food color- Help a child learn his
string and begin their ing into each container and telephone number and
conversation. mix together until the sand address while playing.
is colored. Tape the house number on
Let’s Jump a play house or the bed-
Have the children stand Give the children some room door. The telephone
with their toes at a starting paper and glue. Have them number can be taped to a
line. When you give a make patterns with the play telephone. Ask the
signal, have the children glue to make a design. child his telephone number
jump five times forward. When they are finished, let and address frequently.
The distance each child them sprinkle the glue with
jumped can be measured the colored sand. Household Items
with chalk or string. Let Can Be Fun
the children jump again to Counting the Dishes Egg cartons, milk cartons,
see if they can improve Have the children help set empty thread spools, flour,
their distance. the table for meals or snack salt, water, and food
and ask them to count how coloring can be used to
Obstacle Course many napkins, forks, make fun, safe educational
An obstacle course can be dishes, and spoons will be toys and materials for the
set up either in or out of needed. children.
doors. Chairs, old tires,
stools, and logs are just a
few things that can be
used. Make and show the
children the pattern of the
course so that they know
what they have to crawl
over, under, or through.


3 101+ Ways to Keep Kids Busy

Paste Jewelry Egg and Milk Cartons Ideas with Paper
What you need: as Toys Children can make a
3/4 cups flour Cut egg cartons into collage or book by cutting
1/2 cup corn starch individual cups and make pictures out of old maga-
1/2 cup salt them look like flowers. zines and gluing them on a
warm water Use a pipe cleaner as a piece of paper or cut out
stem. The children can also colorful magazine strips
What you do: make puppets out of egg and wrap around a tooth
Mix the ingredients in a cartons and pipe cleaners. pick. Pull the toothpick
bowl. Add warm water out, glue strip, let dry, and
gradually until the mixture Milk cartons can be thread between beads.
forms a dough. Before transformed into great
working with the dough, building blocks or a train. Feel Box
dust with flour to reduce To make the blocks, Find an old shoe box. Cut a
the stickiness. The children simply cut the top off two hole in the lid. You can ask
can shape the dough into cartons and push them the children to decorate the
different shaped beads. A together. The blocks can be box. Put some things in the
hole can be pierced in each covered with contact box. Let each child put one
bead with a toothpick. Dry paper. hand in the hole and try to
the beads on a screen. guess what is in the box by
To make a train, cut the top feeling the objects.
Go Bird Watching off of the carton and cover
Make a bird feeder out of a with contact paper. For Experiment with Water
paper milk or juice carton. wheels, glue four egg Fill three jars with water
Cut out two opposite side carton cups on the bottom and mark the level on each
panels and fold down to of each “car” of the train. jar. Place one jar in the
make a ledge for the birds The cars can be connected freezer and one in a win-
to rest on. Let the children with string or yarn. dow. Put a lid on the third
decorate the carton. Put a
string through the top to Homemade jar and put it beside the
hang. The bird feeder can Puppets jar in the
be hung from a tree or Old socks, window.
clothesline near a window. mittens, and
Let the children add the lunch bags Have the
seed when necessary. make interesting children check
hand puppets. Chil- the jars fre-
Fun Play Dough dren love to talk through quently. Talk
What you need: puppets. This gives them
2 parts flour the chance to create their about expan-
1 part salt own characters. Use sion of
1 part water markers to make eyes and water, evapora-
food color noses and yarn for hair. tion, and air.
The children can even add
What you do: clothes, a hat, teeth, or Make a Newspaper
Mix and knead until it is ears. What you need:
doughy and the color is several sheets of paper
mixed in well. Store in a safety scissors
covered container. crayons


4 101+ Ways to Keep Kids Busy

construction paper What you do: magazine. Each child can
glue Have the children decide paste the pictures into a
the theme of the collage. book made of paper and
What you do: Write the theme at the top bound with yarn. Each
A child can make her own of the paper. They can look child can write or dictate a
newspaper by drawing or through magazines and cut short story about each
cutting out pictures of out pictures that follow the picture.
events or writing a simple theme. Some ideas for
story. themes are dogs, cats, or Rough and Smooth
plants. Young children enjoy
The child can mail the seeing things change. Let
newspaper to relatives or Press Some Flowers children see the difference
friends. On a nice day, ask the between rough and smooth
children to collect some by using a piece of wood.
A Noodle Necklace flowers and place them Let them feel the rough
Big uncooked macaroni, inside a big heavy book or wood, and then, with
painted or plain, can a stack of books. (To sandpaper, smooth the
make a great necklace. protect the pages of the wood down.
Younger children will book, place a napkin or
enjoy threading a Flavored Milk
string paper towel in the Ingredients:
or shoelace through book first.) After 1 cup milk
the macaroni. a few weeks the 1/2 banana, mashed, or
flowers will be 1/2 cup orange juice, or
Start a Collection dry. The chil- 1/4 cup crushed
Young children like dren can make a
to collect things like dried flower strawberries
rocks, shells, or picture by
coins. You can help gluing the Help the child mix the milk
children organize flowers on a piece with one of the ingredients,
the collection by labeling and then shake until
the objects as to where of paper. blended. This is a tasty,
they were found or who nutritious drink.
gave them to the child. Dress-up
Old hats, shirts, shoes, Follow the Dots
Make a Megaphone ribbons, junk jewelry, and You can make a dot-to-dot
A clean, empty plastic other old clothing will picture for a child to follow
bleach container with the occupy a child for hours. and color. For an older
bottom cut off looks Let each child pick out his child, make the dots farther
exactly like a megaphone. own costume. apart and number them.
The children can practice
singing or talking to the Make Bean Bags Sounds in the Home
“crowd.” Help your child sew some Go on a tour of your home
scrap material together and with the children and look
A Theme Collage then fill with navy or pinto at everything that makes a
What you need: beans. (Due to choking sound. Children can make
old magazines hazards, this activity is not a book of the sounds by
safety scissors intended for children under drawing the object and
glue three years of age.) writing the sound.
Make a Book
Have the children cut
pictures from an old


5 101+ Ways to Keep Kids Busy

Stick Puppets foods come in many forms. Cut and Paste Magazine
Help the children cut out They may recognize food Pictures
several pictures of animals boxes used at home. Use magazine pictures of
or people from a magazine. fruits and vegetables. The
The pictures can be glued Use Posters to Decorate children may tear or cut the
to cardboard and then to Visit your grocery store pictures and glue, paste, or
popsicle sticks to make and ask the produce tape the pictures to paper.
puppets. manager to give you some Label the collage “My
promotional materials, Favorite Vegetables,” “The
Creating a Peanut such as large posters or Fruits We Put in Our
Butter Sandwich pictures of fruits and Salad,” “Fruits and Veg-
When lunch time arrives, vegetables. You can use etables I Want to Taste,” or
the children can create these to decorate rooms by whatever children suggest.
their own sandwiches. Put hanging them on the wall
out some bread, peanut or making mobiles. Chil- Classify Fruits and
butter, sliced banana, dren may like to paint or Vegetables
crushed pineapple, dried make a collage over large Using plastic models,
fruit, relish, raisins, grated posters. pictures, or real fruits and
carrots, or cheese. Let each vegetables, encourage
child decide what she Make Your Own Flour children to group them by
wants in her sandwich. This is a good activity to categories, such as: shape,
do after reading “The Little color, “those I like least,”
Let’s Clean House Red Hen.” If you want to “those I have tasted,”
Young children enjoy make your own flour, put “those I have never eaten,”
helping you clean around 1/2 cup of grain in a or any other categories
the house. Cleaning blender. Blend on high their imaginations provide.
windows is a favorite. Give speed until a flour is As they sort fruits and
each child his own cloth produced. One cup of grain vegetables, they develop
and spray bottle. Let him will make a little more basic classification skills.
clean until finished. Don’t than one cup of flour.
expect a young child to last Then you can make VEGETABLE SOUP
too long. Discuss safety pie crust, biscuits or Ingredients:
rules with the children and bread. It works best 4 cups water
let them help put the if you combine 3 large carrots
cleaning supplies away. with “store- 3 potatoes
bought” flour. 2 onions
Build with Boxes 2 stalks celery
Ask parents to help you
save food boxes with
pictures of fruits and
vegetables. Frozen food
packages are excellent.
These can be used as
blocks to build. They could
be glued together to make
them stable or used as
props in acting out a story.
The children learn to
“read” the picture labels
and recognize that


6 101+ Ways to Keep Kids Busy

1 can tomatoes Learn about Grains An Easy Baby Bib
1 can corn Visit a farmer, health food What you need:
1 can peas store, or feed mill to get washcloth
4 teaspoons beef bouillon some different grains— bias tape
salt to taste wheat, barley, alfalfa, oats. needle and thread
Let the children look at
Heat 4 cups of water and them and touch them. How What you do:
bouillon in a large pot. are they the same or This bib is simple to make
Peel and cut carrots, different? and it is washable. Sew the
celery, potatoes, and bias tape on two corners of
onions. Simmer all these “Do You Know the the washcloth to make ties.
ingredients until soft. Add Muffin Man?” The length of the ties will
tomatoes, corn, and peas. Have the children help you depend on the size of the
Salt to taste. Cook 10 make muffins and sing this child. This is an activity
minutes longer. song. The children will that parents can help with
enjoy pretending to sell as well as older children.
Cooperation Soup muffins to each other. You
Cooperation Salad can make blueberry muf- Let’s Make...
• Everybody helps decide fins, apple muffins, cran- Make something to wear or
berry muffins, peanut look at. String cereal and/
which vegetables or butter muffins, oatmeal or macaroni to make a
fruits to use. muffins—lots of varieties! necklace, bracelet, or belt.
• Everybody helps wash Wrap tape around one end
fruits and vegetables. Song: of the yarn or string to
• Everybody helps peel Do you know the muffin make it stiff. (Due to
and slice fruits and man, the muffin man, the choking hazards, this
vegetables. muffin man? activity is not intended for
• Everybody gets a children under three years
chance to eat. Oh do you know the muffin of age.)
man who bakes a lot of
Soup suggestions: bread? Make a collage of
carrots cereal or dry pasta.
tomatoes Act Out a Story To help children
potatoes Read or tell the children learn the names of
peas the story of “The Little shapes, use square-
Red Hen.” Then with your shaped “Chex
Fruit salad help let them tell the story cereals” and round
suggestions: by filling in easy parts that “Cheerios” for
apple you leave out. Eventually, circles. As the
banana they should be able to act children glue the
oranges out the story. shapes, talk about
melons their differences and
names, such as, “A square
Vegetable salad has four sides.”
lettuce Let’s All Sew
spinach What you need:
tomatoes cardboard of various
sizes, shapes, and
blunt needles


7 101+ Ways to Keep Kids Busy

long and short shoelaces colors and/or shapes on kinds of seeds. Why not
yarn or heavy string one side. On the other side make another display using
paper punch list the same colors and/or vegetable seeds and plants?
shapes but in a different
What you do: order. Have the children Let’s Find...
Outline a shape on a piece match the shapes and What you need
of cardboard. Use the colors on one side to the a paper bag or container
punch to make a series of shapes and colors on the
holes around the shape. For other. They can lace on the to collect things
younger children, make the top of the card to match list of things to find or
shapes simple—a square and then return to the
for example—and limit the bottom of the card to pictures for nonreaders
number of holes. For older match the next shape.
children the shape can be Have children collect
an animal or person and From Seed To Flower objects that can be used
have more holes. Young What you need: creatively, such as leaves,
children can use a shoe- package of flower seeds nuts, seed pods, sticks, etc.
lace, while older children large piece of cardboard In the fall children can
can use a blunt needle and glue or tape make collages from differ-
string or yarn. Large small container and dirt ent sizes and shades of
needles used for needle- leaves.
point are good for this What you do:
activity. They are available This activity will help Leaf Figures
in plastic and metal. You children understand how What you need:
may also want to make the plants grow. You can use leaves
holes larger for young any type of container to twigs/pipe cleaners
children. The cards can be plant the seeds or plant grass
used over and over. (This them outdoors in the crayon/construction paper
activity is not intended for garden. Let the children glue
children under three years look at the seeds. Plant newsprint/cardboard
old.) some and glue or tape
some on the cardboard and What you do:
Variations: label them with the name During a nature walk have
• Clean styrofoam or of the flower. After the children collect leaves of
cardboard meat and veg- plants have grown, glue or different colors, sizes, and
etable trays can be used tape some of the leaves and shapes. Using a sheet of
instead of pieces of card- flowers on the cardboard newsprint or cardboard,
board. Use the finished with the seeds to show how have the child glue a leaf
lacing as a picture for the a plant grows from a seed. or leaves to form people,
children to take home. animals, and plants. Other
You can make different body parts may be made by
• Each hole can be given a displays using different attaching pipe cleaners,
number and the children
can then lace in numerical
order until they complete
the card. This activity
teaches number awareness
and sequencing.

• Divide a large piece of
cardboard in half and list


8 101+ Ways to Keep Kids Busy

drawing with crayons, or A Model Maps are all sizes and
from scraps of construction Older children can discuss shapes. They explain a
paper. Leave it to the with the younger children small community, a nation,
child’s imagination and the model of the child care, or the world.
you’ll get a variety of school building, outside
figures! play area, the neighbor- Don’t expect a three- or
hood, or community. Use four-year-old to understand
How Do I Get There? all these concepts, but it’s
When children go to “play dough” to let an introduction to their
school or child care it is the children make learning about how to get
not unusual for them to ask buildings. After the around the neighborhood
an adult, “How do I get buildings have and community. Older
there?” or, “How does this dried, they can be children may be familiar
bus driver know where to painted or food with the concept of a map.
go?” Draw a map to show coloring can be added They may want you to
where the child lives and to the “play dough” before explain more and explore
how the roads lead to child making the models. Card- more themselves. They
care. Point out places the board boxes, milk cartons, may want to go to the
child knows like a gas paper models, wood, and library to get a book, like a
station, a store, a church, other creative materials can children’s atlas, and begin
or a park. be used and painted instead activities using it.
of play dough.
Ask the child to draw a Giant Paint Pen
map of how they would go Treasure Hunt Roll-on deodorant contain-
from the kitchen in their A treasure hunt can help ers can be used as giant
home to their bedroom. children follow directions paint pens. If possible, pry
Have them show where on a map. This is a game off the top of an empty
their home is and other that can be played indoors roll-on deodorant con-
homes in their neighbor- or outside. An adult or tainer. Wash the container
hood, like friends’ houses. child hides a treasure and thoroughly and refill it
Scraps of paper can be draws a map for the with liquid tempera paint.
glued to add color to this children to follow to get to Push the top back on and
activity and allow a child the treasure. Have them you have a “non-messy”
to use his/her creativity. make various stops along paint pen. The tempera
the way to collect extra paint cannot be thick or
My Room items. lumpy. Remember, not all
Children can construct a roll-on containers will
paper map or model of Let’s Play work.
their child care classroom, Preschool children like to
school, school building, or play with blocks, trucks, Plastic Eggs
outside play area. Small and cars. Often they will 1. Glue the egg closed.
pieces of wood and other make roads for their trucks Some children may want to
creative materials can be and cars. Sometimes put sand in the egg before
used in this project. schools, homes, zoos, and gluing. This will help it to
parks appear along the stand up.
road. Although children 2. Children can paint on a
may not understand the face or cut out eyes, nose,
concept of a map, this is a and mouth and paste on the
good time to begin to face.
explain that a map helps
people get from one place
to another.


9 101+ Ways to Keep Kids Busy

3. Hair can be anything children can sew, they can Box and Tube Puppets
that is available: paper, use any kind of fabric for What you need:
cotton, yarn, etc. the pattern. Younger old boxes (cereal,
4. Clothes can be colored children can use fabric or
tape, paper, paint, or heavy paper (glue the sides crackers, etc.)
whatever is at hand. together) or they can use old tubes (paper towels,
paper lunch bags. Eyes,
Finger Puppets nose, mouth, and hair can toilet paper, wax
What you need: be colored with crayon or paper, etc.)
paper and material paints or other items that creative materials
tape or glue children may want to use
creative materials to help the puppet “come What you do:
to life.” You may want to Have the children paint or
What you do: help children decide on the cover the boxes or tubes
Children can draw differ- size of the pattern before with paper. They can cut
ent characters on paper or cutting it out. Remember to out and paste on the facial
fabric and cut them out. By allow for fingers in the features or use anything
taping or gluing a ring on head and arms so that they want to make their
the back of each character children can make the puppets special. Pipe
the children can slip the puppets move. Yarn or cleaners, yarn, rope, and
character on their fingers string makes great hair, buttons can all be used to
and use them to tell a story. mustaches, and beards. create a box or tube
How about using this idea puppet.
with a favorite finger play? Valentine
What you need: 22
Another way to make a paste or glue
finger puppet is to use a safety scissors Matching Numbers
simple pattern that can be crayons or markers 1. Use scraps of wallpaper
glued or sewed together. assorted construction or carpet to make a match-
The face can be drawn or ing game. Squares can also
colored. Children can use paper be used as “stepping
yarn, string, or other stones” by writing numbers
creative materials for the What you do: on them.
face, hair, clothes, and Children can make a
other features. valentine (may be torn or 2. An old shower curtain or
cut) of their favorite colors. plastic tablecloth becomes
Hand Puppets They can glue or paste an indoor hopscotch game
What you need: decorations on them or when permanent-ink
fabric or heavy paper draw pictures.
needle and thread or glue
crayons, markers, paints,

and other materials
safety scissors

What you do:
The basic pattern of the
hand puppet lets the child
control the head and arms
of the puppet by using
fingers that fit into the
puppet’s head and arms. If


10 101+ Ways to Keep Kids Busy

markers are used to make You may use more. You For school-age children,
lines and numbers. Be sure can make a book about you may want to use this
to tape the plastic to the babies, food, dogs, cars, activity for simple math
floor to prevent accidents. farms, or any other subject, problems in addition,
or make a book about big subtraction, multiplication,
3. Use two of the same things and little things or or division.
catalog. Cut out a pair of tall and short things.
everything. Paste one to a Paper Plate Menagerie
small cardboard. Have Paste pictures on pieces of What you need:
children match up the heavy paper or cardboard. paper plates
other one. Punch two holes in the crayons
edge of each paper or popsicle sticks
Number Hopscotch cardboard. Tie the “pages” staples
What you need: together with string or safety scissors
masking tape yarn. yarn
dice tissue
Counting other assorted items
What you do: What you need:
This helps children form a cardboard circles (paper and fabric scraps,
better understanding of clip items—clothespins or buttons, etc.)
numbers and sequencing
and combines matching large paper clips What you do:
concepts with large muscle markers Use a paper plate as the
development. base. Young children can
What you do: create numerous projects
Use masking tape to form a This is a good way to help that compliment a specific
pattern on the floor. For children match objects activity, gifts, or seasonal
young children you may with the corresponding characters, and reinforce
want to begin by using one numerals or number words. concepts and skills.
die. For older children you Draw circles on heavy
can increase to a pair of cardboard. Divide circles With the stretch of
dice or make your own into sections, depending on children’s imagination,
dice, using larger numbers. ability of the children who finished products could
Remember that children will be working with the become a:
playing hopscotch go from circles. In each section
one number to another draw a set of objects, for • Hand puppet
number in sequence. Don’t instance: • Face made with yarn,
let them touch the lines or
put both feet down. En- 2 birds scraps of fabric,
courage children who 3 birds buttons
cannot hop on one foot to 4 birds • Face with glasses,
jump on both feet. Make tissue for nose, comb,
the hopscotch pattern the On the clip-on item, print etc.
right size for the children the number of the word.
playing the game. For instance:

Make a Book 4/Four
Cut brightly colored 5/Five
pictures out of magazines.
You will need at least four Show the children how to
pictures to make a book. clip the item on the corre-
sponding set of objects.


11 101+ Ways to Keep Kids Busy

• Turkey shapes from paper. Have What you do:
• Tambourine to sew or the children sort paper This is a good activity after
shapes by putting them a trip to the zoo, reading
lace through the correct open- animal stories, or taking
• Pumpkin person ing in the bottle or box. care of favorite pets.
• Mask
• Matching activity 3. For a matching game, Get children to discuss
use egg cartons. Cut shapes their favorite animals or
(good game) out of stiff paper or felt. something they have
• Cat (cut-out) Glue one of each shape in learned about animals.
• Fancy face (stick a section of the egg carton.
The children can match the Children may use any
puppet) paper or felt shapes with number of hearts to form
• Easter bonnet the ones in the egg carton. shapes of their favorite
• Clock face animals. Some animals
• Rhythm instrument 4. Make puzzles from may be placed in cages to
• Christmas mail box clean plastic supermarket provide a zoo-like back-
• Turtle meat trays. Cut out a circle, ground. Scrap materials
• Banjo square, triangle, and may be used to add fea-
• Flower (large) rectangle. Let the child fit tures to each animal.
• Teddy bear them back in where
• Match and tell (object they belong—a great
activity for eye-hand
and its use) coordination as well
• Man as identifying shapes.
• Elephant
• ABC clock 5. Sandpaper, flocked Fun With Plants
• Sad-glad Raggedy Ann contact paper shapes, What to use for planters:
• Rabbit and letters are other • milk cartons—they can
• Owl materials used for
• Clown teaching through the be cut to various sizes
• Angel sense of touch and shape • juice or other cans—
• Read-a-book caterpillar identification.
make sure there are no
What Shape Is It? 6. Make a “fishing” game sharp edges
1. Glue various colored with a magnet, paper fish, • pie or cake pans
paper shapes (circles, a pencil, string, and paper • plastic containers
triangles, squares, and clips. Children can practice • paper or styrofoam
rectangles) to the outside shapes, colors, letters, cups
of a large plastic container. numbers, and words • cottage cheese or
See how many shapes a through this game. yogurt containers
child can identify.
Valentine Animals What kind of soil:
2. Cut shapes out of the What you need: You can buy potting soil in
sides of a plastic bottle or construction paper a store or you can use top
shoe box. Cut the same paste or glue soil and peat moss mixed
scrap materials in equal amounts. Regular
safety scissors outdoor garden soil may


12 101+ Ways to Keep Kids Busy

not be able to hold mois- different kinds of cheese Cardboard Boats
ture, so be careful that you such as Mozzarella, Brick, What you need:
use soil that will help Swiss, or Edam. cardboard tubes from
plants grow.
Let the children taste each paper towels, wax
What you need one, comparing color, paper, toilet paper, etc.
cotton, yarn, sand taste, and appearance. glue
newspaper or paper towel “Swiss cheese has holes.” straws
water “Mozzarella is white.” scraps of colored paper
containers “Cheddar is yellow.” paints, crayons
seeds safety scissors
Broiler Sandwiches
What and how to What you do:
plant For something different Cut the cardboard tubes in
For rapid growth try you can broil or bake open- half lengthwise to make
grass seeds. Lettuce faced sandwiches. The two separate boats. Cut
grows quickly, but children can help put them paper or plastic straws in
does not do well in together. various lengths. Have the
hot sun. Bean seeds children cut various sizes
grow fast and tall. They Some ideas: of triangles from the
can be grown in moist • Peanut butter and colored paper or cut and
cotton, yarn, a paper towel, color white paper. Glue the
or a piece of newspaper. honey triangles to the straws and
Once the plants have • Cold cuts, cheese, and the straws to the bottom of
sprouted, they will need to the boats. The children
be replanted in soil in a tomato may want to paint or color
container. Water when dry, • Cheese, olive, and crisp the cardboard tube before
but not too much. the sails are glued to the
bacon boat. You may also want to
Carrot, beet, and pineapple • Cheese in cookie cutter glue a half circle to each
tops can be placed in a end of the tube.
shallow container of water shapes
to grow. Let them stand a Busy Boxes and
few days after cutting The children can arrange Busy Bags
before placing in water. It the ingredients on the (helping children be
is often difficult to get bread. creative)
them to grow in dirt. “What can I do?” is a
You do the next part. Bake question every caregiver
Shake a Pudding or broil the sandwiches in and parent has heard many
1. Pour 1 cup milk and a 3- the oven. Cool before times. Actually, children
ounce package of instant serving. can do lots of things at
pudding mix into a jar. little cost if simple, every-
2. Put jar top on very tight. Encourage children to day items—even pieces of
3. Hold with two hands clean up work area and junk that usually get tossed
and shake. table after eating. They away—are made available
4. Pour into bowls. learn important self-help to them.
skills and cooperation from
Tasting Party these kinds of activities. A great idea is to divide
Taste different cheeses by collections of such odds
having a tasting party. and ends into “busy boxes”
Include two or three or “busy bags.” For ex-
ample, children of all ages


13 101+ Ways to Keep Kids Busy

are delighted with a Halloween A good idea is to prepare
container of: sick day one box in advance and, as
snow time children start using it, start
• odds and ends of birthday making another box. This
colored paper May Day way there will always be
rainy day one busy box or bag
• old greeting cards Thanksgiving available at all times.
• pipe cleaners Easter
• cotton Valentine’s Day Remember, too, that
• string playmate day children will need a place
• cardboard rolls from to work.
Even a box for:
kitchen or bathroom Some items everyone
• tissue paper cooking might begin saving are:
• wrapping paper painting
dress-up milk cartons
leftovers clay aluminum foil pans
• used ribbons and bows sewing magazines with color
• cotton cardboard sculpturing
• paper doilies tracing and coloring pictures
• egg cartons assorted blocks pizza cardboards
• clean plastic meat trays bottles yarn
• several magazines pie pans buttons
• paste and glue other aluminum items small empty bottles and
• nontoxic paints
• a “clean-up” cloth or Groups of caregivers and/ boxes
or parents can find it rick-rack, ribbon, scraps
paper toweling helpful to spend some time
• safety scissors sharing ideas on: of fabric
• crayons, pencils, sandpaper
• what kinds of boxes to plastic spoons
markers provide old greeting cards
oatmeal boxes
Every box, regardless of its • what to put into each old socks
purpose, should contain the box nails, screws, bolts
last five items. brown paper bags
• how children can use corks, sponges, magnets
Neighbors and grandpar- each box empty shoe polish bottles
ents are usually happy to popsicle sticks
give caregivers and parents cardboard tubing
their “junk,” making it straws
possible for caregivers to old pots and pans
provide busy boxes for any measuring cups
season or special event: rolling pin
potato masher, egg beater
cookie cutters
vegetable and juice cans

(no sharp edges)
dress-up clothes
old clock that ticks
wallpaper scraps


14 101+ Ways to Keep Kids Busy

plastic flowers
coffee cans and lids
baby food jars and lids

(Due to choking hazards,
the busy box activity is not
intended for children under
three years of age.)

Bead Strings or storage cans. (Due to You might want to give the
What you need: choking hazard, this children a few approved
safety scissors activity is not intended for choices or you make the
paints children under three years choices and the children
string or yarn of age.) select the days. Then refer
cardboard tubes to your week’s calendar/
Design a Sandwich chart to help the children
(from paper towel or Instead of plain old peanut develop time concepts and
toilet paper rolls) butter and jelly, let chil- reading skills.
large macaroni dren decorate their sand-
wiches. Use a saucer to Make a Sandwich Filling
What to do: trace and cut a “face” from When a young child
Cut cardboard tubes into a slice of bread (save the prepares a simple sandwich
various lengths. Have the cut-away bread to make filling, he learns to:
children paint the tubes and crumbs). Bread can be cut
macaroni. When dry, they into shapes with cookie Plan ahead and organize
can string their cardboard cutters or into triangles, Measure ingredients
tube and macaroni “beads” squares or rectangles. Then See different forms of
on the string or yarn. spread on peanut butter or
cheese spread and deco- food
Bead String Games rate. Older children can Make something good
Sequencing and color squirt designs with soft- Clean up after himself
matching games can be ened cheese spread from a
played using the strings of pastry tube onto the bread. Filling:
beads. 1/2 cup drained, flaked
Using the same colors as Carrot curls, apple slices, tuna OR 3 hard-cooked
those on the homeade raisins, banana slices, eggs
beads, draw color patterns cheese squares and tri- 2 tbsp. mayonnaise
on pieces of cardboard . angles, pickle and olive chopped olives, celery, or
For instance, red, red, blue, slices, slices of cucumber, pickles (optional)
blue, etc. Have the children or radishes. salt and pepper
make the same pattern with
their beads on their string. What’s for Snack? Children can peel eggs,
Some children may want to Let the children plan chop ingredients with a
draw their own patterns on snack. Make a chart of the blunt knife, mix them
the cardboard to make their days of the week. Write in together, and spread on
own games. the name of the snack and bread to make a sandwich.
add a picture of the snack. Encourage them to clean
The children can also make up when done.
necklaces, bracelets and
other jewelry. Keep the
beads and strings in boxes


15 101+ Ways to Keep Kids Busy

Story Time Add a Story Television Can Be
Children love to listen to Begin a story and let each More Fun
stories and talk about them. child add to the story. Use some of the story
It is important to read to Watch how ideas, charac- activities for television
children every day. ters, and places change. programs that the children
This helps children de- watch. Ask them: “What
Your local library is a good velop creativity, improves would you do if you were
source for books. If pos- their ability to use oral in that television pro-
sible, take the children to language, and learn to gram?” Some children may
visit the library. They can cooperate with others. want to pretend that they
choose books to read. The are on television when
children’s librarian can Draw a Story acting out a story.
help find books that are Give each child paper,
right for their age. Some crayons, paints, markers, Eat a Snack You Have
children will be able to or pencils. Let the children Read About
choose their own books. draw some of the scenes Plan snacks that relate to
and characters they liked in books the children enjoy.
Give the children a chance the story. Ask children to
to look at books, turn talk about their drawings Blue Berries For Sal—
pages, and look at the with the other children. blueberry muffins
pictures. Older children Stone Soup—vegetable
can read to younger Let’s Pretend soup
children. After you read a Have some of the children Little Red Hen—bread and
story, talk about it with the act out a familiar story that butter
children. you have read. If they Bread and Jam For
really like the story, they Frances—bread and jam
End the Story may want to make masks,
Read part of a story and or if a dress-up corner is Encourage Good
ask the children to make up available, dress up like Snack Habits
their own ending. They some of the characters. Children need regular
may want to develop new snacks and meals each day.
characters and places and Pack a Snack Serve nutritious snacks
even combine another Planning a field trip? Take with the same routines as
story they know. You may along a simple snack, such mealtimes. Have the
want to make up a story as orange juice and celery children sit down to eat,
and let the children give it sticks. Take along an old not eat on the run. (Eating
a new ending. sheet or light blanket for a on the run is not healthy or
place to sit while they are safe for children or adults.)
After Reading a Story, eating their snacks. Use meal and snack times
Ask Questions to introduce new foods.
Have the children talk Never make a snack a
about the sequence of the reward for good behavior.
story. Use a story to
introduce new words, Pretend You Are
ideas, or an activity. Some Popcorn
children might like to bring Children like creative
a book from home and movements. First pretend
share it with the other they are little kernels of
children. corn. Then they begin to
sizzle, sizzle, and then
POP! They jump up as


16 101+ Ways to Keep Kids Busy

larger pieces of popcorn. All of these are potatoes: Then crack open 5 or 6
The next step is to be a salt Idaho potato eggs, add salt and pepper,
shaker or melted butter. red potato and beat. Cook in an
sweet potato electric skillet. Compare
Fruit and Vegetable new potato the raw egg and the
Display scrambled eggs. Talk about
Set up an interesting Paper Bags for Puppets what you did to make them
display for children to and Masks different. Taste the scram-
explore. Small paper bags can be bled eggs. (Never taste or
used to make hand pup- eat raw eggs.)
On a low table, shelf, pets. The children can
bench, or even on the floor, draw faces on them or glue Stick Puppets
set up a display of several on scraps of paper to make Materials:
fruits and vegetables with a different puppets. stick
common theme. Print a pencil
sign that tells how they are Larger paper bags can be straw
alike. used to make masks. The paper
bag can be cut and deco- safety scissors
All of these are red on the rated in many ways. paints and crayons
outside: strip of heavy cardboard
tomatoes Fill a paper bag with small strips of wood
apples newspaper. Tie the open ruler
radishes end around a stick with cardboard
beets string to make a stick glue
puppet. The children can
All of these grew make these in different Children can draw a face,
under the sizes and shapes. figure, or animal on paper
ground: and glue it on a stick. They
potatoes Fabric scraps can be used can make more than one
radishes to make costumes for the and use them to tell a story
carrots puppets. or put on a play. They can
beets cut pictures out of maga-
Play Restaurant zines and glue these to the
All of these are Make your own props or sticks. Yarn or crayons can
apples: visit a restaurant or fast be used to make hair.
red apple food store and ask for Paints or crayons can be
green apple used to create many
yellow apple cups, empty different kinds of puppets.
boxes, hats,
Stage for Finger
bags, menus, Puppet Play
and other Large cardboard boxes
items. Set make excellent stages for
these up so children to perform finger
the children plays after creating their
can pretend to puppets. Cut a section out
be customers or of the bottom so that
restaurant workers. children can reach through
with their puppets. They
Scrambled Eggs can make curtains or other
Crack open an egg, put it
in a bowl, and pass it
around for everyone to see.


17 101+ Ways to Keep Kids Busy

decorations for the front of and have them collect targets. The ring should be
the “stage.” If you do not interesting items, such as 2 to 3 inches larger than
have a cardboard box, any small rocks, leaves, pine the target. Milk cartons can
flat surface can be used. cones, or sticks. When they also be used as targets for
return home, have them bean bag games. The
If there is a finger play or talk about what they children can throw the bags
song the children like, they collected. They can glue into the cartons. Cartons
can make puppets to use some of the items to a can be stacked in various
when singing or perform- piece of cardboard or put heights and knocked down
ing the finger play. the items in a shoe box. A by throwing the bean bags.
nature walk is a good time Encourage children to
Finger Puppets to talk about outdoor develop their own games
Use washable markers to safety. and rules. Activities like
draw a face on one or more these are fun for many
fingers. Teach children to Ring Toss, Bean Bag, children, including older
use only materials that Racket and Hoop ones.
wash off easily. Games
What you need: Racket and Hoop
Tape a piece of paper heavy cardboard Games
around one or more fin- safety scissors Bend the hook of a wire
gers. The children can paint and brushes clothes hanger so that it
draw a face on the paper milk cartons makes a small circle. Tape
and have the puppets talk bean bags the end so that it does not
to each other. clothes hanger hurt the hand. Shape the
tape body of the hanger into a
Fingers from old gloves nylon stocking large circle or oval. Slip a
can be cut and decorated to nylon stocking over the
create slip-on puppets. What you do: body of the hanger until it
People or animals can Cut rings from heavy fits tightly. Since the
“come alive” with a child’s cardboard. Let the children stocking surface is going to
imagination. paint them. An empty soda be used to hit small light
can or a stick placed a few objects it must be as tight
Various shapes and sizes feet away can be used as a as possible. Use “twist
of heavy cardboard can target for ring toss games. ‘ems” to secure the stock-
also be used. Two holes for Some children might want ing and cover with tape.
fingers will allow children to make their own games Electrical or masking tape
to use their fingers for legs. and rules. works best.
This is an activity that
older children may enjoy More Ring Toss and Give the children light
doing with younger Bean Bag Activities weight bean bags, sponges,
children who are Save empty milk cartons or light weight balls to hit
not able to use back and forth with their
scissors to cut for the children to deco- rackets.
the cardboard. rate and use for
either the ring Remove the stocking from
Nature Walk toss or bean the hanger and use it for
Plan a nature bag games. hoop games. It can be hung
walk. Have the Make from a tree to make a
children talk about various moving target, held by a
what they might see. sizes of child from any distance, or
Give each child a bag rings for hung like a basketball
different size


18 101+ Ways to Keep Kids Busy

hoop. If a child holds the an opportunity to talk play. Use a hose or a
hoop, be sure that it is at about the changes in the sprinkler for children to
arm-length and that the cardboard and how it run through the spray.
object to be thrown is soft happened. You can help Children must be closely
and does not have any the children dispose of the supervised at all times
jagged edges. cardboard after they have around water. Children
finished playing with it. usually love to play in the
Like the ring toss and bean water, but some children
bag games, children can Let’s Make a Tent may not want to get wet.
make their own rules and Use old sheets or blankets Remember to plan all
games. These games can be to make tents. Hang some activities with the children
made out of many items clothesline or thin rope in mind. If one child does
that you might normally between two poles or trees. not want to play in the
throw out. If you do not Secure the bottom with water, try to plan another
have the items handy, ask small sticks or rocks. If activity for him to enjoy.
parents to bring some you use old sheets or Forcing or embarrassing
things from home. blankets, the children can children to participate will
draw or cut holes for
Cardboard Houses and windows. Tents can be create
Villages used for many different more
Cardboard boxes of all play activities. fear and
sizes allow children almost break
limitless play activities and Painting Rocks down the
experiences. Small boxes Smooth rocks provide a trusting
can become cars, trains, good surface for the relationship
boats, the beginning of a children to create a picture you are trying
house or some other using tempera paint. If the to build with
building. Larger boxes may rock absorbs the paint, put the children in
be available by contacting a coat of clear varnish on your care.
a local appliance or depart- the surface before the
ment store. These boxes children begin to paint. Sand Toys
can be used to make a After the children complete Plastic and wooden
house. More than one box their picture, use clear spoons, pots and pans,
can be used to make a varnish or fingernail polish metal spoons, and many
village. Make sure that all to protect the paint- inside toys can be used for
sharp objects like staples ing as well as to
and wood are removed give the rock a
before children begin to glossy finish.
play. You can cut windows The painted
and doors. The children rock can be
will love to paint them. used as a
The only thing that makes weight for
cardboard a short-term play a gift. Rock
item is the weather. Rain painting is an
will reduce the boxes to activity for all ages.
paper in a matter of min- Give it a try.
utes, but children will
enjoy them while they last. Outside Water Play
If the rain does damage the The warm summer months
play house, don’t pass up are great for outside water


19 101+ Ways to Keep Kids Busy

playing in sand. You can Catch the Rabbit Number Puzzles
remind the children that “1-2-3-4-5.” What you need:
some toys will be ruined if (pop up fingers on the right stiff cardboard
used in the sand. Try hand) safety scissors
making some sand toys. “I caught a rabbit alive.” marker
Cut a large plastic milk jug “6-7-8-9-10.” ruler
in half. Put tape on any (pop up fingers on the left
rough edges. Half can be hand) What you do:
used as a funnel and half as “I let it go again.” Cut the cardboard into
a bucket. “Why did you let it go?” squares or rectangles—all
“Because it bit my finger the same size. Use a
Children enjoy wet sand. A so.” marker to write a large
variety of sizes and shapes “Which finger did it bite?” number on each piece of
of plastic containers can be “The little one on my cardboard. For the number
used to make wet sand right.” 1, you will not do any
molds. (wiggle little finger on cutting. For all the other
right hand) numbers, use a ruler to
Sand Boxes or Sand divide the cardboard into
Piles Number Walk sections. For example,
You do not need to buy a A walk around the there should be 2 sections
sand box for sand play. An neighborhood can be a fun for the number 2, 3 for
old tire filled with sand time to use numbers. number 3, etc. This activity
makes a great sand box. If Children can count houses, will help the children
you are able to buy or get cars, trees, people ... understand the number and
some lumber, you can almost anything. allow them to count pieces
make a box to hold sand. of the puzzle that equal that
You can also dig a shallow Number Footsteps number.
hole that sand can be What you need:
dumped in. These “sand cardboard A Calendar for All
box” ideas will help you marker Seasons
and the children keep the safety scissors Make a large piece of
sand in one area and make cardboard into a calendar.
it last longer. Be sure to What you do: Paint or cover the card-
have a protective cover for Trace children’s footprints board with paper and mark
your sand box. on the cardboard and cut it off as a calendar. Num-
them out. Number the bers can be made or cut out
Set rules before children footprints and arrange of an older calendar and
play in the sand area. Make them on the floor so that pinned or taped on day by
sure the rules you set are children will have to day. This is an excellent
realistic for the age of the follow a sequence. You way for children to learn
children. Not throwing can increase the the months of the year,
sand is very realistic and number of
important. Most children footsteps as days of the week, and
can understand this rule. children numbers. A record of
However, telling children begin to
not to get their hands dirty understand
or sand in their clothes is larger
not realistic; most of the numbers.
time it is impossible.
Hands and clothes can be
washed after sand play.


20 101+ Ways to Keep Kids Busy

the weather can be kept by paper. Glue circles to paper a colorful decoration
having small symbols to make snowmen. Make for a holiday or special
represent weather condi- faces, hats, and scarves occasion.
tions: a sun, raindrop, from the other shapes.
cloud, umbrella, snow- Paper Mache
flake, etc. This is a good activity for What you need:
children to practice cutting. newspaper
Winter Mobile They can review shapes, wallpaper paste or
An easy-to-make mobile colors, and talk about size.
can be fashioned by homemade paste
bending up the ends of a 3-D Trees
coat hanger. The children What you need: What to do:
can make a variety of tree pattern Tear the newspaper into
things to be hung by string green construction paper strips and soak in a con-
or ribbons, like a pencil tainer of water for 24
snowman, a snowflake, a safety scissors hours.
sled, and a snow shovel. glue
Pictures of winter scenes cotton balls, glitter, paper Mash the paper into a
can be cut from magazines, pulpy mass and squeeze
pasted on construction scraps out excess water. Mix with
paper, and hung on the paste. This mixture can be
mobile. What to do: molded into a variety of
Fold paper in half. Trace objects. The children can
Dress Yourself for and cut evergreen shapes paint their paper mache
Winter out of paper. You will need objects after they are
Have the children lie on a three shapes for each tree. completely dry.
large piece of paper such Glue two of the tree shapes
as wrapping paper. Draw together on one side only. Homemade paste
an outline around each Do the same with the third Mix 3 tablespoons flour
child’s body. Let each tree shape. You will now with 1 pint water and boil
child dress himself or have a 3-D tree that will until consistency of heavy
herself for winter, using stand up. Glue pieces of cream. Add 1/2 teaspoon
crayons or paints to draw cotton or other trims to salt and mix.
what to wear. Remind decorate trees.
children that we need to Candle Holder
dress warmly, which Paper Chains To make a candleholder,
means wearing hats, gloves Cut strips of colored paper. glue small pieces of
or mittens, boots, etc. The children can glue these colored paper to a bottle.
together in circles to make Another idea is to mix
Shape Snowmen paper chains. They make Elmer’s glue with a little
What you need: water, dip construction
white and colored paper paper or tissue paper into
safety scissors the mixture, and stick it to
glue the bottle. Or tear bits of
crayons or markers masking tape and put them
on the bottle. Paint or use
What to do: shoe polish to add color.
Cut circles out of the white For a finished look, paint
paper. Cut various small with a coat of shellac or
squares, triangles, and varnish.
rectangles out of colored


21 101+ Ways to Keep Kids Busy

Pencil Holder container or plastic bag in on the neck of the jar. If
Glue a paper cup to a piece the refrigerator. you do not have a narrow
of wood. Paint and then neck jar, put toothpicks in
decorate with small bits of The children can make the potato—four or five
wrapping paper or small objects and allow them to will do—and rest the
pictures from old greeting harden. Beads are easy to toothpicks on the top of the
cards. make and can be strung on jar. Make sure that water is
a string or yarn. Roll into always touching the potato.
Cornstarch Clay any size of ball or other The potato will start to
What you need: desired shape. Before the vine in 2 to 3 weeks. Some
1 cup cornstarch mixture hardens, poke a people have been able to
2 cups salt hole through the middle plant the potato vine in soil
1-1/2 cups cold water with a nail, knitting needle, and have the plant grow.
food coloring (optional) or other slim object. When
mixing bowl the beads harden, the Avocado plants
children can paint and Starting an avocado plant
What you do: string them. is very similar to starting a
Put salt, food coloring, and potato. Be careful when
2/3 cup of water in a Sawdust Clay you peel the avocado so
saucepan and boil. Mix the What you need: that you do not damage the
cornstarch and the remain- 2 cups sawdust pit. Allow the pit to “rest”
ing water and stir well. Put 3 cups flour for a few days before
the two mixtures together 1 cup salt putting into water. The fat
and knead like bread water, as needed part of the pit is the bottom
dough. The finished clay and this should be resting
can be used by the children What you do: in water. This is done by
like regular clay. Store in a Mix the dry materials putting toothpicks around
covered container in the together. Add water until the middle of the pit. Make
refrigerator. The children the mixture is moist, but sure that the bottom is the
can mold different objects not wet. This clay dries only part in water. Roots
and paint them after they very hard and is good for will start to form in a few
have dried. modeling and painting. weeks and then the pit can
be placed in soil. Make
Play Dough Potatoes and sure the soil is appropriate
What you need: Avocado Pits for plants. Potting soil is
1-1/2 cups flour Potatoes and the pits of best. Place the bottom half
1/2 cup salt avocados can be rooted in of the pit in the soil. Water
1/2 cup water water and then planted. lightly and keep moist, but
1/4 cup vegetable oil or a Both make nice house not wet. In a month you
plants. will have the beginning of
few drops of liquid
detergent Potato plants an avocado tree. To
food coloring (optional) Select a potato encourage full
with eyes. One that growth you may
What you do: has begun to want to “pinch”
Mix the flour with the salt. develop shoots is the main shoot
Add the water, oil (or best. If you have a when it is about
detergent), and food narrow neck glass jar 6 inches tall.
coloring. Knead the you can fill the jar with
mixture as if it were bread water and rest the potato
dough. Store in a covered


22 101+ Ways to Keep Kids Busy

Good Ideas


23 101+ Ways to Keep Kids Busy

James E. Van Horn

Lyn C. Horning

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