Keeping Little Hands Busy, Part One

Keeping little hands busy is important so they don’t get into too much trouble.  Here are five ways to do that easily.

1. Coloring. Simple ideas are often the most effective. A stack of dollar store coloring books and a box of crayons will keep little hands busy. You may want to provide blank paper and assign your child to draw something such as her favorite food, what she wants for her birthday, or her favorite animal. Consider providing markers, colored pencils, and other coloring mediums to add variety. Do A Dots are also a great choice.

2. Make Cookie Dough. Here is a recipe that is easy and fun for little children:
  • 3 c. oatmeal
  • 1 1/2 c. flour
  • 1 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 c. butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  1. Children can do all the measuring since accuracy is not essential. Dump all ingredients into a large bowl. Mix thoroughly. Children can use their hands for this. The more you squeeze, punch, roll, and pound the dough the better the cookies will taste.
  2. Finally, roll the dough into small balls and bake on an ungreased cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

3. Silly Putty. You can find silly putty at your local dollar store. Children love to work with their hands and silly putty will provide plenty of play time squeezing, stretching, and squishing.

4. Play Doh. Provide a few cans if Play Doh and plenty of cookie cutters and tools. Old egg cartons make nice muffin trays for pretend Play Doh treats. Your child may want to pretend to make dinner, play restaurant, or cut out Play Doh cookies. Any Play Doh activity will keep little hands busy.

5. Measuring Cups. Provide a few bowls, different sized measuring cups, and beads, rice or oatmeal. Anything that can be scooped will work. This is messy so keep your table well covered. Have your children scoop from bowl to another. Simple, yet toddlers and preschoolers love it!