Updated: Dec 18, 2020
I am not the Pinterest mom I thought I was going to be. I have a board filled with activities to setup for children from birth to 4. I've mustered up the creativity to tackle 2 of the 25 pins, many of which contain 20+ activities to print, cut, laminate, make a $200 Amazon purchase and get to work!
Here is the thing, I like easy. I am a mom that loves independent play, even if it took 2 1/2 years until this became a reality. I like to buy activities or crafts with all the pieces, parts, paper, pom poms, popsicle sticks, envelopes, whatever is needed I want it packed into a box in a way that I will never be able to repackage it and I definitely don't want it to look anything like the directions say it will after we have spent an hour putting it together (and let's face it that's how most Pinterest crafts and cute baking attempts turn out anyway).
All of this to say, if you are struggling to be the Pinterest parent and don't want to just plop your kid in front of Youtube all day then here are are my favorite, easy and sometimes messy go to activities:
1. Usborne Activity and Sticker books are fun and easy, they have everything from learning numbers and letters to finding and matching 1001 insect stickers to the pages. There are one and done books or erasable books.
2. Paint get a smock, paintbrushes, paint, and paper (no canvas required). We do this activity inside, although going outside may make for easier cleanup. Your kiddo can paint their toys or if they have cars and trucks they can paint the wheels to make tracks on the paper, or the dog whatever happens happens. Double this activity with the next idea, water bin!
3. Bins (from the dollar store or that section that ends up costing you $100 when you walk into Target) you can fill these bins with rice, beans, water, shaving cream etc. grab some small toys to bury beneath the depths and let your littles dig them up with various spoons, shovels or their hands. You can grab funnels and measuring cups/spoons for water activities. Let your kids wash up their paint supplies in a bin full of water and soap.
4. Kinetic sand, it’s messy and some of it always ends up in your vacuum but the kids can build and bury things for at least 30 minutes before they get bored. If you are feeling especially motivated you could make your own, but you can find a 3 pound bag for $13 at Target.
5. Magna tiles, these are a bit pricey but the little ones can play with these for years to come. There are different types of packages and their imaginations can take hold when they are building their magnet masterpieces. They even work on the garage!
6. Cookie sheets, combine these with some flour, magnets, or tape some toys to it for an easy activity. They can work on spelling their names and small motor skills.
7. Baking can be fun AND you get a tasty cookie, cake, brownie or muffin out of the deal.
8. Make a fort! Save the Amazon boxes, and get creative. The kids can decorate the outside with markers, paint, glue and pom poms. No stash of boxes? Get out the blankets, pillows and couch cushions.
Don’t get caught up on not being the Pinterest parent because you probably already have the supplies you need to be the fun parent who still has their sanity!