Are you desperately looking for things for kids to do during the holidays?
School holidays are a great time to spend time with your kids and do things as a family that you can’t normally do.
But if you are a blogger, it can also mean that your business takes a hit because you cannot do as much as you usually do.
I have tried to come up with a list of suggestions to keep your kids busy while you keep blogging.
You can’t do all of them all the time, but with a little bit of organisation and planning, you can get a lot more done if you keep them busy.
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Before I start, let me tell you I came up with this blog post idea by reading a very similar blog post by Elna Cain from www.twinsmommy.com. She has some great suggestions in her blog post, but I thought I could also give you my own ideas to complement my previous blog post’s productivity tips for the summer.
[Disclaimer: Some links in this post contain affiliate links. This means I get a commission if you purchase the product through my link at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Affiliate I earn from qualifying purchases.]
Here they are, and I know,, the first couple are not appropriate for the current circumstances. [Updated 17/03/2020]
If you have family nearby, you already have some support to help you keep the kids busy. But for people like me, far away from both families, one of the best things you can do is to send off your kids on a playdate and that will free some of your time.
If you have kids of different ages, try to organise things so that they’re going on the same day.
The same if you are hosting the playdate, it’s better to have them all together at the same time than having lots of different playdates during the week.
And why not take turns with your other mom friends? They’ll also need some quiet time to do stuff.
But what happens when this is not an option?
Set up a list of chores they can do each day for pocket-money and ask them to do them while you do some work. This usually works for shorter periods of 15–30-45 minutes tops, but every little helps.
Here are some ideas for all ages, and remember, it doesn’t really matter if it’s not perfect, it’s to keep them busy:
- Washing pots
- Tidying up toys
- Cooking or baking simple things (don’t be far)
- Watering the plants (preferably outside)
- Sorting out through their old clothes
- Fill a box with old toys for the charity shop (if they can bear it)
- Making a list of things in your pantry or the fridge
- Sort out the clothes into whites and coloureds
- Give them a cookbook and ask them to make a list of ingredients they’ll need to make them.
If you need to supervise them do things like pinning or setting up your social media posts, you know, the more mechanical things.
3. Activities for kids where you are
You can pay for your kids to go to a childminder or a school club, but there are also usually daily activities organised by your local authority.
You should check their website for activities that will keep them busy for 3-4 hours, like sports camps or craft sessions. These are usually much cheaper than paying for a childminder and if you organise yourself, you could share carpooling, so you gain a little bit more time for your business.
Here, the issue is trying to find activities that they can attend together.
Check out your local churches and libraries as well, there are plenty of activities they can do and some of them are free.
If you can’t go back home because it’s only an hour or so you can still do something:
A friend of mine drops the kids off and then takes a notebook to the car to do some work.
I prefer to have everything in Evernote, though. You can install it on your phone and do some work from there, you can write emails, write or edit blog posts, do outlines, plan projects…
4. Learning to code
Go to www.codeclub.org.uk and click on Projects.
I have just discovered this thanks to a friend and can keep my 8-year old busy coding her own little chatbot and go to the moon while I do something else.
There are many different projects that your kids can do.
Start with the Scratch projects, once you have done one with them, they can usually follow instructions and do everything by themselves.
They need to be able to read confidently for this, so starting at 8 or 9.
There’s nothing like a jigsaw puzzle to keep little hands busy and they are also something they can do quietly while you work.
Here are a few lovely puzzles:
Lego is even better, because they can build their Lego creations and then play with them. They’re easy for them to do and they do not require a lot of input from you while they play.
This, like puzzles, is also an activity that they can do together, and your bigger kids can play with the younger ones.
Here are a few different ones, my daughter loves the Lego Catamaran btw.
These bigger projects can keep them busy for a couple of days while they build them and they still play for ages afterwards.
The downside is you need room for all the Legos.
8. Let them play in the garden
You can set your desk by the window so you can watch them play while you work. Unless they’re a bunch of kamikazes and you’d spend more time worrying than working, of course.
Now is the time to get some new garden toys they can use. They don’t have to be expensive toys either:
You shouldn’t feel guilty about your children playing with electronics while you work. If you choose the right toys, it can be educational for them and they are learning new things all the time.
Fair enough, you don’t want them to overdo it, so time them.
We’ve used some of these over the years:
This one is great for them to learn pen control and dexterity as well as the letters of the alphabet.
There are some great games that they can use with the Leadpad. Most of them are educational. We used several of these games before moving on to the Kindle Fire.
A Kindle Fire for Kids turns out to be much cheaper than buying some of the other toys. There are lots of free age-appropriate games and books. You just need to set the age range in the child’s profile. And it will last for years.
There’s a cheaper version with 16Gb storage, but I wouldn’t recommend it even if you buy a memory card. New updates and features get stored in the local drive and it can soon fill up and slow everything down.
I like to set up time limits and make it so that they have to read before they can play.
One of the things I like about the Fire is that they can access a lot of educational videos. There are lots of videos showing how to do experiments with household goods.
So give your kids some pen and paper as they watch and ask them to make a shopping list for everything they need to do a project. When you have everything, let them watch the video again so they can follow the instructions.
This is a really cheap one to make and great for them to play in the garden or in the kitchen. It will get a bit messy but it’s easy to clean with plenty of water.
Oobleck is a non-Newtonian fluid. That is a liquid that goes hard when you apply pressure but stays liquid if you leave it. You’ve all seen those videos with people walking over a pool of white slime, haven’t you? That’s the stuff!
Anyway, Oobleck is very easy to make, all you need is 2 parts of cornflour (or as they say in the US, cornstarch), 1 part of water and some food colouring.
To make it, put the cornstarch in a big bowl, then add some colouring to the water and mix the coloured water with the cornstarch until it’s a liquid.
That’s it! Give them some spoons or other tools and you can forget you have children for at least 30 minutes. (Mine played for about an hour with it.)
Then give them something to clean the mess!
11. Drawing and colouring in
Most kids will enjoy drawing and colouring in. I am pretty sure you already have lots of colouring books and materials, but these are some that have kept mine entertained for ages.
The idea with crafts is to choose something they can do themselves without you having to help them. Remember last time you got them something and you had to build the whole thing because they just couldn’t manage?
If you can find something that will be useful to decorate their room, it’s even better!
BONUS IDEA: games for 2-3 or more children
I've added this idea here because sometimes you just need something that will keep them all busy without you having to keep an eye of them.
When the children are a bit older, it's easier for them to entertain themselves, but if you have to keep them in the house and want them engrossed in a game so that you'll be able to have some peace and quiet, here are some games we love.
These are great because they're very portable, so the kids can play in another room, they can play for hours with them and they also help them develop their logic and strategic skills.
These are a bit more cumbersome because they some times come in big boxes, but they're also great to keep the kids busy when it's rainy or they can't leave the house for whatever reason.
I've included some for young kids and some for not-so-young kids, and some that they can all play together, even if there's a big age difference:
Hope you have found a few ideas to help you keep the kids busy while you work. And don’t forget to check my summer productivity tips for mom bloggers.
What are your tips to keep the kids busy?
These are excellent ways to keep children engaged while you have some alone-time or cross off things from your to-do list. I personally love puzzles, drawing, and gardening as ways to entertain kids but this oobleck looks like a lot of fun!
Your electronic recommendations look wonderful but timing is definitely something to work out before you let your child take the plunge into the digital world!
Timing and some supervision to make sure they can’t do things you don’t want them to do. That’s why I love some of these products. I know they’re safe and I don’t have to supervise so much.