I'm very excited about the fun things I've found to round out this year's Table Time section of our new school schedule!
What is Table Time? We schedule 30-45 minutes every morning for our preschoolers (ages 2 and 4 this year) to work on an engaging activity at the kitchen table (although we're expanding locations this year). Since I have the luxury of older siblings, the oldest three children rotate as supervisors (they won't admit it, but they have just as much fun as the littles). This frees me up to have one-on-one school time with another child.
What if your preschooler can't sit at one activity for that long? Then it becomes a point of training. Starting with 10 minutes, set the timer and explain that they need to sit there until it beeps. Getting up from the table results in correction. Gradually increase the length of time until it meets with your goal.
This is also great practice for cleaning up when the time's up. Don't be tempted to let it go over time just because they are still enjoying the activity. They must learn to have the self-control to move on to the next part of the schedule.
Below is our list for the year. We have a set activity for each day of the month, so as we rotate through, one buddy supervisor is not always watching the same thing. These don't come out at any other time to keep the activities fresh and exciting.
- Bath Time - Put about 3 inches of water in the tub, dress them in swimsuits and give them kitchen play toys and measuring cups. They'll be pruney before they want to get out! (Of course, this must be CLOSELY supervised!)
- Bead and Baubles by Lauri - Fun for them to "sew"
- Play Foam - We're still waiting for this to come in the mail. Sounds great!
- Cornmeal Sandbox - If it's nice outside I put cornmeal in a shoebox-sized Rubbermaid with toys to scoop and pour. Chalk on Construction Paper - the alternative if it's cold or wet.
- Coupon Cutting - Save all those flyers that come in the mail.
- Duplo Legos - Since this can be noisy, they play in the guest room.
- Little People Day - Ditto for the guest room.
- Water Paint Books - I always loved these as a child!
- Enviro Blox (also known as Magic Nuudles) - Make sculptures with just water
- Play-Doh - Homemade or store-bought, always a favorite!
- Puzzle Cupboard - We usually keep it locked to keep down the mess, so it's a treat to get in there
- Water Color Painting - We buy the cheap paints ($1) from Big Lots and Wal-Mart and replace them often as they get gross
- Workbook Day - My children love Kumon Books for "doing school"