Keeping a 5 Year Old Busy

Updated on April 11, 2007
M.E. asks from Spearfish, SD
9 answers

I have a 5 year old son who is always exporing. He seems to get into every thing. Some of the stuff he does even suprises me. I am wondering if there are any things I can do to help him be creative. I like it that he likes to explore life. I am hoping to keep him away from getting into every thing because there is always a mess. Thought maybe there are some creative mom's who have been thru this that may have some great Ideas for me.

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So What Happened?

Thank all fo you for your sugestions.. They were great.. Boys will be boys, so full of energy.. but I tried all the suggestions & they worked great!! Thanks for the help.

Featured Answers



answers from Omaha on

Hi M.,
Try giving him some beads and string and let him string them together. there are those keychain animals that he could make, or just string them together. I started my now 5 yo daughter doing this about 1 1/2 years ago, and she is now doing soooooooo good in school. She makes patterns, ahead of her age,, and is very good at counting, and with her shapes. We have always discussed the differnt shapes and colors with her beads. We pick up beads at Michaels, and Walmart. and we now use the elastic string that we get at Walmart for her to string them together with.
Another think would be puzzles.
Good luck.

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answers from Denver on

I hear your request LOUD and CLEAR! :) I am constantly redirecting. May I suggest gymnastics? It is working in our house. Also some physical activity time helps. We try to use her large muscles periodically during the day, we throw balls into a barrel, she uses her scooter outside, helps me "scrub" the floor. Basically, I have to be one step ahead of my 5 yr. old. We also have an "explorer stuff" tote. I tell her to get her say magnifying glass and look for X in the house. I will tell her to get her binoculars and look out side (via the window) and see if she can find 5 birds, "so I know Spring is coming", we have a butterfly net, bug house - not just for bugs, tweezers (kids), satchel - for the stuff. You get the idea. He is an explorer (make him an explorer) so you have to beat him at his own game, if you will. Walmart has great explorer "stuff". Fools errands are also handy in all honesty. some times I have my daughter go look for something I really don't need, I just pretend I need it and act excited when she retrieves it. It's the process of using her mind to find things and give her a mission to feel successful. Remember if you come up with the mission first, you sort of have control over what he is getting into. I hope this helps.



answers from Omaha on

Hi M.!
I have LOTS of grandkids who sound just like your little one. LOL! I subscribe to an email letter from HomeSchool Free Stuff. They have lots of FREE kits for all ages, all you do is pay shipping/handling. Check it out, they have some amazing stuff!! Here it is: When you go there, you can sign up for their emails. I've ordered from them and you get exactly what they say you do. You don't have to be home schooling to sign up. It's free and they have some excellent ideas and also free CD-ROM's too. Hope it helps!

Just Me!



answers from Omaha on

My four-year-old and I "write" a story every night. She dictates; I scribe. It's so funny. She usually ends up retelling fairy tales, but she puts her own twists on them. She also illustrates the stories. I can't wait to make copies for the family at Christmas time.

I also keep a HUGE stack of magazines, safety scissors and glue sticks readily available for both of my daughters (12 and 4). We make collages all the time. IT keeps them both busy for hours.

We also keep a huge trunk of dress-up clothes. You can get cheap stuff from thrift stores or ask family members. To be honest, all you really need is a trunk of hats. Hats give way to new personas. My daughter plays dress-up all the time. Some times I even take her to the store in her fairy wings.

We also read. I think reading is the number one thing a parent can do to foster imagination.

In the summer, we keep an easel on the deck. She goes out in her painter's t-shirt and paints and paints and paints. Use non-toxic stuff (duh - I know) because my daughter often ends up painting herself.

Have whopper-telling contests. Let your 7-year-old be the judge or dad or the dog!

Play the Word Association Game (a game for ALL ages.) This is where you say a word and then the next person has to say a word that is somehow associated with the original word.

For example, you might start out by saying "Baseball" and your son might respond with "Bat" then you might respond with "Vampire," and so on.

I think just keeping his mind going is what's important. The best thing is that the above activities are free or very affordable. Most imagination-stimulating activities are.

Above all, keep the video games in the closet and the TV off! Nothing kills imagination faster than those two things.




answers from Sioux Falls on

some fun things to do are scavenger hunts, sit down and both of you figure out what kinds of things to look for, draw pictures of them or write them down, then both of you go for a walk to the park or where ever and try to find as many of the things you both thought of as possible. An Explorers kit is very cool, or buy him some cheap binoculars, magnify glass, a plastic bottle or two, tweezers, a big paint brush (to dust off something, not to paint with), a bag or carrier of some sort, and whatever else you can think of. He can have hours of fun indoors and out with that. I made one for my nephew, I even included safety goggles, just for kicks, into it. Walkie/Talkies are great to have too, then he can pretend to be a spy, which there are also many fun gadgets you can picture for him. Buy him one of the cheap digital cameras, then show him his pictures on the computers. I found a great kid's one at Walmart for just $20. The pictures are not high quality, but at that age, they dont really care. Another great one, but cheaper, is to set him on a treasure hunt. Leave clues for him to find with pictures of the next hiding place or make an over all map and tell him he has to follow it exactly to find the treasure, which can be anything, one of his old toys, a new cheap toy, some candy, some fruit, whatever you want. I realize that some arent the cheapest to do, but they are great for any little adventurer. Good Luck and have fun with him, he sounds like a blast!



answers from Grand Forks on

I'm not sure if you are wanting crafty ideas or exploring ideas.

So this is the first thing that I thought of. Bug kit he and catch them and check them out. Microscope you can get a cheaper one, it will still so the same thing. Make thing bigger like check out your tooth brush. Gross! Dose he like books? Get him some good nonfiction books from the library. About the things he is interested in. I love doing nature walks with the kids. It's fun to see how the world is changing in the different seasons. I really like reading to the kids about things that are going on around us. Or things they show an interest in. It’s cool to see there little ticker get going.

Also if its crafty things have it set up for him and let him know what he can get in to and what he can't. If you rotate stuff monthly or every other week he won't get bored with it and have something different to do. there are all kinds of thing to do with that. One week give him a magazine to cut out things then you can have him decoupage a box.

This is kind dorky but I rent movies from the library about different places and we set up Friday night to go to china or the waterfalls just different places around the world or even in our back yard. We really enjoy this time and then we talk about what we would really like to see in real life. It’s a cool way to explore the world with out having to eat snakes...

I have a little girl and boy about your ages. So we have something in common.
Hope this helps and good luck with your little explorer.



answers from Great Falls on

Be proud of him for wanting to explore his surroundings. Get him a workbook that will teach him more.

He sounds like he needs constant stimulation. There are lots of science work books out there.

Make sure he has at least one drawer that is his and fill it with new things, safe things, that he can explore to his content. That may keep him away from things that make a mess.

It can be challenging to have a child so curious about the world around him. I have that with my oldest and it's almost funny with the things he comes up with.

As he grows he'll have very interesting conversations with him and your time with him will never be dull.
Good Luck!!!!!



answers from Pocatello on

My 5 year old daughter is very much like your son. She is incredibly creative in every aspect of her life. To keep her occupied and give her a way to explore her creativity I got her some large plastic bins that have pull out drawers. I keep the drawers stocked with craft stuff. Popsicle sticks, googly eyes, small paper lunch sacks (she makes puppets), paper plates, pipe cleaners, little pom poms, scissors, stamps and ink pads, markers, crayons, colored pencils, stickers, construction paper, string, tape, glue sticks, beads etc etc...Every time I go to a dollar store or craft store and see something neat I pick it up for the drawers. These are her things and whenever she feels like being creative she goes into her drawers and picks some stuff out. This gives her freedom and a sense of accomplishment. I don't limit her or guide her unless she asks for help. Yes, it can get messy but I didn't become a parent because its neat and tidy LOL! I would recommend any parent do this.



answers from Omaha on

Hi M.,

I have a son just like yours, though my son is 10 now. I would go into the bathroom and find all kinds of things floating (or not!) in the sink. I would go in the kitchen and find baking soda and vinegar in a bottle with a balloon on top, making gas and hear "Mom, how cool is this!?" I would find an empty bottle with water and food coloring in it and listen to "Mom! watch how this swirls!" I know this kind of stuff is messy, but trust me, you don't want to squelch any of this curiosity. Go to the library and find some books on simple experiments. There are all kinds of kits in Target/ShopKo that have to do with experiments. Allow him to go digging for worms and then watch the worms dig their way back into the earth. Have him start some plants from seeds in a baggie with a wet papertowel or in a dixie cup in the windowsill. Sign him up for some classes at the zoo. We have spent the night at the zoo three times now and it was an absolute blast. We slept in the jungle, the aquarium and with the cats.

My point is, there is a wealth of stuff out there to keep your little guy busy and keep his mind expanding. Is it usually messy?...yes. Is it worth every papertowel it takes to clean it up?...definitely!

Good luck!

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