As a busy parent, you need easy ways to keep your kids occupied while you get stuff done. Whether cleaning, working, or just taking a second to relax you want to keep kids buys without resorting to putting them in front of a screen.
So how do you keep your child busy at home without TV or iPads? Or without planning elaborate activities?
Luckily, there are so many simple and easy toys and no-prep activities that’ll keep kids busy so you can get stuff done! And in this post, we’re going to explore a whole bunch them.
HOW DO I KEEP MY CHILD BUSY AT HOME?
One of the best screen-free ways to keep a child entertained is through open-ended toys and activities.
Open-ended toys are just toys that can be played with a variety of ways depending on your child’s mood and imagination. It’s the same with open-ended activities.
The benefits of open-ended play are that it gives your child space to create and to let their imagination run wild. This is why kids love to play with kitchen utensils and cardboard boxes! They’re great for helping kids play independently without needing mom or dad to entertain them.
Also, they don’t require any planning or preparation on your part (other than having the toys or supplies) and usually don’t require much clean up. So it’s a win for everyone.
KEEP KIDS BUSY WITH OPEN-ENDED TOYS
I’ve found that open-ended toys are the best investment when it comes to toys for my kids. They’re timeless so they never go out of vogue.
(Yeah, I don’t think my grandkids will be playing with L.O.L. dolls).
And they really do keep my kids happily playing for hours. Here are our favorite open-ended toys:
- Mega Blox: These are wonderful for preschool-aged kids.
- Duplos: made by Lego, these are pricier than Mega Blox, but are super sturdy and fit onto the lego mats
- Legos: While my kids do love the kits, we love the open-ended creator sets.
- Melissa and Doug fold and go barn: Easy to transport and comes with animals and is my 3 year-olds favorite toy.
- Melissa & Doug Fold and go house: Also easy to transport and comes with dolls and furniture. My kids play with it along with the barn.
- Magnet Tiles: Even I get lost playing with the magnet tile builders.
- Play kitchen: Allows for dramatic play.
- Play food
SET THEM UP WITH EASY ARTS & CRAFT
Open-ended arts and crafts activities are awesome screen-free ways to keep kids busy at home. Instead of a specific craft or structured activity, letting them run wild with their imaginations gives them freedom and you some time!
I don’t do elaborate kid’s crafts that I find on Pinterest. Instead, we’re all about no-prep arts and crafts that keep my kids busy for hours.
Here are some ideas:
- Play dough mats (we love the free printable mats from Picklebums) with playdough
- Cardboard box: Thanks to Amazon, we’ve always got these around. My kids love to use washable crayons and get creative!
- Washable sidewalk chalk on your back porch
- Washable coloring table cloth: This provides endless fun for everyone. Just make sure to use extra washable markers and to wash cold in the laundry. You can wash and reuse forever!
- Kinetic sand: Kids can play with it in a tray (to contain any mess) and use kitchen utensils to explore.
- Arts & Craft kit for open-ended crafting
- Easy arts and crafts supplies:
- Pipe Cleaners
- Coffee filters
- toilet paper tubes
- Coloring books: The old standby that never goes out of style. Best if used with washable crayons (since it comes out with just water).
Need more easy activities for your toddlers? Check out 20+ Super Easy Activities for Toddlers.
OUTDOOR OPEN-ENDED OUTDOOR TOYS
Sending kids to the backyard to play in the great outdoors not only allows you to get stuff done and gives them creative play, it also keeps messes from building in the home (which just is more work for you).
Some ideas include:
- Sandbox: I know they’re messy and heaven knows I hate sand in my house, but kids love them—especially paired with some sand toys or old kitchen stuff. Just be sure to have everyone shake off before coming back in the house.
- Water Table
- Sand table
- Outdoor Play House
LET YOUR CHILD TAKE A FUN BUBBLE BATH
If you child is old enough to be unsupervised in the tub (or you can grab your laptop and work in the bathroom) bath time is a great activity for kids. You can even add to the fun with:
Since I run a tight ship at bedtime, my girls don’t get to spend a lot of time playing during their evening bath. And I certainly never let them play with the bath paints and crayons they’ve been gifted over the years.
Which is why they love to take fun bubble baths in the middle of the day and play, paint, and color until they’re all pruny.
YOU CAN ENTERTAIN YOUR CHILD WITHOUT T.V.
So make sure you have some open-ended toys and activities handy when you need easy ways to keep your kids busy so you can get stuff done. They provide hours of creative play for your kids and give you the time you need to clean, work, do your taxes etc.
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