Written by Ashley Showell. Teacher mom, Master of Ed (UCLA), and the creator of forwardwithfun.com.

In my pre-mom days, I used to LOVE a good three-day weekend. Usually, it meant a relaxed beach trip, some extra time to catch up on shows, or some delightful crafting awaited me. As a mom, three-day weekends can be a little stressful, trying to find extra activities to entertain the kiddos at home while also staying sane. So instead of ruffling through the bins at the Target Dollar Spot trying to find activity and coloring books, try out these 5 simple three-day weekend activities for kids. The best part? You can do them all with supplies that you likely already have in your home.

Our go-to holiday weekend activities:

  1. Surprise Colors! Science Activity
  2. Supplies: baking soda, white vinegar, muffin pan, food coloring
  3. In your muffin pan squirt a teensy amount of different food coloring before covering it up with baking soda.
  4. Pour the white vinegar into a container and give your child a spoon (or if you have one, a pipette), and let them sprinkle the vinegar on top. The reaction between the baking soda and vinegar creates a fizzing, and the surprise color will be revealed much to their delight!

2. Post-It Match

Supplies: Post-its, marker, 4 pieces of regular paper, optional tape

  • You can use this activity to excite your child about learning anything: numbers, letters, sight words, shapes, you name it. In this example we will use the alphabet.
  • On the larger construction/regular paper, write letters your child is still learning. Place these pages at a home base.
  • Next write the letters, 4 times each, on Post-it notes and hide them around the house! Once you’re ready, have your child find the Post-its and match them to the correct paper, saying the letter’s name and sound.

3. Flour Sensory Bin

Supplies: plastic bin, a cup or two of flour, plastic, measuring cups/spoons, a few toys that can get a little messy

  • We used flour for our sensory bin, but there are so many ways to play with our senses that are less messy too. Some alternative fillers that my kids love are beans, cotton balls, rice, water, and pom poms. I try to make sure I’m using food that is expired or expiring soon!
  • Some people ask, “What are the benefits of sensory play? Is it worth it?” Problem solving, imaginative play, fine motor skills, and vocabulary are all high on the list, but for me, I choose to incorporate sensory play for my kids ages 3-6 because it helps CALM them.
  • Let kids imagine, build, explore, and play with their sensory bin. If you’re worried about mess, this is a great outdoor activity!

4. Counting Snacktivity

Supplies: Post-its, marker, small, numerous dry snacks

  • Every kid loves snack time, so let’s sneak in some learning and make snack time even MORE fun.
  • Write the numbers 1-10 on Post-its, and place them on your kitchen table. You can do this in order or to make it harder, out of order.
  • Have your child place the corresponding number of snacks above each Post-its to practice 1 to 1 correspondence (counting quantities accurately) and number recognition.

5. Plastic Egg Hunt

Supplies: plastic eggs, small objects

  • So let’s make that work for us this three day weekend! Bust out those colorful, mysterious eggs, and put anything inside of them.
  • Here are some suggestions of things you can put in them: mini dinos, rocks, small erasers, tiny glow sticks, magnetic alphabet letters. There are so many options.
  • Most recently, I hid paper slips with alphabet letters on them for kids. Kids get SO jazzed about finding and opening the eggs, each time yelling out the letter name they found!
  • And the game doesn’t have to just be one time around the house either. In fact, my kids enjoy opening all the eggs, then closing them, then hiding them around the room for each other to find. Then I can put my feet up, and enjoy my coffee, sometimes while it’s still hot!

Fun in the hunt!

There is something so magical about hunting for Easter eggs, it’s a shame we only do it once a year. (My family doesn’t even celebrate Easter, but still, the kids beg for an Easter egg hunt!)

Which one of these kids activities are you going to do with your family during a long weekend? Each of them incorporates learning in many ways, so not only do you get the kid(s) to explore and play, they’re also building lots of skills like letter and sound recognition, counting, fine motor abilities, critical thinking, problem solving, and developing their vocabulary.

Go ahead, pat yourself on the back! You deserve it!

About The Author: Ashley Showell is a teacher mom, Master of Ed (UCLA), and the creator of forwardwithfun.com, where her mission is to make learning fun for kids with hands-on activities that are simple to set up. Her favorite activities include eating donuts, listening to Crime Junkie Podcast, running with her mama runner squad, and dancing in the kitchen to Disney music.