Toddler Trick (so I can make dinner) – Find the Frog!

By , July 3, 2009 1:40 pm

Most parents would agree that dinner preparation is the toughest time of the day. We are worn out and the kids are tired and crabby.  The easiest solution for a hard earned bit of peace is to plunk them down in front of the TV or a video in order to cook without “help” or having to play umpire.

On really bad days, I sometimes find myself too easily wanting to resort to the distraction of a video, especially with my 3 year-old who of course wants to “help” with everything, including dinner. So whenever I come across a new trick to happily and easily occupy her, I am eager to share it with others!

Several years ago I picked up some colored plastic threading and counting frogs at a yard sale. I have used them for everything from math homework to French lessons, but I just discovered a new game that my 3 year old loves: “Find the Frog!”  This is proof that we don’t need something complicated or expensive (or electronic) to entertain and teach a child.

Our frog friends come in three sizes and six colors. I simply tell my 3 year-old what to thread, for example, “medium blue,” and she does it with joy! Sometimes I get fancy and say “three large orange,” or “one small red and two medium green.”

This is so simple that most of you are probably saying “Umm … what’s so special about this?” But since it never occurred to me that this game could entrance my daughter for an hour at a time, it might not have occurred to a few of you either.

Plus, consider these benefits:

  • I can work in the kitchen while playing this game with her (or be lazy and sit on the sofa and read a magazine).
  • The game teaches colors, numbers, and sizes.
  • Children practice remembering and following increasingly complicated instructions.
  • The threading is an excellent exercise of fine motor skills.
  • You could play this with almost anything that threads:  beads, thread spools, colored pasta, or buttons for example.  (Great for creatively repurposing household items!)
  • Variation for non-threadable items:  have your child place certain items in an egg carton, container, or selection of dishware.  For example:  “Two blue buttons in the glass” or “One large seashell in the red bowl.”
  • Make this an activity for your “Mommy I’m Bored Box!”

For more easy ideas, please read these posts about other very simple toddler pastimes that have worked for me:


3 Responses to “Toddler Trick (so I can make dinner) – Find the Frog!”

  1. This is EXACTLY the kind of activity I love and you have graciously listed so many educational bonuses to justify my laziness!
    .-= Mom and Kiddo´s last blog ..Painting with Magnets =-.

  2. Mom Unplugged says:

    I agree. Any activity involving minimal activity on my part gets 5 stars!

  3. Beta says:

    Thanks for this! So simple, yet the kind of activity I can see appealing to my almost-2 year old and my five year old. Although I’m trying to cut back on television time, and succeeding for the most part, the dinner hour is when I’m most tempted to put on a video I know will appeal to them so I can get supper on the table!
    .-= Beta´s last blog ..boys and books, July 3rd ed. =-.

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