I know I’m not the only mom who struggles to get things done with little kids underfoot. You’ve probably seen that Pinterest quote image: Cleaning with kids at home is like shoveling snow in a blizzard. So true! But it’s more than just cleaning. It’s everything. I’m a bit of a neat freak, so not having a clean, organized home drives me nuts. And did I mention that I homeschool? It’s basically a recipe for disaster in my OCD areas.
But I’ve learned a few things along the way. The Hubs and I are renovating AND building an addition on our 1961 ranch home. A big task for anyone, the task seems especially big with three children under the age of seven running around us. So I’ve had to get creative with my kids in order to get things done around our home. Here are several great options to entertaining your kids without turning on the TV.
Hide The toys.
I’ve set aside certain toys and games that only come out when needed. As in, I need my children to be occupied for a large chunk of time so I can paint a room, or help The Hubs install crown molding, or review my bank statements . . . basically anything that requires my attention and a quiet home. Some of the toys I’ve set aside include complicated puzzles and toys that require a lot of thinking, work, and detail. (Some favorites include their erector set, K’nex, Tinker Toys, etc.)
Bring on the paint!
My kids love to paint, but it’s a big ordeal. So it doesn’t happen very often. I cover our kitchen island or floor in butcher paper to keep the mess to a minimum. When they’re done, I simply roll up the paper (which I taped down with painter’s tape), and throw the bundle away. My kiddos throw on an oversized t-shirt to protect their clothes, then get busy with water colors. I must admit that this is an activity that requires that I stick close by. I can usually balance my checkbook or work on a writing assignment while the kids paint. And this one will keeps them entertained for awhile.
The dreaded Play-Do.
I used to hate play-Do. Then, my brother bought a 36-pack of Play-Do for my kids for Christmas one year. I have since learned to embrace the beauty of this dreaded kid favorite. I pull out rimmed cookie sheets and tell my kids to keep the mess within the pan. I’ve also learned to not care if they mix the colors. If they want a bunch of tubs of brown Play-Do? That’s their choice. But the best part? Ny kids can play with this stuff for hours! The key is to teach them to keep it in the cookie sheet.
Pull out the special books.
Search and find books are great for this! Think Where’s Waldo, Richard Scarry’s Busy Town, I Spy, etc. And the bigger, the better! We have some really neat picture books with lots of details in them. My kids love poring over the colorful pages and seeing all the neat images. And it doesn’t matter if your kids can’t read yet. Even my 4-year-old can spend a good amount of time searching through these books.
Send them outside!
This should actually be my #1. I love seeing my kids outside playing, exploring, and having adventures. This is when their true creativity comes out. It’s so fun watching my kids play outside in the fresh air and sunshine. Whether you have a big yard with woods to explore or a small yard with a single swing, get them outside! You’ll be amazed at the adventures they dream up. And who needs TV when you have the great outdoors?