When you’re working, keeping the kids busy is important. Yet you also want to make sure that they’re doing enriching activities that help them learn, foster their creativity and/or help them bond with their siblings.
It can be a hard balance to strike, and giving them the TV remote or a game controller can seem pretty appealing. But trust me, there are solutions to this problem! Here are some simple, inexpensive ways to keep the little ones entertained while you work.
Tangrams are old Chinese puzzle sets where you must create different shapes and designs using the seven pieces given. There are thousands upon thousands of different things you can do with tangrams, and can serve as a great tool for learning math.
2. Educational sites
From school-approved websites like Khan Academy, CoolMathGames and Funbrain to kid-friendly gaming sites like Poptropica and Webkinz, there are plenty of safe places online for kids to learn and play. Although most parents wouldn’t want their kids spending the entire day online, these sites will keep them busy while you wrap up all your meetings.
3. Creating paper dolls
Creating paper dolls was my obsession as a child. Designing them on a sheet of notebook paper, coloring them in, then carefully cutting them out was such a fun process! I’d create whole families with ages and names written on the back, and I’d design new clothes with tabs when I wanted to change their outfits.
Encourage your kids (even the older, middle school-aged ones) to really tap into their creativity and build a community of paper dolls – perhaps even with cardboard box houses! It’s a fun time-killer, and your kids will have new toys to play with that didn’t cost a thing.
4. Card games
Perhaps this is my inner geek speaking, but I’m always a sucker for a good card game. Whether it’s a fantasy strategy game like Yu-Gi-Oh or Magic: The Gathering, or regular card games played on fun or educational decks, I could spend hours playing cards. Strategy card games offer thousands of cards for kids to choose from, and sitting down for a game or two promotes logic and critical thinking, as well as gives siblings quality time together!
Hope these tips help! And remember that it’s Mental Health Awareness Month; don’t forget to take some time just for yourself to relax and recharge!