I am a stir-crazy mom. I like to get out of the house if at all possible. I am happier. The kids are happier. Everyone does better when we have a little variety in our daily lives.
However, other than the 3 days of Texas fall and the 7 days of Texas spring, the weather in my homeland is extreme. 107 degrees? Nope. Not gonna do it. 42 degrees? Am I trying to get hypothermia?
The past couple of years, we’ve lived in small towns where the indoor play areas were NON existent. There were ZERO indoor playgrounds. No McDonald’s (with a playground). No Chick-Fil-A. So I was forced to Google “preschool activities” … nay, “EASY preschool activities” almost daily. Not because my kids need to be the smartest or the craftiest, but because I need them to GET OFF MY BACK for just one mother-loving second.
Now, there’s a time and place for parent-assisted activities, but maybe today you are just not feelin’ it. Maybe your coffee maker broke or the baby was up all night or your kids have been up since 5:30 am and you’ve entertained them for 2 hours straight when you realize everyone else’s kids are just now waking up and WHYYYY does the clock move so slowly and HOWWW is it JUST now breakfast time? If that’s the case, let me do you a solid. Here are some activities that keep all three of my kids (4, 3 and 1) entertained for at least 30 straight (almost) uninterrupted minutes.
At about 5 o’clock (and still 2+ hours before Daddy gets home), when it’s time for me to cook dinner, my 1-year-old just can’t do life anymore. He NEEDS to be held for the rest of the day lest he die of dehydration from all the tears he has shed. It is very sad and makes cooking dinner THE BEST. Here’s my solution: get out a bunch of pots, pans, bowls, spoons, measuring spoons, mixers, spatulas, etc. and fill them with something. I usually use dried pasta… the bigger the better, because it will be everywhere. Bowtie is my go-to. Rice is never smart. Cheerios and Goldfish are my backups but they tend to disappear. All three kids will cook and mix and stir and create a huge mess BUT THEY WILL BE QUIET.
I have an ice crusher on my fridge door, but if you don’t, big cubes will work too. I usually use a little of both because the crushed ice melts super fast. Just fill up several bowls with ice and take them outside with spoons and cups inside, or even small figurines or toys that they can pretend with. For added excitement, put a couple drops of food coloring in each bowl. They will love mixing the ice to create new colors. THIS IS FREAKING EDUCATIONAL, Y’ALL. And requires pretty much zero effort. Annnnnd they can eat it without spoiling their dinner.
SCISSORS AND PAPER
Listen, guys. They are preschool scissors and are about as sharp as a spoon. Call me negligent, but this keeps my kids entertained for days (minus the one-year-old). Before we had an iPad for road trips, I would give my kids a pair of (preschool) scissors and a notebook full of paper in their carseats and just let them trash the backseat. They cut and cut and cut and cut and little tiny pieces of paper covered the floor of the car but, once again, they were quiet and I wasn’t fielding 18,000 questions from the backseat. When we are at home, they will cut stuff out of the magazines and glue them to the paper with their glue sticks. Yes, it’s messy, but since this thing is my co-wife, it’s okay.
I can’t handle sand. It has this weird property where it doesn’t come off at all yet comes off everywhere. I don’t do sand. However, I love rice. Just buy a big bag of rice from the grocery store and fill up a plastic tub, throw in some toys (sand toys if you have them) and you’re done. I put mine on the back porch or in the grass.
I found this activity here. Grab a blender or food processor. Throw in a little water (like a cup) and a lot of dish soap (the cheaper the soap, the more you’ll have to use). Turn on the blender and let it go (let it gooooo) until it gets really thick and, well, foamy. If it isn’t thickening, add more soap. If there’s not enough, add more water. Keep going until you have found the right consistency/amount. I put it in pans and bowls, toss out some kitchen utensils and medicine droppers and let them at it. It does get slippery if it’s on the kitchen floor, so either put a towel down or put it outside. It also liquefies after a while so you’ll have to make another batch every 20 minutes or so. (BONUS: Just wash off the soap when they’re done and your dishes are uber clean. However, don’t throw them in the dishwasher unrinsed or else your dishwasher will start foaming at the mouth. Or so I heard…)
So if you are a mom that needs your children to be kept busy for a bit so that you can
check your Facebook in peace for the love of all things fold the laundry and wash the dishes, I hope this helps! Please share your underachieving activities so that I can add them my brain! We are always needing some variety!