Tuesday’s Teaching Tip

If you have young children at your house, are the hours between 4-6pm somewhat hairy (maybe even extremely hairy) around your house?  It can be over here.  Hey, I’m just keepin’ it real.  I had a MOPS mentor mom who once called them the “arsenic hours”!

Dinner needs to be prepared – “But, I’m hungry now” becomes the mantra – the baby wants to be held (or at the very least, stand in between my legs and whine) – the two big brothers are fighting – everyone is cranky (sometimes even mama) – “But, I’m hungry now” mantra is repeated – daddy’s not home yet – the baby is crying – insert “But, I’m hungry now” mantra – the two big brothers are fighting over the same toy (again) and both of them claim they had it first…the list could go on and on.

Here’s a tip that helps with sanity around this reading mama’s house: give the kids something to do at the kitchen table (or bar area) as you stir the noodles and bake the chicken.

My favorite thing for the boys to do are simple:

  1. crafts
  2. writing activities

Notice I said simple.  The last thing I need is something else to do during this time, so easy is the key.

Here are some CRAFTS my kids like to do:

  • play with with Play-Doh (pull out special cookie cutters & accessories)
  • scissor practice (use old papers or coupons you’re not going to use)

  • play with stickers- I save stickers that they really like and let them decorate a scene with them, like they did with the vehicles seen here
  • play with stamps
  • water color painting-I found two Paint with Water Books at Books-A-Million for $1 each.  I can remember doing these as a child!
  • Carisa @ 1+1+1=1 has some other ideas I use for simple crafts.  But, I do not do anything that has the potential to create a big mess during this time.  The last thing I want is to have to clean up my kitchen right before dinner!

Here are some fun WRITING activities:

  • write on dry erase boards
  • color in a coloring book or page from DLTK’s site
  • Crayola Wonder & Crayola Explosion are great activities because their markers won’t make a mess on walls or chairs if I happen to turn my back on NJoy to stir those noodles!
  • work a simple puzzle like a crossword puzzle, maze, dot-to-dot, or word search.  ALuv really likes the Puzzle Buzz (made by Highlight) activities and I save the magazines for special occasions.

One more thing I sometimes do is utilize the laptop.

  1. I plop MBug in her highchair and let all of them watch a DVD on the laptop.  We get new DVD’s at the public library almost every week.
  2. Internet-You can view some of the sites we like here.
  3. Youtube.com has some great videos including this one, which is one of our all-time favorites.

If you find yourself wanting to pull out your own hair from 4-6pm, I hope that one of these ideas may help you out.  If you have some tricks up your sleeve for the “arsenic hours”, I’d love for you to share themWe could always use a fresh idea!


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Michelle Breum
    Jun 14, 2011 @ 08:50:45

    This was a hard time for me too when my children were young. Online stories might be a good idea. Here’s a link to some free online stories and books I’ve collected. http://beginningreadinghelp.blogspot.com/p/favorite-online-stories.html


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