If you need a few ideas to keep kids busy and get stuff done, here’s a list I came up with out of sheer desperation. We all know how hard it can be to keep kids busy, entertained, fed, educated and at the same time get all the other stuff done that simply needs to be done. Desperate times can call for desperate measures!

The Back Story

A few weeks ago I was having a rough afternoon with the girls. “Rough” as in they were bored out of their minds and driving me crazy. All I wanted was for them to find a task to do that would keep them busy long enough for me to pour a glass of wine, and maybe have a sip or two! That’s all.

Out of sheer desperation, I managed to convince them that picking all the purple berries off the two messy bushes in the garden was an awesome and extremely fun activity. They were bored, and I wrote about the success of this activity, a few other people have suggested some other genius ways of keeping the kids busy so you can actually drink wine get stuff done, so I thought I’d pull the ideas together to share so that we might all regain a little bit of our sanity whilst getting some household chores done. 

keeping kids busy

7 Ideas To Keep Kids Busy

  1. Make them pick the messy berries off the bushes in the garden. (See image above) This will buy you an estimated ten minutes of mum-time depending on the encouragement you shout for them whilst they’re doing it.
  2. Make them pick the daisies from the lawn! This will buy you around 20 minutes of mum-time, provided you have enough daisies. Thank you to Briony from AnyWayToStayAtHome.
  3. Make them match the socks up from the laundry basket! This is also a great learning experience for them as it teaches them matching and colours! This will last as long as you have socks to match. You might even consider getting your already folded socks from the drawers and separating them into the basket just to ensure you get the maximum mom-time you can. Thank you to Jacqui from Mommy’s Little Monkey for this one!
  4. Another great one is “Let’s see who can pick up the most stones from the flower beds”, although this one requires a few rules such as: ‘if you trample the flowers you will lose 5 stones each’ and ‘don’t steal each other’s stones – only new ones count’. This will give you around 15, maybe 20 minutes of mum-time.
  5.  When they come and ask you where their favourite toy is, explain that they will find it if they tidy up their rooms and actually put the toys littering the floor away. Don’t forget to remove the favourite toy from behind the throw pillow you’re leaning against at the time, once they have cleaned up. This will ensure that they carry on looking long after they’ve actually tidied up. Yes, it is mean – you’ve had your fun. It’s really up to you how much mum-time this buys you, I mean how long can you take a plastic toy digging into your back?
  6. This one is a life tip really, and you only get to use it once so pick your moment! Never let them do the washing up. Ever! And then one day, when you really think you deserve it, make a grand announcement that you have finally decided that they are now ‘big’ enough to do the washing up. Present them with an apron, and a chair to reach the sink, remove all sharp, glass or ceramic objects – okay, just let them do the spoons and plastic stuff. You will have to mop the floors dry afterwards. But hey, you at least got to sit down for 10 minutes of mom-time AND the washing up got done … kinda, just let it go this once.
  7. Give them a bucket of soapy water and ‘let’ them wash their outside toys like the sandpit buckets and spades, their bike, the rabbit hutch, whatever really. Unfortunately, this one is only suitable for hot weather, but it will buy you at least 5 minutes of mom-time before they empty the bucket out and start to cry. You will get 5 minutes per bucket – it’s up to you how long this one can go on for as long as you’re happy to keep refilling the bucket, alternatively, just turn the hose on and go lock yourself inside (cos you know, your hair!), fill that glass and watch from the window.
Ideas to keep kids busy

So there you have it, 7 simple, easy and free ideas to keep kids busy so that you can get some mum-time, or actually get some stuff done. Now what you do with your time is up to you, some supervision is required, and you might have to do some cleaning up afterwards, but it’ll be worth it in the end!


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Mom Of Two Little Girls | A Parenting blogger based in Yorkshire, raising strong girls in a modern world.