Guest post: Activities to distract, entertain, or encourage patching and new glasses wearers

Distraction can be key to successful introduction to glasses as well as patching.  A huge thanks to Shannon for putting together a fantastic list of activities that are a fun way to distract and entertain kids who need to wear glasses or patches. – Ann Z

Activities to distract, entertain, or encourage patching and new glasses wearers

Or, a list of fun things to do with any child. I have separated the list into age categories, however, most ages can do all of the activities. I have also included links and recipes to the activities. Younger children like to help around the house. They love to see how proud their parents are and be big helpers. They like to do a lot of those household chores us parents groan over. Kids also love to cook and garden. Including them in making their food also encourages reading, following instructions, and healthy eating. The best thing I have done is give my son a choice on patches. Even if the colors and shapes are the same, he gets to pick out which patch he will wear from the box. Giving him a choice in something he doesn’t typically enjoy allows him to feel power over his situation.

0-2 years

  • Folding towels. Kids this age truly love to help fold laundry. Hand towels, kitchen towels, and wash cloths tend to be a favorite. They also are excellent at putting them away.
  • Brushing the dog or cat. If you have a patient pup, as we do, kids love to help brush their dogs.
  • Water play. Simply filling a tub with water and giving them a few cups and spoons will keep them busy for some time.  Add soap bubbles rice, pasta, lentils, or sand, to the tub (with or without water) and you have another activity for another day.
  • Blowing bubbles.
  • This age loves to dip. Make a ranch dressing together and serve with easily chewed veggies.
  • Mega blocks are perfect. You can also stack old sour cream tubs, empty cereal boxes, old cups… This doesn’t have to cost money.
  • Volley ball with a balloon.
  • Make jell-o or pudding. Add fresh or canned fruit, as desired.

2-4 years

  • Finger painting. The cleanest way is to put the paint in a gallon sized (preferably freezer) and remove all of the air. Zip closed. Tape a piece of white paper to the table and tape the bag to the paper. You can reuse the baggies. This is also a great activity for mixing colors.  Instructions for mess-free fingerpainting.
  • Bean tubs can be any size. Plastic shoe box to under the bed tub are equally great. Add multiple beans to the tub. Add multiple colored buttons to encourage sorting and focusing on a specific activity. Look for all of the red, yellow, wood or blue buttons. The bigger tubs are great for children. Be sure to keep a blanket or sheet under the tub for easy clean up. You can also use rice, noodles or sand. Included are recipes for dyeing rice.
  • This age is prefect for making dips and growing their own vegetables. Our kids love to eat the cucumbers and carrots they have grown. I have changed the powdered ranch dressing recipe and use half low fat Greek yogurt and half low fat sour cream.
  • Kids love to build things. Duplo and wooden blocks are a favorite.
  • Build a castle out of an old box. It won’t last long, but it’s a fun activity that usually lasts a couple of days. Kids can also “paint” it with water and watch the color change.
  • Felt pizza, felt Elmo, and felt hamburgers are so much fun. My older child helped me cut them out.  Instructions here.
  • Make an obstacle course in the living room. Even better, make one that extends through other parts of the house. This is an excellent physical thing to do indoors.
  • Side walk chalk or side walk paint. The paint in super easy to make, but should be used when your child is wearing older clothes. Here is one recipe.
  • Make your own play dough. We made Frozen dough with blue food coloring, glitter, and peppermint essential oil. Be sure to dye the water before adding it to the flour. Here is a recipe.
  • Create your own glasses using this link. Cardstock would be best, but printer paper would be fun too. Your child can wear them over their frames while patching. This is an excellent hand and eye exercise.

4-6 years

  • Our son and I have grown tomatoes every year. We add new vegetables and spices every year. Sweet potatoes and strawberries are very easy! This is the age that you can begin to experiment with different dirts, plant foods, and composting. We learned that Epsom salts were great on tomatoes.
  • Puzzles. Both homemade and store bought are great. We have made these popsicle stick puzzles. Tape the back and use the flattest sticks only. Sticks with knots will not work well.
  • Cooking is fun. Granola or breakfast balls are okay to eat prior to baking and healthy. I tend to look at three or four recipes and make my own with what I have on hand. We are a peanut and milk free home, so I add wheat germ, Wow butter (fake peanut butter), and flax seeds. Other things to add: soy nuts, dried fruit, rice crispy cereal, and chocolate. The best batch has been almond joy. I added slivered almond, shredded coconut, and vegan dark chocolate. Packing the balls tightly or the granola tightly into the pan will help to keep it solid. Here is a recipe I have consulted.
  • Moon sand is so much fun to play with. Our son’s preschool teacher made an entire water table of it and the kids loved it! She included the children in making the sand. Here’s a recipe.
  • Legos are a winner for both boys and girls.
  • Scarf making sounds difficult, but here is an easier way. We went to the store and bought remnants on clearance and laid out on the living room floor to make them.  Instructions are here.
  • Soap clouds! We have done this before. I’ll add that you should add essential oils or colors to the soap, if you decide to do the activity at the end. The essential oils sort of competed with the scent of ivory, and no one won the battle. Also, I tend to avoid adding colors to our kids’ skin if possible.  Instructions are here.
  • Make a rag rug. A boy or girl can do this and it’s a great fine motor activity. They can help pick the colors at the fabric shop and, depending on age, can help cut the strips.  Instructions are here.
  • Floam can be bought or homemade. Here is the recipe.
  • Slime
  • Baggie ice cream. I’ve included a link with the recipe. I have learned not to add chocolate or anything else until the end, unless it is already frozen. Otherwise, it will slow the freeze time.

So, what activities have worked well for your kids?

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