Keeping the Kids Busy @ Home

Before I was on mat leave, the kids’ holiday breaks seemed so short. But now, they’re SO much longer and I’ve been grasping for things to keep them busy and not glued to a television/iPad/Nintendo 3DS/laptop screen. What a challenge!

We’ve done our fair share of crafts, like using Play-Doh to hold up uncooked spaghetti and seeing who can stack the most Cheerios on top.

Cheerios, spaghetti, and Play-Doh

We’ve also done plenty of colouring, science experiments, and playing for hours with the kids’ new Furbies (and I may break them if I have to play with them anymore). We’ve baked and cooked up some fun recipes.

Now, that we’re nearing the end of the break, I wanted to jot down some of our favourites.

  • Perler beads: These little plastic beads are great for snagging their attention for more than five minutes. My five-year-old stayed on this project for an hour! That’s basically an entire decade in little boy attention spans (at least in our house).
  • Spaghetti, Play-Doh, and Cheerios (mentioned above): This was super fun for the kids on New Year’s Eve, when I was desperately trying to keep them occupied and away from watching the clock.
  • Card games: I’m amazed at how great the kids are getting at playing card games like Go Fish and Crazy Eights. And, the upside is that it’s something that it’s something I really enjoy, rather than the things I do because I love them. Additional bonus – almost no cleanup!
  • Activity books: You know those school activity books that you can pick up just about anywhere these days? My kids love ’em — so long as I have a whack of stickers, ready and waiting to adorn the page once they’ve completed a word search, maze, or other task. Such as fun one, plus they’re keeping their brains in action.
  • Tin foil races: Ball up a little tin foil (or use a cotton ball) and give the kids a couple of straws. Then watch them race around the house. We used the kitchen island as their track. This is an easy one for days when you need something quickly to distract them.

And finally — I let them be bored. This was a horror to them at first, but I tried to explain it first. Boredom is good. It give you time to think about things, like things to do and more. We’re still working on this, but it’s an important one to me.

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