Children are the most curious beings. They are constantly asking questions and love to explore the world around them. Sometimes we parents actually need to refer to books and the internet to come up with an answer. Like for example, on our recent trip to Goa, my 7-year-old asked me as to how are waves formed? And I actually had to google it to be able to answer her correctly. It always amazes me as to how minutely children notice things.
With this ever-exploring mind of theirs, it is not easy to keep them busy all the time at home. Especially kids around 3 to 7-year olds, who specifically have a lesser attention span. So here I am listing a few motor and sensory activities that have helped me keep my kids busy and get my work done!!
INTERESTING & ENGAGING ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS 3-8 YEARS AND OLDER:
Flash cards/ memory games- along with being the most simple and versatile teaching aids, flash cards are a great way to keep the kids busy. There is a huge variety of flash cards available in the market or you can DIY them too. Start with flash cards of objects like fruits, vegetables, animals etc. and then go on to matching cards like front and back, opposites etc. Flash cards aid memory and active recall. They are inexpensive, portable and make learning easy and fun. Oh, and they need to be as colourful as possible to grab their attention. These boost memory, concentration, teaches them strategy and helps improve their reflexes.
Building blocks/ inter- linking toys– are the best constructive play. And one can never have enough of these. So many different shapes, sizes, colours, patterns to keep your child engaged. The same goes for inter- linking toys. I myself have different types of these. Hand them some and see their imagination grow. They will surprise you with what they can create. Great tool to spark their imagination, creativity and motor skills.
Board games and puzzles- mainly aiming at logical reasoning, motor skills, hand eye coordination and problem-solving skills, board games are my second most favourite activity for my kids. Snakes and ladders, Ludo, monopoly, chess etc. Start with bigger puzzle pieces or pieces with pegs to make handling easy and gradually move towards smaller pieces and difficult ones. Apart from teaching to sit at one place and strategy, these also help in building up patience. Which is an important attribute we all need to learn.
Painting- kids love colours. And painting alone can offer a wide range of activities. Crayons, pencil colours, water colours or paints, whatever your child likes and a blank sheet is all that you need. There is no right way of painting, there is only one’s own way. See how your child pours out his imagination and creativity on that blank paper. You can also use other aids to maintain their interest like finger painting, vegetable painting, sponge painting, stamping, spray painting, thread painting and the list is endless. This is a great sensory teaching aid as well. And as your child gets the hang of it, you can start with colouring within lines, shapes etc. Painting forces the brain to think and create along with improving touch sensation and concentration.
Play dough- this is something adored by kids of all ages. My 7-year-old still loves playing with her play dough. In fact, this is the only thing that is never out of stock in the house. These days various themed sets are available in the market. But even a rolling pin, few cookie cutters and craft scissors can suffice the need. Help your kids recreate anything and everything that they want. From making simple alphabets and numbers, fruits, vegetables to complex ones like a car or an ice cream, or even an animal figure, play doh will keep them busy for hours. This is my go-to option whenever I need to finish up my pending work. And for children under 5 years, parental supervision is needed.
Activities to Boost Your Child’s Developmental SkillsPlease select the age group of your child
Gardening/ sand play- This is one activity I believe kids of all ages should do. One of the best sensory activities and close to nature as well. Both my kids are big fans of sand play. It is that one activity we do every single day. And thankfully we have 2 sand pits in our society park, so no mess at home. Just hand them their sand toys and watch them be busy for hours. I mean you will actually have to drag them from the sand pit. It helps develop sense of texture, grips & grasps, proprioceptive sense and constructional ability. Building structures in sand or simply writing letters and numbers, can go a long way in developing social skills, communication skills and language. Similarly gardening. I mean they won’t know the exact steps that have to be followed, but they can surely help you with adding the soil, seeds and watering the plants. It has been around a year that I have assigned the watering the plant chore to my now 7-year-old. And the younger one who is 27 months old tags along too. Just that he uses a spray bottle. This way they get to be close to nature, learn how to care for the plants which will eventually be of help in developing compassion and empathy and they get some time for sibling bonding too. And I get to sip on some much-needed hot tea as well. ‘Kill two (or maybe more than two) birds with one stone”.
A child’s brain undergoes maximum development during the initial 5 years of age. This is the period when the brain develops its numerous neural pathways and connections. The resulting network is the foundation for various skills that a person develops through the rest of his/ her life. We can help spark this development with certain fun games and activities. As i read somewhere- ” When you use your imagination with your child, you help his brain make imagination pathways of its own”.
About The Author
Gayatri is from Pune. A fauji brat and now a fauji wife. Professionally a Community Rehabilitation Physiotherapist, but now a happy SAHM to Saanvi (7 years old) and Anay (27 months old). Being a SAHM gave her the opportunity to connect with a passion for blogging and motherlymess.com. My blog is my space, where I share my thoughts on parenting, lifestyle, product reviews and much more.