Anyone else experience a little PTSD during Snowmageddon, because the last time our kids had a week off of school they didn’t go back? Now Spring Break is around the corner, and we are holding our breath. I think we could all use some inspiration on how to keep the kids busy while they are home from school.
Here are six ideas for how to keep the kids busy that don’t involve sitting them in front of a TV show.
***Be sure to comment below with one of your own brilliant ideas! You could potentially save another mama’s sanity…***
RELATED READING :: Keeping Littles Busy on Bad Weather Days
Drawing Competition – If your kids are old enough to read, write down 10 – 20 different nouns like ninja, princess, tree, bunny, etc on a piece of paper, cut each word out, and place them in a bowl. The kids can take turns picking from the bowl to see what they get to draw. If your children cannot read, pick out an animal book and flag each page with an animal for them to draw on their own. When they are done with all the items, you can judge who wins the drawing competition! This, no joke, has entertained my children for an entire day.
Scavenger Hunt – Giving your kids age appropriate things to search for in the home is a great way to keep them busy, but also, it gets their minds thinking! For younger children, make colored piles, start with one color, and ask them to find as many things of that specific color in the house. Once they complete a pile, tell them to move to the next color. For older kids, you can make it more challenging by asking them to find things in the house that start with a certain letter or things that could sink in water or that are magnetic. They will be so proud to show off all the things they found!
Performance – If your children love music, this is a fun way to keep them busy and get exercise! Use a bluetooth speaker, Alexa or Google Home so they can control the music selection within your guidelines. Encourage them to practice their dance moves, or sing along to their favorite songs. If you create a space for them to practice their little performances and schedule a time for them to put on a show, they (fingers crossed) won’t interrupt you every two minutes to watch them! If the kids are really getting into it, ask them to create costumes for the big show and pop popcorn to make it feel more special.
Imagination Play – Sometimes kids just need a little help starting a story before they can take over with their own imagination play. For instance, set up a toy register or a calculator in the kitchen with a few grocery bags, and viola, you have made a grocery store! Or turn your bookcase into a library and let the kids create their own storytime and check out system. Once the kids see how to create the imaginative space, they can entertain themselves! Sometimes this isn’t enough to sell a child on the idea of creative play, so you may have to dust off your inner Tinker Bell in order to help your kids see and believe. Start a story by giving each child a pretend name and backstory. For instance, you could play pirates and name off who is the captain, the lookout, and the navigator. Start the story by imagining you all are on the run from a terrible thief who wants to steal the treasure you’ve just discovered. Hop on the bed that is now the pirate ship, and help the kids come up with what to do! Are they going to find land, capture a prisoner, sink and seek shelter? By inspiring the story, you can help your child see the fun possibilities and let their imagination take over. Once they get started, they will latch onto the story and entertain themselves!
Chores – Sometimes kids just need work. They feel a sense of accomplishment and purpose in spending time earning something or even adding value to the family and home. Giving children age appropriate tasks allows them to explore things that seem grown up while enhancing a life skill like doing dishes or laundry. It teaches them discipline and order – skills that translate to any aspect of life. It doesn’t need to be anything major to start with, maybe wiping down bathroom counters and cleaning windows is enough. Sometimes we don’t realize how capable children are at an early age. I encourage you not to hold your children back from a task because it seems too large – within reason, of course, nothing dangerous please! They will be so proud to accomplish a hard chore!
Forts For A Purpose – Who can craft the best building out of sheets and blankets? I know this isn’t a novel idea, but make this fun activity feel fresh and new by giving a purpose behind the effort – all the better and more satisfying for your kids! For example, ask them to build something so grand that the entire family could have a movie night underneath it. So fun! Or link the concept to imagination play like – building a Fortnite fortress for nerf wars, a castle for royal princesses, or a cave for wild bears. Or add a fort to one of your routine things; sometimes it’s fun for kids to have a different space for reading or nap time. Letting children invent their special space, allows them to grow using strategy and creativity together while entertaining themselves for hours.
Games and Puzzles – Our board game collection doubled this year thanks to quarantining. I doubt we would have discovered all the fun new games to play had we not had the extra time at home. If you haven’t ventured down the game aisle at Target in a while, check it out! This year we discovered games like exercise dice , the Floor Is Lava, and Kids Against Maturity. We also still love the classics like Uno, Sorry, and Clue. Of course, these games are for older children, and I don’t want to leave the littles out! Younger kids obviously love puzzles with characters like Elsa or Captain America, cute animals, or ones with pictures of their favorite things on it! Seek and Find sticker pads and Wipe Away books are awesome activities that get their little toddler brains working! And who doesn’t love playing Go Fish, Memory, and Trouble? At four years old, my son was beating everyone at Go Fish! Smart cookie…
Special Time Tubs – Kids everywhere love the thrill of any mystery toy package – LOL Surprise, Mash’Ems, Legos, and more. It’s the same thrill as a Happy Meal Toy – you never know what you’re going to get. The purchase is made entirely based on the surprise. Genius, but also annoying for every parent everywhere buying overpriced surprises. However, with this idea in mind, parents can create their own surprise tubs that ONLY come out when mom or dad needs an hour or so of uninterrupted time to exercise, rest, work or whatever. Keep each tub consistent with what uninterrupted time you need. For instance, one tub is for work and the other is for rest. Inside the tubs are unique toys that they never get to play with unless the bucket is out. Your kids will be excited for tub time because that means they get to dig into the fun! It’s a win for everyone!