You’re sitting in your study room, stressed out and swamped with work to do. Meanwhile, your 5-year-old yells for your attention from the living room. Resigned, you slide the iPad out from its hiding place in the cupboard drawer...
But wait a minute. What if I told you technology doesn’t always have to be the answer? If you’re a parent who’d hate to see their child growing up with their eyes glued to a digital screen, not all hope is lost! Here are 5 creative, old-school ways to keep your kid entertained while you go about your own business...
1. Blanket Forts
Blanket forts was something I absolutely adored building when I was younger. They were always a great way to kill time! All you have to provide your child with are some pillows, blankets, furniture and laundry pegs. Allow your child the freedom to drape the blankets over tables or chairs however they like, then teach them to secure the blankets in place with the help of some laundry pegs. Once they figure out how to do it, they’ll be building blanket forts by themselves all the time! Finally, they can fill their fort up with cushy pillows and toys, before crawling inside their newly-constructed kingdom for a thrilling game of make-believe. Occasionally, you could check in on them as a friendly visitor bearing snacks!
2. Colouring With Play-Doh
Which child doesn’t love getting their hands dirty in a pile of Play-Doh? Simply print out some simple black-and-white cartoon images off the Internet, and let your child fill in the colours by pasting on Play-Doh, rather than using permanent colouring pencils. If they’re unhappy with their chosen colour scheme, they can tear off the plasticine and start over again. This method isn’t only fuss-free, it also helps to encourage your child’s artistic nature!
3. Masking Tape Games
You’ll be amazed by what some good old masking tape can do for you and your family. It’s a great, low-budget way to create some fun for your kids. If nobody’s free to bring your child to the playground, you could always bring the playground to your house! Whether it’s letting them construct a hopscotch, a target boardor an indoor racetrack, you’ll feel assured by the fact you can peel it all off afterwards.
4. Word Scavenger Hunt
This game kills many birds with one stone. Create a list of clues for objects hidden in plain sight around the house, and let your child go about figuring them out. Some examples of clues could be “Starts with a ‘C’ and ends with a ‘T’”, with the answer being a carpet. This game not only works on your child’s cognitive and observation skills, it also improves their English!
5. Game Box
Before you jump to any conclusions, the “game box” I’m talking about doesn’t refer to anything digital. It’s literally a box of games! Fill up a spare container lying around the house with as many cards as you can, with each card specifying a certain activity your child can carry out. The activities can range from “blow bubbles in the garden” to “make a sandwich”. You can spend a free afternoon creating this for your child, so in the future, whenever they’re bored, they can reach into this “game box” for something fun to do!
It’s not easy figuring out meaningful ways to keep your child busy when you are too. Hopefully, this list has given you some great, traditional ideas! And of course, although this shouldn’t always be a first resort, a little screen time every now and then can’t hurt either.