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Entertaining pre-school children in the credit crunch - please come and add your own ideas

(36 Posts)
BennyAndJoon Fri 05-Jun-09 13:08:34

I had a 2 year old and a 4 year old happy as larry for over an hour in the garden yesterday.

2 large plastic cups full of plain old water and 2 old paint brushes. They "painted" the walls, ground and fence outside, followed by all of the garden toys.

The concrete flags were a particular hit, as they give a good colour change when wet.

BlueBumedFly Fri 05-Jun-09 15:08:07

My DD and I (2 years) put on a music CD (her age group of course) and get out all the musical instruments we can find around the house including made up ones like saucepans and spoons and march up and down the hall doing the silliest walks possible singing at the top of our voices. Passes an hour....

SammyK Fri 05-Jun-09 15:39:42

Open a cupboard, watch all the toys fall out that they were bought for xmas and tell them you are throwing them out as they don't get played with. wink

Lizzylou Fri 05-Jun-09 15:45:26

Cut up old catalogues/magazines/birthday cards for collages

The DS's spent an hour painting outside on sunday (with paints, not water, sat up at the garden table), they would only have spent about 10minutes indoors before getting bored normally. I think they were hot and enjoying the parasol and a bit of peace.

Car boot sales, sell old toys and buy cheap as chips new ones.

ohdearwhatamess Fri 05-Jun-09 15:52:44

No use for today (pouring with rain here) fill trugs, buckets, any large vessel with water. Give toddler a watering can (ideally a really small one - takes longer). They fill watering can up with water and water the garden. Keeps ds1 amused for ages.

Tidy or clear out stuff. They rediscover forgotten toys and books and play with them. We've been doing this with books today.

Get them to help with dusting or polishing things.

Goblinchild Fri 05-Jun-09 18:37:58

I can't believe this is a serious thread. Are you really saying that in order to keep preschoolers happy and engaged, you need to spend money?

applepudding Fri 05-Jun-09 19:16:41

Sorry Goblinchild - don't understand your comment. Surely the thread is saying you don't need to spend money and asking others to pool their cost free ideas?

BlueBumedFly Fri 05-Jun-09 19:22:39

Goblinchild, you obviously misunderstood the OP, she is kindly generating lots of ideas the other people may not have previously thought of. Do you have any or did you just come to make trouble?

Lizzylou Fri 05-Jun-09 19:23:43

Had a bad day?

Goblinchild Fri 05-Jun-09 19:33:49

Didn't come to make trouble, and if the thread had been '
1001 ways to entertain pre-schoolers, add your own ideas' then I wouldn't have thought twice. A good idea.
It was the 'in the credit crunch' that irritated me.
I live and teach in a fairly wealthy area, where many parents seem to spend an enormous amount of money ensuring that their children whirl from club to activity to music lessons, karate to ballroom dancing. 24/7/365
The idea that they could just spend time with little Jocasta or Tarquin making something, or baking, walking or just messing around playing with themis an unconsidered thought.
So water play, musical pots and pans and collages are great, along with walking past roadworks, collecting bits and making tents with towels and chairs are all great ideas, and I'm sure they'll be more along soon.

funtimewincies Fri 05-Jun-09 19:40:04

An out-and-about one is to find out whether your area has a 'country park' type thing funded by the local authority. Ours is free to get into, has a few animals (guinea pigs, chickens, goats, even a Llama!) to goggle at, a play area and some nice short walks on toddler friendly paths. And you can get a carton of juice and a mini-milk ice lolly for under 50p grin.

Now that's a top day out to my 2 year old!

pipsy76 Fri 05-Jun-09 19:51:29

customizing large cardboard boxes in to rocket ships or boats is a popular theme with my DS, generally only requires pen, scissors and imagination!

Reesie Fri 05-Jun-09 20:33:44

I have fab neighbours. Their little girl is 6 and loves my 2 1/2 dd. She comes over after school most days and plays with dd in the garden for a couple of hours before tea is ready. Very cheap childcare and dd thinks next door's dd is wonderful. wink

BennyAndJoon Fri 05-Jun-09 23:46:18

Goblin - sorry you don't like my "credit crunch" reference. I don't "spend an enormous amount of money ensuring that their children whirl from club to activity to music lessons, karate to ballroom dancing. 24/7/365" and after the competitive parties thread I thought it might be nice to give people ideas they may not have thought of for neglectful independent play.

Hay ho

BennyAndJoon Fri 05-Jun-09 23:50:46

Oh - another one.

A roll of wallpaper lining paper for a couple of quid from B&Q or similar. Draw round children and allow them to colour in their outlines, or just make very big pictures.

((the other reason that I started this is that the 4 year old from next door only ever plays with bought toys as far as I can tell, and there is so much they will enjoy that doesn't involve pink plastic))

cheesesarnie Fri 05-Jun-09 23:52:50

we walk ,go to the beach and make sandcastle and jump waves.we face paint,make sock puppets,count pasta(entertains them for ages for some reason!grin),play the sock game-matching odd socks(helps me out!),plant seeds,drawing,junk modelling,puzzles,ummmm dunno.

BennyAndJoon Sat 06-Jun-09 00:01:24

Planting seeds was a great hit here too (just hope the fecking things grow now)

We are nowhere near a coast, so am envy at the beach

cheesesarnie Sat 06-Jun-09 00:09:50

make a beach-one of those garden on a tray things.but a beachgrinhere.

you could make tiny deckchair and go paddling with your fingersgrin

Cowwomanmoo Sat 06-Jun-09 00:45:13

This is really sad, at a kids party, total drained of all ideas, I had a standing on one leg competition, to see who can do it the longest, weirdly popular.
One Christmas, I watching a gang of 6 kids, all with new toys, arguing over who’s turn it was to wind up a salad spinner and watch it jiggle across the kitchen floor.
Back in the day, we used empty fag packets as star trek communicators.
But the prize goes too:
The trusty ‘fun stick’ it can be picked up from the ground from all good parks and wooded streets. I have found my self, sellotapeing a broken twig together for a crying child many many times.

Goblinchild Sat 06-Jun-09 08:19:34

Thanks for the explanation BennyAndJoon, now I understand the intention behind the thread much better.
Imagination-starved children are a b*gger to teach, and those obsessed with material possessions and who has/hasn't got them are a pain as well. So bring on the cardboard, sticks and woodlice hotels.
My son has AS, when he was a littlie he used to love making collections of shiny things into mobiles and hanging them up in the garden to watch them blow and sparkle. All those free CDs that you get in the post for various reasons, along with 'angel hair tinsel' and sweetie papers and such-like.

rasputin Sat 06-Jun-09 08:32:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BlueBumedFly Sat 06-Jun-09 08:59:04

Rasputin - sounds great, when can we come over wink

DD is currently sitting with DH on a free music website, not sure of the name but you can listen to ANY track you like and they have a children's section. They sit together on the computer (or puter as DD calls it - 25 months) and she picks out all the tracks she wants to sing along too. Currently on the Grand Old Duke of York. They sing and dance together in our tiny, weany cramped office and she totally loves it. Each track is available by about 10 different recording artists and she loves to play the same track by different people.... what can I say, music and dancing is her love. She sees it as a real treat to get DH or her (much) older sister all to herself for an hour of singing and dancing. The office is also DH's painting studio so there are many hazards that have to be avoided but it seems to make it all the more fun.

It is currently pouring with rain here - I am going to let them sing a while longer...they are on the Bear Went Over the Mountain with full actions... oh for a video camera ....

TrinityRhino Sat 06-Jun-09 09:02:45

noones allowed to pick on bennyandjoon
shes my mate grin wink

BennyAndJoon Sat 06-Jun-09 09:17:48

Hey TR smile

Hope you are doing OK.

I currently have a huge den in my living room, made of 2 double sheets suspended from various furniture. Entrance and egress is via a cardboard box with a door in each end. They are playing with an elastic band ball (our postie is good at letting us have handfulls of elastic bands) and playing "fetch". They have also played "throw the rolled up newspaper balls into the waste paper bin"

treacletart Sat 06-Jun-09 09:26:52

Used to spend ages with my Ds when he was little just visiting our nearest train station to look at the trains and go up and down in the lift. We would wave at the trains as they came in and the ultimate thrill was getting the driver to give him a toot as they drew in. A couple of times the guards let me travel backwards and forwards between the 2 nearest stations (3 min trip,frequent service and several bridges to go under) on the one return ticket and once they drew a smiley face on a blank ticket for DS too). I think the people that work on trains like to encourage train fascination in preschoolers.

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