One Dollar Items to Keep on Hand for Preschoolers

Whether you have a preschooler at your house all day, everyday, or you have one that visits occasionally, it is nice to have some items on hand for entertaining. Starting about age two and up, children can begin to use the following items. All the items are classic entertainers that will not break your budget. Please continue to supervise all activities; children are prone to put items in their mouths.

Play-dough

A cup of play-dough and a few simple kitchen utensils or cookie cutters are engaging. Be sure to have the child seated at a table. Show him how to roll it into a ball or a snake and then let him see what he can create!

Balloons

Blow up one or several and let the fun begin. Challenge older children to hit it over and over, without letting it hit the floor. Volley the balloon back and forth and the giggles will begin.

Watercolors

Cut the plastic tray so that each color is a separate piece. That way each child can have colors for himself. One color per year old is a good number; for example, a three year old could be given a red, blue, and green. This method keeps the colors from getting ruined by mixing them together. It also appropriately limits the choices for the child.

Stickers

Stickers and somewhere to stick them is all that is needed for lots of fun! Stick them on balloons, colored paper, or each other. If one gets stuck where it shouldn’t be (on a window or furniture), use a hair dryer to melt the adhesive and it will peel right off.

Washable Markers

Consider letting the child color on something other than plain paper. Toilet paper rolls, paper plates, and cardboard boxes are fun to decorate and will likely hold her attention longer. Limit the number of markers you give to a preschooler, just like is explained in the watercolor paragraph for more precise play.

Bouncy Balls

Big or small, bouncing and chasing balls is entertaining. Use a laundry basket for a target (this might be safest on the front porch or away from breakables) or have a bouncing contest. Have older children try to clap before they catch the ball. Say the days of the week or months of the year as you bounce.

Bubbles

This exciting activity requires no explanation, but the fun can be greatly compounded when the bubbles are blown by a fan. The number of bubbles will increase exponentially!

Spray Bottles

Fill a spray bottle with water (or add a little vinegar) and let a child clean your kitchen appliances. Have dry rags on hand and be prepared for some puddles on the floor. Or take the fun outside and water plants with the mist from the spray bottles.

Matchbox Cars

No child needs instructions on how to play with a car. Let him know where his boundaries are and let him drive away!

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