by Karen DIY Family Fun Home School Parenting Uncategorized

Occupying the 4-Year-Old

The definition of insanity

Home schooling a 5-year-old while his 4-year-old sister hangs out nearby and the 3-month-old baby runs the show from her swing creates one crazy place! At least week #2 of home school went much better than week #1. We see improvement. But we require more tweaking.

The problem

I’ve focused on the 4-year-old this week. She’s bored. Only so much play dough, dolls, and free rein at the toy box can keep her happy. Her best playmate spends hours with books and pencils now. She tried the books and pencils, and enjoys a lot of the lessons, especially read aloud time and ┬áBible class. When I run off free preschool worksheets, she finishes them in minutes. We’re moving on to art projects. The first one has been a winner.

The solution

Li’l Sis loves to color. That is almost a prerequisite for this project.

Li’l Sis spent two days perfecting her new talent of creating stuffed paper critters. Like all her stuffed teddy bears and stuffed animal friends, she loves these new ones. They hold a special place in her heart since she made them. Each one has its own name and characteristics to boot.

I used scrap paper for the back side. Li’l Sis colored it after she finished stuffing. Cut them both out at the same time.

How to

First, I let Li’l Sis scrolled through line drawings at images under clip art/black and white/puppy to choose her favorite. A couple clicks of the mouse and a copy churned out of the printer. She spent almost an hour coloring it with markers and crayons. Just today she added paint to her repertoire. When she finished, I cut out the drawing with a blank ┬ápage behind it. Then I carefully stapled the two papers together along the edge, leaving just enough space for her to feed stuffing into it. We soon exhausted the dryer lint. I moved on to cut up rags. Finally Li’l Sis was satisfied with the plumpness variable. I stapled the opening and she was done. Between the coloring and stuffing that first day, Big Bro and I accomplished 3 lessons, math, English and Science. Woo hoo! With school out of the way, Big Bro made his own little puppy dog stuffed critter. I was ecstatic when the same thing happened the next day. Usually I can’t hold her interest that long.

The children were fascinated with the stapler. I didn’t know they had never seen one.
I took the first rag I found. If I’d planned ahead, I would have saved more dryer lint.


We were both concerned the paper would rip, but it was much stronger than we thought.


It took at least 5 times the amount of stuffing I thought would be needed. Since rags are cheaper than cheap, no big deal!


Li’l Sis loved being in charge of the amount she needed to make it just right.


Stapling it closed took some quick fingering, but it wasn’t too hard.


Puppy #2. The family is growing.


She named her Darling.


Big Bro jumped into the project as soon as he could. Great motivation for getting through school work!


I’ll let this project rest for a month or so. When we try it again, I’ll encourage her to draw the original animal herself instead of using clip art. In the meantime, I have a different project ready for next week.