As a parent, there are days when you feel like you can give your kids your full attention—and then there are days when your attention needs to be minimal and you need to rely on your children to entertain themselves. Depending on the age of your children, this task can be difficult to accomplish. So for parents who need to let their kids entertain themselves for a while without breaking the bank on fancy gadgets, here are three inexpensive ways you can keep your kids entertained in certain common situations.
…On a Rainy Day
Rainy days can be hard for parents with active children, especially if you’re home with them all day. However, there are plenty of things you can do with and for your kids to help them have an enjoyable day without driving you mad.
One idea given by Maryn Liles of Parents.com is to use a skein of yarn and some tape to create various obstacles courses for your kids to make their way through. Simply tape the yarn from wall to wall in a hallway and challenge your kids to make it through the obstacles without touching the yarn. Once they’ve done it, they can begin setting up the challenge on their own to see just how creative and flexible they can be, giving you the chance to relax on your own for a few minutes.
…When Mom and Dad are Sick
Being sick with active kids running around the house can be a real challenge for parents. When all you want to do is lie in bed, it seems like all the kids want to do is be loud and messy. To accommodate both of your needs, consider trying an activity that will allow your kids to get their energy out, like jumping into pillows or running around the yard, followed by quiet time reading books from the library or watching a movie you purchased with coupons. While all inexpensive options, they will also hopefully allow you to get the rest you need to feel better soon.
…In the Car
The car can be a tricky place to keep your kids entertained. While you want them to be happy and docile, you also don’t want to introduce anything that will be too noisy or messy. To help with this, Marcella Gates, a contributor to BabyCenter.com, advises parents to try giving kids a gift-wrapped surprise once their buckled into their seat. Simply select a toy they’ve recently been neglecting, wrap it in multiple layers of wrapping paper or newspaper, and allow them to take their time unwrapping the layers to find a surprise toy inside. By not purchasing a new toy, you’ll be saving yourself time, money and your sanity while stuck in a vehicle with your kids.
By being creative, you can come up with plenty of inexpensive ways to keep your kids busy while giving them minimal supervision. Use the tips and ideas mentioned above to make your life easier when you next find yourself in one of these situations.