If you have a pen and some paper, you can entertain your kid while you wait at a restaurant or doctor’s office. Heck, you don’t even have to have paper. Try a napkin or even the back of your hand!
Just draw some lines or shapes…
Then hand over the pen to your kid. See if they can make your scribbles into a doodle. (These are a flower, two clowns, and a caterpillar courtesy of my four-year-old daughter.)
Preschoolers: They can do it with a little help!
- Demonstrate how to turn a line or shape into a drawing.
- Use simple geometric shapes (square, circle, triangle)
- Help them get started by brainstorming with them. “It’s a circle. What things have circle shapes? Maybe it could be a face. Or a wheel on a car? Can you think of other things with circles?
- If the activity is still too difficult, switch it up! Your kid can make a few marks on a paper and YOU turn it into a picture!
Elementary: Elementary aged kids should be able to make doodles without much prompting. They might even need an extra challenge.
- Draw several lines on one paper and see if they can connect them all into one drawing!
- Can they make all the drawings fit in one category (food, animal)?
- Draw several of the same shape or line (example- 5 squares all the same size). Challenge them to make each one into a different drawing.
Here’s an easy Christmas craft…and a great way to practice shapes and colors, too! This would work great at a preschool/kindergarten holiday party. I did the first two steps myself because my girls aren’t great with scissors.
1. Cut out 5 green triangles. Start with a small one and get gradually bigger. My smallest is about 3 inches across the largest is about 8 inches.
2. Cut out shapes in different colors. I stuck with circle, triangle, square, and rectangle, but you could get all fancy with hexagons, ovals, and trapezoids for older kiddos.
3. Get your crafty kiddos and talk about how triangles could make a tree. Have them arrange the triangles from largest to smallest.
4. Glue the top couple inches of the biggest triangle and place the next biggest triangle on top of it. Continue until all triangles are glued together.
5. Glue on the shape ornaments. I found it is easier for kids to make a dot with the glue stick directly on the tree, then stick the ornament on the dot.
6. Have fun decorating the tree with shapes! Identify the shape and color of the ornament when they pick it up or ask them to identify. See if they want to make a pattern.
Here’s my four-year-old’s masterpiece glued on red paper. She is so proud that it is now part of our Christmas decorations!
- colored construction paper
- glue stick
Time investment: 10 minutes for adult cutting prep and 10-15 minutes for kids to glue craft
Difficulty: The only difficult part is cleaning up all those extra shapes that will scattered on the floor. 🙂
Drawing with sidewalk chalk is a great summer activity. It’s cheap, easily washable, and gets kids outside enjoying the sunshine. Encourage your kids to do lots of free drawing, but also try out some of these ideas. Don’t overload them….just one or two ideas per chalk session.
(Common Core Standards appear in italics. They correlate with specific standards in different grade levels. These standards are used in almost every school in the country. Click the Common Core tab above to learn more.)
- Let them feel the chalk and try to make marks on different surfaces
- Color in one spot so there is a lot of chalk dust. Put baby’s hands in it and see if you can help them make hand prints on the pavement. Messy, but fun!
Toddlers and Preschoolers
- Draw different colored shapes a few feet apart. Play a game and ask them to stand on the blue circle. Then walk (or run, skip, hop, etc.) to the purple rectangle. (kindergarten-Identify and describe shapes)
- Big sidewalk chalk is perfect beginning writers. Draw dotted lines of shapes, letters, or numbers and see if they can trace it. Or write a letter first and see if they can copy it. (kindergarten- Print many upper- and lowercase letters)
- Write their name in REALLY big letters and have them walk the letters of their name.
- Write numbers in order. Let kids hop from number to number counting as they go. (kindergarten- Know the number names and count sequence)
- Draw a path for kiddos to use with their tricycle or bicycle.
- Make a Twister board with chalk and call out directions if you don’t have a spinner.
- Trace around your kiddo and then have him design and color the clothing. Or he could draw the organs (heart, brain, lungs, etc.) in their proper spot.
- Make a large grid. Work together to make a different pattern in each square of the grid.
- Tell addition stories and have your child draw to solve the problem. For example, “I have 3 apples. Then I buy 4 more. How many apples do I have now?” (grades 1 and 2- Represent and solve problems using addition and subtraction)
- Write numbers in order, but leave some out and have your kiddo fill in the missing numbers. Then have them skip count and hop to the different numbers.
- Kids write out the alphabet in big letters. Then say a word and they run from letter to letter to spell it. (grades K-6- Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing)
- Write out a silly sentence incorrectly (no capitalization or punctuation) and have kids correct your mistakes. (grades K-6- Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing)
- Ask kids to draw shapes and then divide them into equal parts to make fractions. (grades 1,2,3- Reasons with shapes and their attributes)