10 ways to keep kids busy in 5 minutes or less

One of the fun parts of being a SAHM is planning fun activities to keep us busy all day! Sometimes I’ll get inspired by some adorable craft on Pinterest and there I am at midnight printing and cutting out things, ordering the perfect size of googly eyes, or some other ridiculous thing. I wake up the next day feeling like I should be given a cape but lately it goes one of two ways. 1. My preschooler delivers this soul crushing blow: “I don’t want to do that”. Ummmm OK thanks spawn. 2. Preschooler completes task in about 37 seconds and looks at you like “N ow what are we going to do for the next 8 hours?”. So on those days, I earn my wine. You know what I have learned? I don’t have to spend my precious time prepping activities! There are plenty of games and things to do to entertain the littles that take five minutes or less to get ready. Here is some inspiration for you! These are activities that I have found kept my three year old engaged for MUCH longer than I expected. Please share your favorite low prep or no prep activity below.
1. Letter Art
img_8424Draw large letters of your kiddos name on paper. Have them glue tissue paper on the lines. For less mess use star stickers (or any stickers you have on hand).
2. Shape Art
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Cut out a variety of colors and sizes of different shapes. Encourage your child to build and decorate houses with the shapes and glue them on paper.  This works well to build vehicles also.
3. Finding Nemo
Take turns hiding a Nemo toy in different rooms. If you don’t have a Nemo toy(are you really a parent?) just use a different toy. Think of it as an entry level hide and seek game.  One where you don’t lose your child or fall asleep under a bed.
4. Leaf Sort
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Go on a little nature walk around the neighborhood and collect some leaves to bring home. Sort them by color, order by size, compare the shape, etc.
5. Road Map
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Pull out an old map and the hot wheels can take road trips!
6. Paper Plate Counting
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Write numbers on a paper plate and put small items on the plate to practice counting to that number. We used spiders because it was near Halloween. Also they really freak out my husband and I wanted to hide them all over the house. Two birds.
7. Cook
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I love to bake! Including the kids can be wonderful but sometimes I just need to get something done in the kitchen without “help”. So I give them real kitchen tools and even some real ingredients to mix up. So I waste some oatmeal and have a few more dishes. They LOVE pouring and stirring and having choice of what goes in. No it isn’t edible but they don’t even care!
8. What am I?
This game is great for when you are running errands or waiting for an appointment. Describe an animal for your child to guess what you are. Ex: I am black and white and say “MOO”.
9. Build a fort or obstacle course with pillows and cushions. Obstacles courses for rainy days to help get in those 60 minutes of active play! See Emi’s post on forts here (link).
10. I spy
We love playing a simple game of I spy these days. Especially days where I just want to sit on the couch for five freaking minutes! My three year old is getting good at finding all the things in the room of a certain color and making guesses. I’ve never guessed her “spy” correctly so I’m pretty sure she’s a liar but at least she knows her colors.
Have fun, mamas! -Rae

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