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I need activity ideas for a 3 almost 4 year old.

Posted by auntie10 (My Page) on
Tue, Mar 17, 09 at 20:44

I working towards fixing a problem from very far away. Two of my closest nephews live several states away. My sister is working towards a degree and is constantly relying on family babysitters. I hate to bash the family, but to make a long story short-- they know NOTHING about keeping small children.

I will admit that the nephew in question is, lets say "off the freakin' chain". But 50% of the problem is my families expectations. They drag him (three) and his brother (one) to basketball games, stores, and the family restaurant and whole-heartedly expects them to sit quietly for hours upon a time, while they complete their activities.

Needless to say, it doesn't work. Nor is it developmentally appropriate. Even when they keep them at home, they keep the tv on adult shows (appropriate, but boring). They never play children's music or try to do any activities with either of the boys. Basically they want their day to go as it would with children playing silently in the background.

I've told them in nice and not-so-nice ways that they are out of their mind. But now I'm just trying to come up with a solution. My plan now, is to come up with some activity bags for the three year old to travel with.

My thoughts were to put a few action figures and cars to keep them busy, but I need more ideas. The child has never liked to color (dkw) so that's out. I do not want to put anything in that will bother the adult because they will take it away and escalate the problem...

please ANY IDEA will help!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: I need activity ideas for a 3 almost 4 year old.

I traveled with 2 toddlers in the bach of a car for 2 days and understand how important it is for them and any adult nearby to keep them busy and happy.

You might want to try large piece size Lego building set for toddlers. Most toddlers and young children love doing things with their hands. Legos snap together cleanly, while working on a hard flat surface. If you'd rather have softer building blocks, there are plenty of variations, that also snap together like Legos.

Another thing is the famous etch-o-sketch, a quiet, drawing toy that uses magnetic pieces to move in whatever direction the child can turn them.

If these don't work, you can always give them musical dolls or animals, providing the music dosen't bother other adults including yourself. It's something they can hold, sing with, and care for.

One really economical toy is a big cardboard box. You can cut window hole openings and let them crawl inside their own house.

Hope this helps.


RE: I need activity ideas for a 3 almost 4 year old.

I spent a lot of time in a car with a toddler...or 2....or 3!!
Momma.....and later grandma always has a few "
tricks" in her purse. Things the child can't play with alone, either because it requires too much dexterity or they won't under stand it or perhaps it's a car with small parts thay may break off and becomne dangerous.
I carried a set of tiny paper dolls, with a wax stick that allowed you to glue the clothing on...I carried those games with the steel balls inside that you try to get the nose ion the clown or whatever....I carried tiny books, with real paper pages. I carried 3 by 5 file cards and crayons to make greeting cards...I carried small sharp scissors ( for my use only!) to cut out things the child created.
But....none of this is appropriate for your use because the adults don't want to be involved....
There's the problem....they want the kids to need nothing of them.
Linda C

RE: I need activity ideas for a 3 almost 4 year old.

It's always easy to see what the problem is and have good advice when you are looking at the problem from the outside. Sorry, but unless you're going to volunteer to take care of the child yourself, or the caregivers asking for you help, I think you're kind of budding in.

The biggest problem I see is that the mother does not care enough to address or fix the problem or to arrange suitable child care for her own children. Making the caregivers who it sounds have other responsibilies, prioritites and concerns (but are still helping nontheless) come around to do what you think, is probably not going to work.

In my opinion, you're best bet is to talk to your sister. She is the one responsible for making sure her children are well taken care of. Sending some coloring books, playdoh and a Baby Mozart video is not the answer. Maybe you could offer to take her child for the summer. Would you be open to that?

RE: I need activity ideas for a 3 almost 4 year old.

Its none of your buissness,i dont understand why its bothering you so much,i would back off if i were you.going to basketball and eating out doesnt sound too bad to me.

RE: I need activity ideas for a 3 almost 4 year old.

I could suggest getting toy cars, montser trucks or even dump trucks but in the end the kids really need to get out and play. I have 3 girls 3,2,& 6 mos. My toddlers have insane energy, I find they are the noisiest and hardest to handle the more time they have to spend indoors and I have a HUGE house.

You said they rely on the family to babysit. Why don't you suggest to the family to take the boys to a school playground. That's what I do (until my fence and swingset are finished) so the boys can release their energy. Or if they have a fenced in back yard buy a sandbox and have it shipped(one with a cover so animals won't use it as a litter box)

Try to suggest things in a non confrontational tone. When my family trys to 'tell' me how to raise my children I would tune them out too.

I understand travel we don't do it a lot but 3-4 times a year we travel 6-9 hrs south one way to visit family or go to fairs. As long as the kids can get out and just stretch their legs they don't give us too much struggle(we give them toys to play with but they always just end up hurling them at us or each other!) But what we do try is if we pass farms or even just houses we try to point out things like animals-cows-horses- dogs- cats- even wild animals, cars,trucks, tractors and sometimes even signs

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