I'm the first to admit that sometimes doing "projects" with little kids is a waste of time and a pain in the @$!@. On top of that, the kids often don't want to do the same project more than once so it's a hassle to keep coming up with new stuff. However, I do have a "go-to" project that the kids never get tired of: painting.
I know what you're probably thinking..."Really? Painting is such a mess! I'm trying to make my life easier, not harder!" But trust me, if done correctly, painting is a great way to calm everyone down and spend a very enjoyable 30 minutes. The other day the kids woke up from naps and were just out of control. They were wild, purposely irritating each other, and even climbing on the dog and not understanding that those gasping noises coming from the poor dog's throat were not normal. That's when I pull out the paint. I know it will calm everyone down and re-direct energy.
To make it easy on yourself, first, just make sure you always keep your egg cartons and when you're ready to paint, just cut them in halves. That way, when you're done you can just throw this right in the trash and don't need to spend any time rinsing out a paint container. Each kid should get 6 slots for paint:
Next, make sure you have enough paint brushes so that each kid gets 6 of them. Then they can keep them on a paper towel and you won't have to mess with a yucky paint cup for rinsing out each color so they don't run together. Then you can just throw out the paper towel when you're done!
Then, once you get everyone set up, get out some blank papers. You can draw something basic in pen for them like a heart, a star, a football, a caterpillar, a butterfly, a sun, etc., and they can paint them in. Or you can just let them do their own:
Then, once you've got them all set up, sit down and put on some good music and do your own painting. I was shocked the other day when I realized how happy and content I was during this project. We sat peacefully for 30 minutes and I hummed some tunes and we all painted together. And this is coming from someone who can't paint. Or sing. (Really, I'm terrible.) But it's very soothing and the kids literally NEVER grow tired of painting! And since I have the system worked out, it's relatively painless I promise!
For more ideas on easy projects with your little ones, please check out my book, The Happy Mommy Handbook: The Ultimate Guide to Keeping Your Toddlers and Preschoolers Busy, Out of Trouble, and Motivated to Learn.
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