abarton.jpgSummer has come to an end, which means I have exhausted all efforts to keep my kids entertained. They aren’t quite old enough to use the “I’m bored” line but they do show signs of boredom throughout the day like picking fights, trying to ride our dogs and seeing how much toilet paper a single flush can hold.We’ve done lots of outings this summer and have spent several days at places like the zoo, pool, library, local parks etc… with the weather changing I’m running out of steam. Going into fall I’d like to just sit at home and play the quiet game with my kids but they aren’t into that idea for some reason. Lately I’ve found a couple of easy at home activities that keep my crew happy and busy.

One thing I’ve found that consistently brings joy without boredom is prepping dinner. This is my go to “hey let’s take a break from using our furniture as a Ninja Warrior course and do something fun!” idea.Sometimes it’s as simple as helping me wash veggies, other times I’ll chop ingredients and they can sort by color into plastic bags. When I’m feeling brave I’ll let my daughter measure spices into little bowls or fill our sink with bubbles so my son can wash some plastic plates. Most dinners that I cook (or at least a portion of the meal) can be prepped any time of day allowing me to fall back on this activity whether it’s 9:00AM or the 4:00PM witching hour. This gives them a little responsibility in the kitchen, allows them to feel like they are helping and, most importantly, keeps them busy!

If you don’t have a meal to prep you can always have the kids use plastic knives to chop a banana, throw it in the freezer and then put the frozen slices in a blender/food processor and mix until you have “banana ice cream.” My kids also love to make “yogurtsicles.” We’ve done this so often that they know how to make them 100% by themselves! To reduce the amount of mess we use Stonyfield’s YoKids Squeezers (my kids love the strawberry) and squeeze the yogurt directly into molds. This keeps them busy for a while and, once the yogurt freezes, gives us a sweet and healthy treat to enjoy after dinner.

Another indoor/outdoor activity my kids love is what we like to call the find and freeze game. I hide a little pile of plastic toys, a.k.a.“treasures,” for my kids to find inside the house. Sometimes we use a treasure map and other times I’ll let them wander around telling them they are “hot” or “cold.” Once they’ve collected their treasures we put them in a plastic food storage container, fill it with water and pop it in the freezer overnight. The next day we pull it out and the kids take turns trying to break the toys out of the ice. They can use their hands, plastic kid utensils, golf tees, sticks…anything they can find to “save” their toys.

Keeping kids busy at home can be a challenge but I’m glad my kids beg to do these simple activities over and over again!