Keeping little hands busy can help children listen during read-aloud time.
The benefits of reading aloud to children are profound. But some children struggle to stay still and have listening ears during a read-aloud. Keeping little hands busy can help children listen during read-aloud time. This post is all about keeping hands busy so children can have listening ears!
The possibilities are endless with open-ended building toys. My children seem to rotate through our building toys as their interest changes from time to time. Right now my older boy is really into legos and Tinkertoys. (I love this retro box of Tinkertoys on Amazon.) My next boy and our oldest girl are loving the magnetic tiles at the moment.
Our Bristle Blocks and Lincoln Logs are put up for a time as they had fallen out of favor. I am sure they will be all the range when we rotate toys again! One key with building toys: rotation. Keep things fresh by rotating toys every few months.
- Magnetic tiles
- Lincoln logs
- Bristle Blocks
Arts and Crafts
Some kids just can’t get enough on the arts and crafts front. Keep it fresh with adding novel items to your stash. I just found out about these stickers by number books by Brain Game. These are definitely for older children, but they look like they would turn into the most beautiful pictures. For younger children, I love the Melissa and Doug reusable sticker books.
Ofcrouse, general coloring, drawing, and painting are fun but my kids really love the Melissa and Doug water painting books. They are no-mess fun for every aged child.
When it comes to creating, your children might also enjoy learning a skill like needlepoint, yarn skills, or weaving. Melissa and Doug have some very basic needlepoint kits (basically advanced lacing cards) that are nice because they can be done multiple times. For children that are beyond the lacy card level, these kits by Alex Craft create beautiful basic stitching projects.
When I was a kid, I loved working on my beginning loom. They have come a long way since I was a kid, but you can still get the classic potholder making loom of my childhood! Of course, Melissa and Doug have created a loom that allows for more creativity than the “potholder” loom of my childhood. Your child can make scarves, murals, bags, and more on this loom. I have yet to try it out, but the reviews are stellar.
- Sticker books
- Beginner needlepoint
- Paper dolls
Do you have a sensory seeker in your house? I do! Sensory bins are so much fun and can keep little hands busy for so long. My kids have been circling back to a bean sensory bin all day long! If you need some ideas or how-to’s on sensory bins, you must follow @busytoddler on Instagram. She is amazing and will give you so many ideas.
A couple of things I love in the sensory area are Wiki Sticks and Kinetic Sand. Wiki sticks are this waxy, sticky, colorful sticks that you and bend and stick to make designs. When I was a kid, they were our go-to toys for car trips.
Kinetic Sand is also a ton of fun as it lets you bring the sandbox inside! You can purchase professional formulated sand or you can make your own! There are a ton of recipes out there, just Google and give one a try.
Finally, don’t forget the snacks or food in general. A great time to read to your children is while they are eating. They are still, focused, and quiet! Try reading to your children during a meal or at a snack time: it’s a two for one deal!
- Wiki sticks
- Kinetic sand
- Sensory Bins
Although almost all of the activities listed above would increase fine motor skills, I wanted to include some specific fine motor skill activities. To start, you can get two subjects done at one time by working on a handwriting page while you are reading aloud.
I love the handwriting curriculum from The Good and the Beautiful. The Doodles and Pre-Writing Book for Littles is absolutely adorable. My four-year-old son is loving this book right now. Addiotnlly, the innovative cursive writing books using rainbow dots to teach letter formation is truly genus.
Finally, I wanted to give another shout out to @busytoddler for her creative use of dot stickers! Really, I hope the dot sticker people are giving her a commission. Check out her Instagram for creating excellent learning activities with dot stickers. These activities would work great during read-aloud time.
- Handwriting books
- Cutting activities
- Lacing cards
- Dot sticker activities
Finally and most importantly, snuggle. Read-aloud time is a great time to just sit together, read, and snuggle. Sometimes it is hard to stop our day, slow down, and just be together. I know I am always thinking of the next task. Take time to read, connect, and rest your mind as you lose yourself in a good book with your children.
What is your favorite read-aloud activity? What did I miss? Drop a comment below and let me know what you think!