I’m a huge fan of taking the kids for zoo trips, museum days, bike rides – you name it!
Sometimes, though, for lots of possible reasons, home is where the party has to be at.
Here are some of the super simple things that have made my third-time-preggo days easier with two little bosses at home to entertain.
It’s big and fat enough to not be too easily broken by little mits, and for $10 for a box of 48 colours, it’s a super cheap way to keep kiddos entertained… and outside! My kids have so much fun drawing all over our paths and driveway – and weatherboards, fence, front door – basically anything the rain or hose can clean is fair game.
Mr 4 has learnt how to write his name, and loves drawing roads and train tracks for his toys to navigate, while Miss 1.5 is delighted just to be allowed to draw on vertical surfaces without getting into trouble. They’ve spent so many happy hours outside together with that tub of chalk that I feel like a box should be given out to all parents as a mandatory measure for conserving parental wellbeing.
My son loves to cook, so I’ve gradually collected a bunch of recipes that are so easy (but still great) that he can almost manage them on his own.
The cooking in itself is a fun, educational activity, but the spoils make morning tea an event that we all enjoy together. Find recipes with minimal ingredients and necessary equipment, and teach older kids how to do it all – it can mean a bit more mess, but Mr 4 confidently cracks and whisks eggs, measures out ingredients, uses the food processor (supervised of course!) and helps me to load the dishwasher at the end of it all.
Teach your kids to do the dirty work
Our little guy is SO keen to help with the most mundane of tasks and since I’ve let go of my control habit a bit, I’ve realised that letting him do ‘the jobs’ is fun for him and makes life easier for me.
He helps me separate the washing into lights and darks, he carries it through to the washing machine and loads it up, he knows how to put the machine onto the right setting and whilst terrible at pegging the clothes out, he gives it a red hot go and I love him for it. He also loves to play ‘garbage man’, which we make extra authentic by letting him take the actual kitchen rubbish out to the big bins outside. This is, for some reason unfathomable to me, one of his very favourite things to do.
Getting the kids to do these jobs definitely doesn’t make them happen any faster, but it does keep the kids entertained and feeling pretty proud of themselves, and means they’re not always waiting for you to finish doing household chores.
Role play toys
We have a play kitchen, which is great and gets used a lot by both of our kids to make tasty treats for me to pretend to eat. I also bought a little wooden coffee machine a while ago, and the kids spend lots of happy time together harassing me to order coffee after coffee – I kinda wish I’d bought them a wooden cocktail shaker instead to be honest.
Op shops are absolute gold mines for role play equipment and can be even more fun than toys because the kids feel like they’re using ‘real’ things for their games.
So this is the one that I felt was really a bit of a stretch but surprisingly, my kids really went for it and it literally involves me doing nothing but sitting down to watch and ‘time’ them on my phone*. They gather bits and pieces from around the garden and lay them out on the grass, and then we decide what they have to do to get around the course.
It might be things like jumping over the hose reel, going down the slide, running around the bucket five times. Obviously my 1.5 year old has no idea what she’s doing and just runs around like a goon behind her big brother, but they’re outside playing together and (in theory) tiring themselves out for a bit.
*I don’t really time them but they think I do – really I’m looking at all the much more fun things my friends are doing on the socials, like becoming yoga instructors, going back to uni, traveling overseas and generally looking as though they sleep sometimes.