Since it is summer I’ve been keeping lessons simple and fun. I’ve been allowing for a more relaxed lesson based mindset that’s all about going over the basics to make sure my oldest is fully Kindergarten ready, and that my youngest is being exposed to important basic skills. We also lost power a few times over the last few weeks so we’ve just been finding things to do to stay busy and learn in fun hands on way that doesn’t feel like learning.
I’m sure you’ve read or heard many times Play-Doh is a great fine motor activity. I know I have, even with that info I have to admit a terrible secret I hate Play-Doh it’s messy and it dries up and my daughters mix all the colors together. If I’m being honest the neurotic over paranoid neat freak in me dreads Play-Doh time because it’s messy and my youngest wants to eat everything. So of course I have to be on high alert and not take my eyes off her for a single second. Now your probably asking why would you share playing with Play-Doh as as simple fun learning activity if you hate it so much? The answer my kids love it, it keeps them entertained and I’m able to talk about shapes, colors, and talk about brushing our teeth and why with the silly head guy. I try to incorporate a Play-Doh activity once a week minimum.
When I don’t feel like going by a rigid lesson plan sometimes I just draw shapes for my youngest as my oldest draws whatever she wants. Then I cut out the shapes as I say their names several times and randomly glue them onto a page, then my youngest tries to rip the shapes off. A fine motor activity. When dealing with a four year age gap, I have to stay patient and diligent, as I continue to find activities to do with both my daughter’s at the same time.
When my oldest was around the age of one and half I never would have brought out cookie cutters to trace with, I was super paranoid I never had given her toys to play with that weren’t for children under the age of three. Being as my youngest at one and a half has an older sister who has tons of toys for different ages, I’m more laid back only because she’s exposed to it. I’m still the same paranoid mom I was before, only now it’s much more difficult to keep things away from her when her older sister is bringing all the stuff out. If her sister is doing something she wants to be involved therefore she’s always right there in the middle of it all when we do arts and crafts using cookie cutters to trace with.
With my daughter starting Online Kindergarten in September my husband and I have been working on setting up a quiet place for her to do her online lessons. We determined it would be best in her bedroom that way we could store all the books we have to return in a safe place away from our youngest otherwise they wouldn’t be returnable. In order to get a desk in her room we had to do some rearranging and decided to get rid of her Barbie House in her bedroom and replace it in the future with a different dollhouse that she’ll be getting for Christmas. I took all the Barbie furniture that house came with and stuffed it into the dollhouse we have upstairs. For over a year now we’ve had it up against a wall and the dollhouse side unusable to save on space. They both enjoyed playing with the dollhouse together.
My oldest brought out the linking blocks and colorful fidget spinners and began sorting them by color. After my oldest grew bored of the activity that left my youngest and I to play around with the blocks. I would place one inside the slipper and say purple block in the slipper, then I’d take it out and say purple block out of the slipper. Sometimes simple is enough when it comes to laying the basic building blocks of education.
It’s not often my youngest wakes up before my oldest. Yesterday she had because our power went out and that meant that I was unable to use the baby monitor to check up on her. Being an over paranoid parent I opened the door to check in on her and she woke up. It gave us some time just the two of us to explore and play.
We played with stacking rings, talked about colors and size; big, small pertaining to the size of the rings. We also played with Mrs. Potato head and I asked her to tell me what each body part was called as she put Mrs. Potato head back together. I also read Learning Colors with Nana Hedgehog to her as she played with different color hedgehogs and I helped her give each Hedgehog their correct color matching snack. She made eating noises and laughed as we fed each Hedgehog.
Hopefully some of these simple fun play based educational activities will either give you more engaging ideas to incorporate in your day or remind you of simple things you’ve already done to do again with your young learners. (I am a participant in Amazon Affiliates and any qualifying purchases made through links above I may earn a commission on at no extra cost to you.)