It is day two of summer. Are you going crazy yet? If you aren't, it is inevitable that at some point your kids will be bored and all up in your grill. Here are five tried and true activities to keep kids happy and get a few moments to yourself. Or maybe just make dinner.
1. Spray paint- I know, you are worried you are creating incredible future graffiti artists but you won't. I keep a couple cans of cheap bright paint around for very special occasions. Throw some newspaper, cardboard or an old sheet down in the back yard and let them at it. What to paint you ask?
Old cheap happy meal toys- check this out
Boxes to keep stuff in
Sculptures of recycled stuff- paper tubes, cereal boxes, egg cartons, etc.
Murals can be made on rolled kraft paper
I lay down the ground rules and let them do this pretty much unsupervised. The sheer excitement keeps everyone focused. I think it's something about the holding the big can and pressing down the nozzle at the same time.
If all of this makes you extremely nervous, or you are thinking I have completely lost my mind, substitute paint for silly string.
2. Water play- Grab an under the bed container and fill with an inch of water and cups. Use small paper cups and poke holes through the bottom. Throw a drop or two of food coloring in the bottom. Kids also love tiny plastic animals in the mix. Even older kids are still mesmerized by water play. Let kids get completely soaked, throw towels down. Feeling brave? Try shaving cream instead of water.
3. Clean something- Kids love to clean when there is way too much soap and even more water. Give toddlers a spray bottle and sponge. Let older kids wash the car.
4. Flip Video Fun- This awesome little video camera turns kids into instant film makers and artists. How to Lego videos, awesome skateboard tricks, intense Polly pocket dramas, stuffed animal comedies, all of it can be captured on these hand held wonders. The camera is surprisingly inexpensive and even easier to use.
5. Just Wanna Dance- When nothing else works, just stop. Throw on some music (Pandora rocks!), set the timer for 15 minutes, and shake, shake it! Sometimes a short burst of direct attention meets the need and allows everyone to move on to their own activities after. Surrender to connection works wonders and prevents bigger struggles later on.
Book breaks do the same trick if dancing just isn't your thing.
Do you have any tricks to keep kids busy at your place? What activities wow your crowd? Do tell in the comments.