*A jump rope tied to a tree or post makes a good gas pump for tricycle riders.
*Cut refrigerator biscuits into a variety of shapes. Your children can create imaginative designs by placing three or four shapes close together on a baking sheet. Bake as directed.
*How many ways can you and your child think of to draw outdoors without using crayons and paper? Here are a few ideas to start: a stone on the sidewalk, a twig on a smooth path of dirt, fingers in wet sand.
*Paint with watercolors on paper towels.
*Does your child like to gather stones, shells, twigs, and other nature items when you take a walk? When you sit down to rest, ask him or her to think of different ways to sort the items. It’s fun and a great math activity.
*Use large plastic bottles to mark a riding course for tricycles and riding toys. Your child can weave his or her way in and out of a long row of them. If it’s a windy day, have your child help you fill the bottles with water or sand to weigh them down.
*After a rain shower, have your child draw on the sidewalk with chalk. The colors will seem brighter on wet pavement.
*Have your child poke holes in a paper plate. At night he or she can shine a flashlight through it to create indoor stars on the bedroom ceiling. You can also cut holes in the plate to make a smiley face.
*Suggest that your child scrub the kitchen sink. It will never be cleaner!
*Hang an aluminum pan from a low branch or clothesline as a target for ball throwing.
*Pretend together. If you were an ant…a squirrel…where would you go? What would you see? What would you do at night? In the morning? What does it look like under the ground? To find out, take your child to see a construction site where a foundation is being dug. If possible, follow this up by finding a place for your child to dig his or her own hole at home.
*Children who are used to using play dough enjoy the challenge of using real potter’s clay. It is inexpensive and can be purchased where art supplies are sold.
*Fly a kite on a windy day. Or give your child crepe paper steamers to run with in the wind.
*Pack a picnic lunch for days when you have lots of errands. Enjoy it with your children at a park or playground.
*Your kids can create an instant golf game. All they need are some long cardboard tubes for clubs, coffee cans tipped on their sides for holes, and a ball or two.