Saturday, March 31, 2012

5 Easy Games Using a $.50 Foil Pan

Things to Do with Little Kids Using a Foil Tin

I'm in charge of paying the bills at our house.  I usually do a decent job, but the other day I realized I had about ten bills piled up.  Oops.  This meant that I really needed something to keep the kids busy for fifteen minutes so I pulled out my trusty foil tins, which I bought at the Dollar Store one Saturday morning.  The "Dollar" store is slightly misleading since everything is usually $2 or $3, but this time something really was $1 so they've been a great investment.  We just rinse them out and keep using them again and again.  So, in case you are looking for cheap and easy projects to keep the kids busy, here is a list of 5 ways to use a $.50 foil tin.

Colored Rice
Just get some colored rice from Hobby Lobby and keep in a baggie.  When you need 20 minutes of free time, pour the rice into the foil tin and give the kids cups, a funnel, spoons, anything you think might be fun.  Kids really love to pour things back and forth and back and forth and it's excellent for fine motor skills.  Tell them at the beginning that all rice needs to stay INSIDE the pan.  You might be amazed at how well they listen when faced with the prospect of putting it all away if they aren't careful.  Even kids as young as twenty months can do this activity.

fine motor practice for preschoolers,

 Sensory Letters:
I used glue to write names on construction paper and then the kids used leftover cupcake sprinkles to make the names come to life.  When the names were covered, they took them out of the foil tins and voila!

preschoolers, letters, glitter, art, cheap craft
Baking Soda, Vinegar, and Paint Project
For this, I let the kids squeeze a bunch of paint to the bottom of the pan, then sprinkle some baking soda.  Lastly, I gave them bottles with vinegar and they were fascinated by the bubbly explosions inside the tin foil pan.  Plus, squeezing the bottles are great for developing the muscles they will later need for writing.

You can keep it really simple by just using paint or even shaving cream.  Give them something interesting to use to push the paint around the tin, such as a basting brush, an old toothbrush, or even just use a regular paintbrush.  If you're feeling really adventurous, you could let them use their hands and turn it into a sensory activity.   

Kids love water.  If you don't want to mess with paint, just put water in the tin and give them cups, a squirt bottle, a funnel, whatever you have handy.  Give them towels and tell them if they make a mess you'll have to put it away.  You'll be amazed at how well they can keep themselves busy with water.  It's very interesting to kids and teaches them a lot about gravity and cause and effect (Example: You spray water at me, I take away the water:-))  Kids as young as twenty months can do this and again, it's great for developing fine motor skill and coordination.

how to improve fine motor skills for toddlers, play with water

If you enjoyed this post, you will love my book!  It was released in July, 2012 and was co-written by Katie Norris and Susan Case.  The book includes lots more ideas, similar to this and even expands on how they can help your child learn and even be ready for school someday.  In this unique book, which was written by both a Mom and a former Kindergarten Teacher, you will find ways to keep your little kids busy, out of trouble, and motivated to learn.  If you have ever tried to cook dinner while your kid clings to your leg and cries, this is the book for you!  Kids behave better when they are given challenging projects to work on, which will in turn give you more free time to do the things you really need to do, like washing dishes, paying bills, and relaxing so that you can be a better Mom!

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  1. in my first house we had a tile floor kitchen, I used to give my kids a bucket of water and suds and hand out rags and they would scrub the floor, they thought it was great fun! I had to clean up later, they'd leave it totally dangerous, but it gave me 10 to 20 minutes of peace.
    In the summer sometimes I'll give them water and scrub brushes and tell them they are pirates and kick them out to "swap the deck"
    they like that too-
    sounds crazy right?

    1. you could give them a pail of water and paint brushes and have them "paint" the deck or a wall-my kids loved this when they were little--outside in bathing suits-kept them busy a long time!

  2. These are brilliant. I think I might try the paint idea if I can get my act together. Spring break is here so I now have three at home.

  3. Great ideas! I used to put a blow up swimming pool in my kitchen and fill it with various things for sensory play - ice, water, rice, colored pasta, cooked spaghetti noodles, beans, paint, etc. The rule was that everything had to stay INSIDE the pool.

    1. That's a genius idea! Might have to try it!!

  4. This is the beauty of the internet. Good people like you taking time to share memory making ideas like this. Sometimes I end up being Mr. Mom. Next time I do, this will be on the agenda. Thanks!

    1. Jim you have made my day, thank you! And I'm happy to help!! ;-)

  5. Aloha,

    Ooh I sooo love these ideas. Mostly I love that you shared such quick, easy sure to please activities. I'm your newest follower and I hope that you'll join me at : a little blog about living sweet and local in Hawaii.

    1. Thank you Nicole! I'll hop over to your site now! :-)

  6. These are great ideas...definitely sharing this on FB :)

  7. I'm visiting from UBP 12 and I'm your newest follower! As a teacher now staying home with my three kiddos, I have gads of supplies and I'm excited to try some of your crafting ideas with my children. Come say hello sometime at my blog