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Monday, April 8, 2013

Mama on A Budget: Ask Mama Activities

Lets paint the yard

I was recently asked a question by a loyal reader (what, I have those?) about activities I do with the children when not using them as test subjects for my articles.  While I’m no “Dear Abby”, I thought it might be fun to respond to the question which came from Jillian:

“I follow you on Facebook and I think you do so many crafty activities could you share some with me”

I also got a couple other questions that I will work into future articles as well, but I really love this back-and-forth.  I’ve had people send me tweets, comment in the article, Facebook posts, or even stop me on the street to ask me “Mama” questions (creep much?).  As always, if I am unable to address your question, feel free to leave your suggestions for entertainment in the comments section of the article.

I try to keep Knox and Finley as busy as possible; this year has been particularly hard because of that lying Punxsutawney Phil and his longer-than-ever winter but now that it’s finally warming up, I can start to do some of my most favorite activities with them. 

I am sure by now my neighbors think I am nuts. I have been known to send my son out in the snow with a watering can filled with food coloring to “Paint” our yard. We also go on Easter egg hunts when its not Easter and sometimes we may or may not be looking for giant river monsters (they live by the park, FYI).  But here are some of my favorite (and so easy a “Cave-Mama” can do it) activities

Chalk Paint
Sidewalk paint: 1 part cornstarch (1 c.), 1 part water (1 c.), food coloring, sponge brushes, mix cornstarch and water, add food coloring and mix!
To make it less messy use a muffin tin and fill each hole with another color. I am pretty sure this entertained my son and my neighbor’s daughter for a long time. 

Garden Flower Play Dough
Play Dough: 1 c. water,3 c. flour,1 1/2 c. salt,1/4 c. oil, Green Food coloring
Combine ingredients in bowl and mix. Add more flour if mixture is too sticky. Store in a plastic zip-lock bag. Then all you do is go outside and collect flowers and rocks. The leaves have a wonderful spicy scent making them a good sensory addition, chopped up and added to the garden dough.

Scavenger Hunt
Knox seems to want to bring everything home he finds and now Finley, I am afraid, is following in his foot steps. She picks up and observes even the smallest rock and looks up at me and says “What is THAT”!  So now we do scavenger hunts. Typically I can just sit on my porch and name things off that I see for him to hunt for, or I draw a list because Knox can’t read just yet.   If you are feeling really adventurous, take them to the Tower Park Trails to hunt for all their treasures. Here is a great scavenger hunt list:

Race Track
Since some days are really rainy or cold I have turned the inside into a race track for matchbox toy cars. All you need is painter tape and an imagination. I have made a track that goes on to the floor to the couch and back. It keeps him concentrated and focused and quiet.  He seems to really enjoy this one and it’s one of the easier ones to pull off. 

Dirt Painting
It’s exactly how it sounds. All you need is water, a bowl, dirt and paper. Have your little one go and collect a bunch of dirt in their bowl. Then let them add water till it gets really messy. They will love this part. Then start painting. Its as easy as that and it seems to be a hit with little boys and girls.

I hope you have enjoyed some of these activities. If you have any questions for me feel free to comment or find me on Facebook or Twitter and we are now on Instagram- #FtThomasMatters.

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