I hope you’ll indulge me in another post designed entirely for my own benefit, but I so enjoyed reading what foods are a constant hit with your kids, I was hoping we could talk about a similar subject: what activities are guaranteed to distract your children?
You know, when you’ve got dinner on the stove and the laundry is whumping around in the dryer for the fiftieth time to ‘de-wrinkle’ and the phone is ringing and you seriously have to pee and you just need five. Damn. Minutes? And you’ve got a whiny, bored kid following you around making his whiny, bored noises, and he’s watched all the kid’s programming you can ethically deal with for the day, and what you’re looking for here is an Ooh, Shiny to throw in his direction?
Here are the ones that work for my whiny, bored kid:
Magna-Tiles. I discovered this product when I was researching a previous post and they have been the best toy EVER. (I would like to point out that they lay flat on the ground after the kids are done playing with them, unlike LEGOS. In other words, you will not step on one in the dead of night and crumple to the floor screaming.) The only danger in whipping out the Magna-Tiles is that sometimes my toddler isn’t content to play with them by himself, he would prefer that I help him “MAKEA HOUSE, MOMMY”, but usually these things capture his attention for whole entire minutes at a time.
A bowl of water. I have to be willing to do some wiping up afterwards, but my kid goes nuts for dunking plastic toys in a container of water and informing the world at large how the bouncy ball is going SWIMMING. Bonus: he sometimes creates a clean spot on our dog-print-coated floors.
A balloon. A Mylar balloon, of course, because the latex variety have been proven to be unsafe for small children due to choking hazards and I certainly do not have a bag of rubber balloons that I occasionally blow up and bat in his general direction so that he can go crazy trying to kick it around the house. Ahem.
Stickers. Yet another activity that can create some collateral damage (sticker remnants on every surface of your house, for instance), but as long they’re relatively easy to peel off, a sheet of stickers can occupy Riley for as long as it takes him to remove them all. Although this once backfired on me in a big way when he suddenly realized he couldn’t peel them back off the paper he had stuck them to and his little brain caught on fire.
What solo play activities work for your kid, when you need to keep them busy for a few minutes (and OUT OF YOUR HAIR)?