IT’S HERE!!! A guide to help you start doing activities with your kids!
It includes all the things you should save & buy. Plus activities to do once you get set up and answers to common questions and concerns parents have when doing activities with their kids!
Have you seen all the fun kids activities on Instagram and Facebook groups and want to start doing some with your kids? Well, here is your guide to starting to do fun sensory, learning, fine motor and so many other activities with your baby, toddler, preschooler and kindergartner!
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I love my followers on Instagram!
Not only are they a positive bunch of people they also have such great ideas for blog posts! A follower recently asked me where I got all my supplies and then she said what she really needed was a “How to Start” post that outlined her activities shopping list!
And I thought to myself: YES! That would be such a helpful resource. One place you can go to find everything you need to get started doing all the fun ideas you see on Instagram and Pinterest. One post that will help you entertain your child for years from baby to toddler to preschooler and beyond!
Well, wait no further the “How to” for kids activities has arrived. So without further ado lets get you STARTED!
Scroll down to the end of this post to see the Full Shopping List!
The Best Kids Activities Supplies are “Free”
I have some good news! The best supplies that you will need to start doing activities with your kids are FREE! And you probably already have a ton of them in your recycling box right now!
I wrote a blog post where I highlighted all the recyclable items that can be saved and used for kids activities. Things such as cardboard boxes, squeeze pouch caps, toilet and paper towel tubes and more. For the full list of things you should save click this link: Recyclable Items to Collect for Kids Crafts and Activities.
We all know how amazing sensory activities are and how beneficial they are to the brain and language development of young children. Setting up a sensory bin activity is very easy. All you need is a container large enough to hold the sensory bin filler and one large enough for your little one to play in.
Generally, for sensory activities I use a large 41 Quart plastic storage container or a sensory table. You can get yours at Walmart or Target or Amazon, IKEA and similar retailers. If you can, find one with a lid. This will allow you to store the contents of the sensory bin when your child isn’t playing with it.
You can also make a sensory bin out of any container that will hold the filler and give your child room to play. A few other sensory bin container ideas include a sensory table, a variety of plastic storage containers (such as Tupperware); a baking pan, a disposable aluminum foil pan, a deep tray, a cardboard box, a water table, a kiddie pool, a deep wooden tray, a large bowl and a kitchen or bathroom sink or bathtub.
Check out these great Sensory Bin round-ups!
Pom Poms are the next thing you need. They can be a choking hazard so wait to use them until your little one has stopped mouthing things. My twins are 12 months and I’m still waiting to use them!
Check out 50+ Pom Pom Crafts & Activities for a great list of crafts and kids activities you can do with Pom Poms:
I first was introduced to dot stickers by the amazing Susie from Busy Toddler she has so many fabulous for Dot Stickers activities so definitely go check out her blog. I promise you they will become your new best friend especially if you have a toddler.
But dot stickers aren’t just for toddlers and preschoolers. My 4.5 year old still loves doing activities using dot stickers.
Check out this fun dot sticker activities:
This supply is for you!! Oh Sharpies! How I love you so!! These are my best friend when trying to create simple and fun learning activities. Sure you could use your child’s markers but life is short so spoil yourself!!
Here is another favorite material of mine that I use on a regular basis. Contact Paper or Con-Tact Paper is great for creative, quick and easy activities for babies all the way up to kindergartners. Contact paper is a clear sticky film that normally is used to protect shelves and drawers. For kids activities you can use it to create what I call sticky walls as well as crafts.
Check out these great ways to use Contact Paper Kids Activities!
These Magnetic Wands are just the best! Think back to when you were a kid and how fun it was to play with magnets. Magnetic Wands can be used for so many fun activities or just exploring and experimenting around the house. They are a great tool for STEM learning and activities!
Check out these fun activities using Magnetic Wands:
Having a White Paper Roll is essential to doing activities with my kids. It is a great resources to have just about any activity. I always make sure that I have a roll of Roll of White Paper handy. In fact, our craft table is always covered in white paper with crayons, paint and markers close by so that my kids cab create, draw or paint whenever they want!
IKEA Colourful Bowls are super convenient to have when we are doing painting activities or any activity that requires lots of different parts. They are also great for colour sorting activities. IKEA Colourful Bowls are easy to clean, bright and colourful and make any activity more appealing to your little one!
Basic List of Kids Activity Supplies
- Large Storage/Sensory Bin, 41 Quart
- IKEA FLISAT Children’s Table with Ikea Trofast Toy Storage Box White, Medium.
- Pom Poms
- Dot Stickers
- Contact Paper
- Magnetic Wands
- White Paper Roll
- IKEA Colourful Bowls
Additional Art Supplies
- Large Googley Eyes
- Washable Glitter Glue
- Foam Glitter Stickers
- Do A Dot Art! Markers
- Washi Tape
- Kid Scissors (Check out this post for more details The Ultimate Guide to Teaching Scissor Skills)
- Foam Sheets
- Stickers (any stickers will do but I like foam stickers the best!)
- Washable Markers
- Craft Sticks
- Craft Buttons
- Coloured Pencils
- Washable Liquid School Glue
- Glue Sticks
- Rainbow Stamp Pad
- Bath Letters and Numbers
- Magnetic Fridge Letters
- Washable Watercolors
- Kwik Stix – Paint Sticks
- Washable Kids Paint
- Washable Finger Paint
- Paint Brushes
- Spill Proof Painting Cups
- Art Easel
- Construction Paper
- White Paper
- Watercolour Paper
- White Butcher Paper Roll
- Kraft Paper Roll
- Extra Large White Paper Roll
- Mini Construction Trucks
- Bugs and Insects
- Under the Sea creatures
- Wooden dolls
- Rubber Ducks
Miscellaneous Items from around the House
- Masking tape or Painter’s Tape
- Jumbo Tweezers
- Jumbo Colorful Eyedroppers
- Post-it Super Sticky Notes
- Measuring Cups
- Tupperware containers
- Kitchen Utensils
I organize all my supplies in two areas. Most of my supplies that I use everyday are on my Raskog Home Kitchen Storage Utility cart. The remainder are stored in an Over The Door Hanging Shoe Organizer. These are great as they can hold a variety of things and they don’t take up a lot of space!
Common Questions when Doing Activities with Kids
Question: How do I get my child to play independently with an activity longer?
Unfortunately there is no simple answer to this. Toddlers and preschoolers have very short attention spans so it isn’t common for them play with one thing uninterrupted for a longer period of time.
Question: How do I contain the mess with sensory bins?
For wet activities place an old towel underneath the sensory bin. For other activities you can use an old sheet, shower curtain liner, picnic blanket, garbage bag. Or take the activity outside!
Question: What do I do if my child doesn’t want to get their hands dirty?
It is important to never force your child to do a sensory activity but to encourage them. As the parent you can be a role model. For instance, you can have your child paint your hands and them wash it off, then you can paint your child’s hands and then have them wash it off.
Acknowledge their feelings by saying, “I understand that you don’t like it when your hands are dirty.” Try to let them regulate the situation and then try to find a solution such as washing hands in a bowl of water or cleaning them with a wipe.
You can give them tools to manipulate the materials if they don’t want to use their hands. Things such as tongs, ladles, whisks, small plastic jars etc.
Question: Do you have any suggestions for excited kids who end up knocking/dumping/splashing/throwing the sensory bin contents all the time?
Playing with sensory bins is a skill we have to teach and toddlers have to learn. Start by placing something under the bin. Mess will happen so save yourself work and have a towel or old sheet, shower curtain liner under the bin to catch things that fly out.
Next, set out clear rules. We can play with the beans but we need to keep them inside the bin. If they start pouring it out gently remind them of the rule. If they continue after one or two gently reminders don’t be afraid to remove the sensory bin and revisit the activity later such as after nap or playing outdoors. You got this. If you start today in a few weeks/months depending on their age they WILL understand the rules and sensory play will get easier. You just need to be consistent with your rules.
Question: What do I do if my child is uncooperative and just wants to destroy the activities I set up for her?
It is important to never force your child to do an activity. If your child is uncooperative or destructive understand that this is their way of processing their emotions and their way of telling you they need something from you.
Set clear boundaries. Gently remove them from the activity by saying “OK, I understand you are upset but mommy isn’t going to let you destroy this activity. We can do it later when you are feeling better. What would you like to do?”
At this point you can do something completely different such as play outside, play with their favourite toy or read their favourite book.
When you revisit the activity try these tips:
- Invite don’t force. I always invite my kids to do an activity thereby giving them an option to decline if they aren’t in the mood. Another trick is to leave the activity where they can find it making it seem like they are more in control.
- Make it fun. Kids love games so turn the activity into a game if you can. Use a funny voice. Be silly. Have fun yourself and they will follow. Do they love Thomas the Train, make every activity about Thomas even if there is no picture of Thomas. Let them use their imagination.
- Make it easier or harder. Is the activity to easy and boring or too hard and challenging. Maybe changing the activity up slightly to make it easier or harder will peak their interest.
- Get them involved in the prep. Let them help you prep an activity depending on their age.
- Let them be in charge. Let them lead the activity by asking you to do something.