So, you work from home today but, the kids are also home. You have an important meeting coming up and need to entertain them for a bit. A lot of us have been there many times. You can’t always take the day off when you have a sick kid or school is out. I’m lucky to have a stay-at-home husband but there are days that he has stuff to do, or we just need a minute!
A lot of times people resort to a tablet or some other electronic gaming device. We’ve done it 1,000 times but, also discovered sometimes that doesn’t work and there are better options. Here are five of our go to activities when we need some time:
Note: Yes, we can still see them and do not leave them fully unsupervised.
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Painting an “Art Show”
Now before you freak out, painting can be messy but there are great ways to do this. There are washable paint crayons now and that makes a great activity. But, I personally let them use regular washable paint. The kind that can be cleaned off anything (including clothes). Sometimes I even let them hand paint with it!
Tell them that they are making an “art show” for you. Give them lots of blank paper, water, paint, brushes, and a waterproof tablecloth. Let them go to town. You can even hang a little string with mini clothes pins on it. That way after they are done with a painting, they can clip it for the “show”. When you get done with your meeting, they can walk you through their awesome “art show” and show you all their works of art.
Tip: Give them a theme to make it more fun!
Kinetic Sand Table
Ok, I know, this is another what?!? But kinetic sand is easy to clean up and makes for a ton of fun. You can buy scented, colored, and all things in between. It’s not like DREADED slime that sticks to everything.
You can cover your table with a plastic cover, dump the sand on it, and let them build what they want. You can even throw in some little tractors for them to do construction or some cookie cutters to make shapes. The things you can do with this stuff are endless.
Cardboard Box Fun
Boxes are beyond fun! Kids let their imaginations take over and build the coolest things. I’m not kidding when I say we have bought boxes just for forts or rocket ships. They are like $2 a piece and make for days of use.
Get a few large boxes and simply cut a “door” or maybe a window in them. Then give them some materials like stickers, washable markers, paper, and tape. Let them know they can decorate and make signs for their fort while you are working. Before you know it, they will have blankets and pillows added. It’s their own little world.
The Movie Experience
This one requires a little more work up front but, it’s a fun one. Rather than just watching a movie, create an experience out of it. It can be a drive in (ride ons), camping trip (projector), or, our favorite, the fort movie.
My husband will have the kids build a fort with him. They use sheets, couch cushions, boxes, and anything that can make a good space. They pull their pillows and blankets in. Then he will actually put a small tv inside the fort. Once they are all set up, he gives them their popcorn and “special” drinks or snacks. They pick a good movie and settle in. For some reason, when it’s an experience they chill and watch.
As I said, you can do many different themes. If you have a projector, do a camping theme or make a drive in. They can pull up their dolls or Barbie’s in cars and use their ride ons to sit on. Get creative with it.
If it’s a nice day out, I highly recommend water play. This is really as simple as letting them put their swim gear on and filling various bowls with water. If you have a water table that is a great addition. Let me be clear, I’m not saying put a pool out and take an hour. That obviously needs to be supervised closely.
Once you get various bowls and buckets to have water in, use some add ins. Little sponges, shovels, plastic people, and squirt animals are fun. My kids typically use their dolls and cars too. If you set it up on the porch or back patio just, obviously, be where you can watch them. Kids will play with water forever!
Tip: if you are on concrete, use some chalk too. When it gets wet, it makes a fun crayon like texture and easily washes off.
Hopefully these things have given you at least one idea to get a little time when you need it and make for a fun experience for your kids. Check out my post on our top five classic family board games too!
-Kristy M., Mommy To Many