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Preschoolers have great imaginations. They have just as much fun playing veterinarian with their stuffed animals as they do with electronic devices or other pricey toys. Spending time with you is the most fun of all, so finding free or inexpensive activities you can do with your preschooler is an all-around win.
Here are a few suggestions.
Bathing in the pink
Or the green, or the blue… Adding few drops of food coloring or colored tablets to the bath can go a long way toward making bath time something special. It's especially fun to mix primary colors to make other colors, such as combining blue and red to make purple. And no, your child won't emerge from his bath looking like a grape – a few drops of food coloring diluted in a tub of water won't dye your child's skin.
Treat your animal friends
Even if you have your own dog or cat at home, taking old towels or blankets or some pet food to your local animal shelter can be a fun and rewarding experience for your preschooler. Some shelters will even let you take a dog or puppy for a walk. If you don't want your child angling to bring one home, you can explain that the animals at the shelter are waiting for another family to take them home, but that you can visit often with treats and toys so they can have fun while they're waiting.
When it comes to instant gardening gratification, radishes are the way to go – they pop up in a matter of weeks! After winter's last frost, take your preschooler to the gardening store and let her pick out the package of seeds with the picture she likes best. (It'll cost just a few dollars.) At home, find a sunny patch of yard and have your child plant the seeds directly in the ground or in a small planter.
You can even grow radishes inside in a container set in a sunny south-facing window. Your little gardener will love digging a hole, sprinkling in the seeds, and covering them up. The fun continues as she gets to water the radishes and watch them grow.
Save the bubble wrap that comes in packages and when your little one is bored or needs some cheering up, spread out the bubble wrap on a hard floor or the sidewalk and let him stomp away. Challenge him to pop every single bubble.
Hunting down nature
Give your child a bag or bucket and go on an old-fashioned nature hunt. Take your time and let her collect whatever she likes – pinecones, leaves, rocks, sticks, burrs. When you get home, break out the glue and cardboard and get her started making a collage or sculpture. She may also enjoy painting a rock or two – it could even become her new favorite pet.
Find more ways to have fun with your preschooler.