As a parent of two boys under ten years, I am always looking for fun, hands-on, educational activities to keep them engaged during vacation weeks. Here are five of our low-cost boredom busters your kids will be sure to enjoy!
#1 DIY Mystery Maker Kits
These are brown lunch bags filled with a variety of materials for my
boys to build, create and use their imagination. One of my favorite places to shop for Mystery Maker Kit materials is a dollar store. I like to include pipe cleaners, cotton balls, clothesline clips, masking tape, construction paper, nylon rope, paper clips, craft sticks, elastics, etc. You’ll be amazed to see what they will create!
#2 Think Outside the Box!
Have you ever given a child a gift and they show more interest in the box than the actual gift? Children of all ages love playing with boxes. For infants and toddlers, the sensorimotor play with them includes opening, closing, touching, mouthing, etc. As they get older, boxes to play with allow for endless creatively and imagination. Start saving boxes or ask your local hardware or appliance store for an empty box. We’ve even bought a wardrobe box at moving supply stores to create boats, rockets and cool forts!
#3 Marshmallow Structures
So to be honest, I know a lot of the marshmallows get eaten during this activity. I give them mini marshmallows and toothpicks and a challenge like a structure that measures at least twelve inches from top to bottom (this way we get some math/measurement learning in there too).
#4 Cup Towers
OK, this one is super basic, but by far, one of their favorites. We take out our storage bin of paper cups and they work together (sometimes) to build the tallest tower using only the cups. I wish I thought of this years ago because I could have saved so much money at the toy stores!
#5 Catapult Madness
Because my boys have seen and explored with a lot of the activities I facilitate in our Science on the Go! program, they know how to make some really cool catapults! I provide them with a handful of materials like plastic spoons, craft sticks, elastics, tape and pom-poms, to name a few and challenge them to create the best catapult design to launch pom-poms at the target (usually a paper plate or bowl). If you’re not familiar with how catapults work, Google them to learn about the necessary pieces like the fulcrum. It’s a great opportunity to strengthen their vocabulary. And don’t stop there…explore simple machines like pulleys or levers. You will be surprised how many you can find around your home!
Kristian Cannizzo, Education Coordinator, is responsible for The Children’s Museum’s educational enrichment and outreach program – Science On The Go! She also designs and teaches STEM programs, babysitting classes and other programs for young learners at the Museum. Krissy has a Bachelor’s of Science in Child Study with a concentration in Family Studies from the University of New Hampshire and over fifteen years of experience working with children as an educator and child care director locally and nationally for the CWLA in Washington, DC. She is the mother of two active young boys
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