One of the most frequently asked questions I get regarding crafts and toddlers, or preschoolers is how do I get them to do activities ?
Young kids like to move, they need to move but teaching them to sit still and focus on a task is important as well. There are 4 things every parent needs to remember when introducing parent led activities into a daily schedule:
1. The younger the child the shorter the activity will be.
When I started art time with my son at 11 months, it lasted maybe 3 minutes, by 18 months it was about 8, now at 3 we can sit for 30 minutes regularly with some crafts lasting much longer. Do not think that just because they only drew for 3 minutes the activity was a flop. It's more important to expose kids to new activities than to force them. If the activity was fun and they are free to stop when they want, it's more likely they will return to it with positive expectations.
2. Capitalize on their interests and their learning style.
If your child is a train fanatic do not start doing art activities with a craft about flowers or boats. Find crafts they like, use train stickers to count, train alphabet books to read! After you have established that art is fun, that sorting is exciting and reading about letters is cool- you can use other themes. Also if your child is the type that needs to use their whole body to learn, go outside, get bean bags with shapes and letters and throw them into boxes. They will be forced to learn in more structure later- right now let's just get them into learning on their terms.
3. Never force.
No one likes to be forced to do anything , and a small child who has just found their "NO" voice is about as likely as a teen to enjoy anything they are forced to do.
4. Don't give up.
Just because they didn't want to do an activity on Monday, try again on Wednesday, they change their minds all the time.
So my answer to that question is to have fun, have realistic expectations ,don't force them but don't give up easily and follow their lead.