There’s no doubt about it: trying to juggle getting things done with kids underfoot is challenging. These ideas of activities to keep kids busy while you get things done will help you out!
The dishes are piling up, the laundry is overflowing, and your emails and voicemails are going unanswered. All while the kids are asking you for the umpteenth time for more snacks, drinks, or help.
You are desperately trying to juggle it all and feel like you are failing miserably.
Mama, take a long, deep breath.
You are NOT failing.
You ARE doing fantastic!
If you’re not used to having everyone at home all day long, all at the same time, it can be a hard way of life to transition into. Whether you are trying to work from home, keep the house clean and organized, or just pay a few bills, having kids underfoot all day can make getting things done tricker.
But, not impossible. I am here with some help!
Thankfully, the internet and full-time homeschooling moms and dads all over the world have weighed in and offered up a ton of simple activities to keep kids busy so you can get things done.
If you’re starting to feel stressed and overwhelmed, take a deep breath (or several) and tell yourself that it’s going to be okay. This isn’t a normal situation for anyone to be going through, so putting an abundance of pressure on yourself right now isn’t going to be healthy.
Instead, think outside the box on ideas and activities that the kids can do. They’ll be happier and active, and you just might be able to check off some boxes on your daily to-do list.
Super Simple Ideas and Activities to Keep Kids Busy
Even though you might feel like you’re stuck in a rut about how to entertain the kids, there are a lot of things that you can actually do to keep them busy and active throughout the day.
Some of these simple ideas take minimal effort to prepare, while others might take a few moments of your time. What it does is buy you is the ability to occupy the kids so that you can be as efficient as possible with your time during the day.
4 Tips to keep your little and big kids busy
Get Them Thinking – Find activities and toys that engage their brains! A huge bonus if you can come up with educational activities or games. Your kids will be so engaged they will forget they are actually learning something!
Spark their creativity– Allow your kids to express themselves. Provide plenty of artsy activities that bring their imagination to life.
Give them adventure– Encourage their interests and let them explore!
Let them play their way– Provide the tools and let them have fun. Whether it is art, toys, or pots and pans, let your kids play freely.
9 Fun Activities to keep kids busy and entertained
Here are some of my favorite go-to activities to keep kids busy when I need to get things done.
Outdoor water fun
Set up the sprinkler or water table outside in a location that is safe for the kids where you can watch from a splash-free zone. Turn on the water, lather them up with some sunscreen and let them just have some good old fashioned water fun.
They’ll love the fact that they can get all messy outside, and it’s certain to buy you several moments of time to tackle some of the significant needs on your list.
Let them paint the windows
Don’t worry, as long as you use washable paint; it will come off! Give them some paintbrushes, put down a sheet underneath, and let them go to town. Tell them the rules for painting before they get started and peek in on them every few minutes to be confident that they’re behaving.
Before you know it, you’ll have your very own stained glass windows and door to show off to the rest of the outside world.
Give them some screen time
I know, I know. I am well aware of what some parents say and think about screen time. Then there is the American Academy of Pediatrics screen time recommendations. But it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. When used sparingly, screentime can be a great reward for the kids.
You can even tie it in to be halfway educational with some PBS shows, online learning games, or documentaries. Kiddos can video-chat with a family member too. They can read books together, play a game, learn a skill together, tell jokes; you name it.
Stop thinking of screentime as a digital babysitter and just use it here and there throughout the day. Kids deserve just as much of a brain break as adults do, and sometimes, that just means that they get to sit down and enjoy their favorite, appropriate shows or games.
You shouldn’t beat yourself up over the fact that your child is watching a movie. It can be an excellent way for them to defrag and find comfort connecting with their beloved characters on the screen.
Additional screen time tips:
- Have a family screen time plan
- Set time limits
- Encourage kids to play off the electronics
- Be a good role model when it comes to screen time
Set them up with their own “office.”
So many times, the kids are just wanting to do what you’re doing as an adult. Am I right? When you’re trying to get some work done, why not set them up with their own office so that they can get some of their work done, too?
Have a little desk in a room, add a calculator, some paper, a few books, art supplies, and even pull out an old laptop or keyboard if you have one! Then challenge them to do their “work” for the day so that they can be productive, too.
This can be having them create a book, draw pictures, write letters to friends and family, or just “pretend play” that they’re working at their desks. What a great way for them to use their imagination while being creative, too.
This is one of my favorite activities to keep kids busy when I am trying to get some work done!
Add a fun workout routine into their day
When kids seem to be restless and not listening, it more than likely means that they have a ton of energy to burn. Why not give them a fun workout that can quickly help them burn some of that excitement?
Start by asking them to each pick something fun to do, such as jumping jacks or even push-ups. Then, once they get the hang of it, start a timer for 10 minutes and tell them to take turns being the “fitness instructor.” This will give you 10 minutes of time to do something quickly. Plus, it will work their bodies as well.
How about themed yoga with storytime? Check out Cosmic Kids Yoga Adventure on Youtube! Her engaging videos range from 10-30 minutes! Some of her themes include Trolls, Harry Potter, Pokemon, and Disney.
Dig out the stored toys and make them “new” again
If you’re anything like me, you probably have a tub (or two) of older toys that you put up to make room in your house. This means that the kids have forgotten about them, and it might be the perfect time to reintroduce them out into the world.
Grab the tub and let the kids dive in. They’ll have a blast looking at some of the older toys that they’d forgotten they even had. Their imagination will immediately kick in, and they will want to start to play.
This not only works for toys, but it’s also great for puzzles, games, and books as well. Anytime you remove something from your child’s vision and thought process for more than six months of time, they’re going to be geared up and ready to use it when it’s reintroduced back to them.
There are so many fun ways you can keep kids busy with this activity! You can create a printed page of images of several items you have around the house. Then send your kids off with a pencil or crayon to check off their finds.
Or let them use your phone or a tablet to photograph each item they find. Make sure you have lots of items on the list to keep them searching around the house for a while!
Build a fort
I don’t know about you, but building forts was my all-time favorite activity when I was a kid. I would play in that fort for hours! Grab a few of those Amazon boxes you have lying around from your recent order, or a camping tent, a few large blankets, pillows, flashlights, and snacks. Let them use their imaginations to build the ultimate fortress or indoor campsite!
Clear the living room floor, put on the kids’ favorite tunes (not too loud if you are trying to work), and have them throw a dance party. They can dress up, video- chat with friends, and even make a music video.
Have a good plan and some simple activities to keep kids busy
If you’re struggling to find the time to get anything done, don’t throw in the towel. All you need to do is have a solid plan of simple activities that your kids can easily do.
Make sure that you choose activities that don’t need a ton of supervision so that you’re able to escape and go about with your list of things to do. Picking one to two extra activities for your child to do daily will give you a lot of spare moments to yourself over the duration of a week.
The most important thing about finding activities to keep kids busy is to have plenty of options! When they get bored with one activity (and they will), you will want to have another one ready and waiting!
Which of these activities to keep kids busy are you planning on doing first?
Are you looking for even more activities to keep kids busy and entertained? You might enjoy my posts:
How to Be a Hero This Summer with Kid-Approved Fun Activities
24 Activities For 1-Year-Olds That Spark Imagination