Aside from being a mom of 2 little girls, I once was a preschool teacher before I decided that being in charge of other people's children was just not for me.
I picked up a lot of stuff over that time about ways to fill the time.. here are some of my favorites.
1. Do a parade. There is nothing more entertaining to children that being handed an instrument and playing that instrument as loudly as possible. Put on some dress up clothes and hats and march around whatever room you are in and just let them have a ball. Obviously the more people the louder and better it will be :)
2. Make your own play dough. Kate Gosselin used an edible recipe on her show that I thought was awesome but I cannot remember it. I'm sure you can google it. But it works their fine-motor skills which during the preschool years is so important so they are strong enough to hold a pencil when the time comes.
3. Get Sugar Cookie dough from your local grocery store. You mix some eggs and water I think and roll it out. We've done this a couple of times. Once you mix it, roll out and get whatever kind of cookie cutters you have. We used Halloween, Christmas and Spring ones in February :) This could be done with the edible play dough as well. When finished let them decorate however they wish and they will be creative as well.
4. A sand/water table. We just recently purchased a small table from Walmart.com for the Nugget's birthday. We also bought water Barbies, and an Alex Fishing game to include with the table. It's an exploratory event. They can feel the water and/or sand and explore what those things do when they run in through a sifter or pack it into a bucket. The Barbies give them an opportunity to create their own water scenarios and the fishing practices their fine-motor skills. And when it's close to 100 degrees outside who doesn't love to get a little wet? :)
5. We love to feed the ducks around our house. At my college they have ducks, swans, etc. We took the girls one time and they were hooked. They thinks its fun plus there is a lesson in hospitality. One of our best memories was listening to Sugar Mama explain to the ducks that they had to share with the other ducks :)
6. A website that I came across years ago: www.enchantedlearning.com It has everything you could possibly want or need: art projects for all ages, healthy and fun snacks, lessons in select subjects, even handwriting activities for older children. It's free, but accepts donations to keep the sight up and running. It's organized into specific topics and was a great lifesaver when I had to come up with my own lesson plans. Of course you can also pick up books with various science and art ideas.
7. Check out your local library and/or Movie theater. Here both programs offer activities over the summer for free. The library has free story/music time usually followed by a craft or snack. And our movie theater offers a free movie Tuesday-Thursday before the regular theater opens. It's usually the movies that were opening last summer but we've caught great movies for free b/c we didn't see them the summer before. *If your local facilities don't provide these activities maybe you can be the local hero and suggest them* :)
7 in the number of completion so I leave you with those. I hope you have a wonderful summer!!
Today I am thankful for:
We have a play room that houses all of our wonderful activities... one stop shopping :)