Whether working from home (show of hands from those that have had a video conference interrupted by a child), trying to get a week’s worth of laundry folded or simply trying to finish our morning cup of coffee before it gets cold, us moms are often trying to find ways to keep our kids busy. In a time when our kids are home more than ever, this is especially important. And if you’re anything like me, you’re starting to draw a blank on new and creative ways to keep them occupied.
Between working from home, schools being closed, summer camps canceled and enough rain this spring to float an ark – I’ve heard the “I’m bored” more often than not lately.
So I’m tapping into my creative side, browsing Pinterest, borrowing ideas from friends and doing my best to occupy at least a few minutes of my kids’ time.
Here is a list of ideas I’ve used or am going to use. Some of these may require a few minutes of parental preparation. A few of them may require supplies to be purchased or gathered. Please share with us ideas you have used or let us know if you try one of these!
Lego Challenge – Task your kids with a specific Lego build. I’ve seen lots of daily challenges out there. This gives them a specific goal but still allows them to be creative. It can be as simple as build a tower for younger kids or as complex as a city landscape with a bridge for older kids.
Painting – I always have washable kids’ paint on hand and pulling those out is always fun. One activity we did recently was banner painting outside. I took a roll of paper and tore off long strips and taped it down to our deck outside. I used paper plates as a palate and added a rainbow of colors. And let them create away. My oldest created a fun GIRL POWER banner while my middle one created a pretty landscape! They worked on it for quite a while! Another activity that is less messy is paint with water. There are a number of paint with water books out there. You simply need a cup of water and a paintbrush or even a Qtip to create a beautiful masterpiece.
Sidewalk Challenge – Use sidewalk chalk to create a challenge on your driveway or sidewalk. The longer the better. Have the kids time each other. A bonus to this is watching your neighbors participate in it as well when they take their daily walks! Another version of this is a bicycle challenge. Draw wavy lines or circles, etc. for kids to drive on with their bikes!
Card Games – If you haven’t yet, now is a great time to introduce your kids to card games. If you remember from childhood, a good game of war can go on for a while. My niece recently taught us how to play a game called garbage. It’s fun and bonus – helps reinforce counting for younger ones.
Board Games – We’ve recently introduced more board games to our kids and we are having so much fun. The best part is – once we’ve taught them and played as a family, they are capable of playing them with each other without help. Besides old familiar favorites like Monopoly Junior or Candy Land, there are a lot of other games out there that encourage strategic thinking. A few to check out are Rush Hour Traffic Jam or Cat Crimes Brain Games.
Play-Doh – Now this one comes with a warning – avoid carpeted areas at all costs! Set up a table on the kitchen floor or use a dollar store table cover as a dropcloth. Give them butter knives, forks, cookie cutters, etc. to help them create!
Snowball Fight – Gather up cotton balls or other soft balls and let the kids throw to their hearts’ content. Bonus: if the weather is nice, give them some cardboard and have them create forts to hide behind!
Colored Pasta Creations – Color some pasta noodles ahead of time and give them to your kiddos with some string and some paper and glue and let them create away! Younger kids will love to make necklaces. Older kids will enjoy the challenge of creating a picture with different colors and shapes of pasta.
Perler Beads – We recently started using these this year. I ordered a big tub and some templates off of Amazon. It’s pretty fun. Our girls make a couple different designs and when they’re done, I use the iron to melt them. My nephews recently made each of us a lightsaber and mailed them to us. This was a big hit!
Diamond Painting – This is a new trend popular with adults and (older) kids alike. Kind of like a paint by number but with tiny jewels. There are many options out there including large landscapes, Disney characters and even small bookmarks if you’d like to start small and see how your family enjoys it.
Forts – This is a tried and true favorite! Pull all the blankets out of the closet and use your table and chairs and couches, etc. then build a fort! Give the kids some snacks, books, or toys and let them hideaway!
Paper Airplanes – Flying paper airplanes is a lot of fun in and of itself. Use some painter’s tape and put distance lines down for some fun flying contests.