Jump to content


Activities for kids to give mom a break?


Recommended Posts

I need to find things to keep my kids busy when I need a break. Not TV or video games. I have a 6 year old and a 3.5 year old. Paints, building blocks and pattern blocks will keep them out of trouble. I suppose I could pull out their legos. I don't love puzzles because I always have to hunt down the missing pieces. If you have some suggestions so this mama can take a break and not have to be ON all day. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Water beads? Wiki stix? New toob animals they only get at special times might work. Play doh, if you don't have carpet they can crush it into. Glow sticks and glow bracelets in the bath tub, if you don't mind leaving the younger one alone with the older one in water. Oh, and fun self inking stamps with paper, if you can trust them not to go crazy and mark up the furniture or walls. I also really like those Melissa and Doug pads where they color using a pen filled with water.

Edited by Epicurean
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

For the 3.5 year old:
- Kumon workbooks
- coloring book, sticker book, simple dot-to-dot book, paint with water book
- "busy bag" activities that you set up in advance and rotate through (see Paula's Archives for preschool activities) = http://da1.redshift.com/~bonajo/preschool_activities.htm
- cardboard appliance box, scarves, dress up clothes, a play doctor kit or mail box or other items for imaginative play
- Montessori type activities -- using tongs or tweezers, sorting, stacking, etc.
- audiobooks
- educational computer games: Starfall, Owl and Mouse, ABCya
- educational videos/shows from the library

outside (with you sitting on the porch with a book, looking up from time to time):
- big tray of shaving cream
- sandbox and toys, plastic spoons, cups, etc. for making roads/cities
- magnifying glass exploration of the backyard
- plastic tub of water and bubbles
- plastic tub of water and kitchen utensils and containers for scooping and pouring 

For the 6 year old:

- mazes
- very simple word searches
- very simple crossword puzzles
- hidden picture puzzles
- puzzle books from Tin Man Press
- Gifted and Talented series by Amerikander or others

- tangoes
- geoboards, and activitiesprintable patterns, or matching booklet Math Discoveries with Geoboards -- gr. K-1,gr. 2-3
- pattern blocks and pattern picturesprintables, or matching booklet Math Discoveries with Pattern Blocks -- gr. K-1gr. 2-3
- multi-link cubes and activities, or matching booklet Mathlink Cubes Primary Activity Book (gr. K-2)

- coloring books and crayons or markers
- little Dover stained glass coloring books and colored markers
- sticker books
- stamps, inkpad, and blank paper/cards (to create her own stationery to use or to give as a gift)
- origami book of simple folded projects, and origami paper
- craft sticks (here are project ideas)
pony bead crafts

- Sculpty clay, Play-Doh, or home-made salt-dough
- loom loop crafts
- Big Yellow Drawing Book, or, 1-2-3 Draw books by Freddie Levine, or other
- construction paper, stickers, markers, and fancy scissors
- paint by number kit
- little pom-poms, felt, pipe cleaners, and "roll-y" eyes to make creatures

- Gears and Pulleys kit
- Usborne Magnets book & supply kit magnets kit
- Usborne Light and Color book & supply kit
- age-appropriate science lab kit
- sun print paper
- TOPS Lentils unit for gr. 1-3 (science unit with activity cards for independent science learning)

- Reader Rabbit
- Bailey's Book House / Sammy's Science House / Millie's Math House
- Word Munchers / Number Munchers
- Jump Start
- Zoombinis Logical Journey
- I Love USA
- Mighty Math
- Math Blasters 

BOOK BASKET (only comes out at mom-break-time)
- Where's Waldo books
- I Spy books
- Search and Find Books
- magazines: Cricket, Ranger Rick, Highlights, etc.
- audio books and tape player/CD player/MP3 player with headsets

Please share independent enrichments and fillers
Work Box ideas

Edited by Lori D.
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I used to let mine go crazy outside in a small pool or during the winter inside with a bunch of bath toys and clean up after. I would read outside of the splash zone and look up after every sentence to check on them. Rotate the bath toys you allow.


A large outdoor sand table is also good but requires clean up after. You could do sand first, then pool or bathtub.

Edited by ElizabethB
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not sure what the weather is like by you, but here the kids can play for quite some time with sand, water, sticks, shovels, mud, plants, rocks, etc.  Water is probably the most time consuming for them.  Even washing dishes could be an hour long endeavor for my kiddos at those ages, especially if there was a nice pile of suds.  I just place some towels on the floor, give them non-breakable things, and then use those wet towels to "mop" the kitchen floor. Clean up was fairly quick and worth it for those clean dishes and an hour of peace.  :)  


Hopefully you will find some suggestions that work for you.  Those ages, for me, were an energy drain.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Regular quiet time after lunch. If the six year old is reading, this is mandatory free reading time. 3.5 year old can listen to audiobooks.

Amen. Though both of my older kids still mainly listen to audiobooks during quiet time and work on projects or Lego or Playmobil. It's one of their favourite times of the day.


By about 6 and 4 I would give my girl those low-temp hot glue guns (no risk of major burns) and a pile of recycling, bright paper, craft supplies, etc. They would go to town with those and spend hours a day for a few days making massive towers and other 'sculptures'.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...