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I can remember those days when all of our kids were under ten years old.  Sometimes, we just need a “filler” for your day: fun activities to fill the day (that don’t include electronics).   

This post was written years ago, but I wanted to share it again today because you’re never too old for some of these ideas. 🙂 

Activities To Keep The Kids Busy 🙂

You need something that is going to give you thirty minutes of quiet time (well- no kids under your feet time) while you cook, or fifteen minutes of quiet time while you are getting a quick shower.

So, I wanted to share some ideas with you for a few activities to keep kids entertained.

quiet time activities in a hurry

1) Painting with watercolors.
It’s simple and cleans up easily.  I can let them play while I do whatever I need to do.   (I always use a tablecloth).

2). Play-Doh.
I LOVE to use play-doh with our kids and they love it, too.  I pull it out probably one to four times a day (no exaggeration there) and I always use it when we have friends over to play.
It is quick, easy to use, creative, and a quick clean-up with our play-doh box/center.

[RELATED:  Try these recipes–>> Pumpkin Pie scented playdough & Peppermint scented play do
ugh.]A close up of a fruit playdough

3).  Books
I will just tell them to “Go sit on your bed and look at your books”  Our older sons will read a few chapters of one of his books for about twenty minutes.   Our younger kids will usually just look at books or do a look-and-find book.

4).  Arts & Crafts
Normally, their creativity box will keep them entertained for close to an hour because I just randomly put new things in there and they think of some sort of machine, etc… that they can make with it.   Here are a few more arts & crafts ideas. 

5).  Make a race track out of a shower curtain for $1
This is a fun activity!  Our kids LOVE it!  It takes about 10 minutes, but everyone joins in to help.

make a racetrack out of a shower curtain for ONE DOLLAR

6).  Print out a picture of your child and let them color themselves (see the picture idea here):  (laminate it to use again & again) 
7 ideas to keep kids busy today

7. DRAW on a GIANT roll of paper!
This next art/craft activity is one of my favorites.  I pull this GIANT roll of paper out when our kids have friends over, every time.

fun activity

  • I bought several rolls of drawing easel paper (the paper that goes with the easels) at Ikea.  It is really cheap.  I just take one roll and lay it out over the table, securing it with tape underneath the table.
  • I then do the same thing on the other side of the table- overlapping them just a bit.
  • I just grab their pencil box filled with crayons, markers, and stickers and let them go crazy

Here are a few pictures.   fun 2The blue box is filled with crayons, pencils & markers.

The larger box is filled with stickers.

I was a teacher, so stickers were always on hand…

fun 1
This is our end result- very “used” after an hour of play time.   This i just a portion of the table…

fun 3

8. Let them play with water (supervised).
I fill up this DIY sand or water table & let the kids play & play for at least an hour.  Grab some measuring cups, spoons, and toys.  I just stay close by and let them have a great time while I get other things done in that room.

This post contains affiliate links.  If you have a quicker ‘filler’ activity, I’d love to hear about it!  Leave it in the comments. 🙂

Ps- if you’d like to download this calendar of one-on-one time ideas, I’ll e-mail it to you.  Just click here. A text on white paper.

More Ideas Your Kids Will Like

Hi there!

I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.

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  1. I run a daycare and one super easy and quick activity that my kids love is a container or water and some toys like old medicine droppers or measuring cups. Sometimes I put in other toys or things that can get wet. I have seen them play with this for hours!! Plus we have tile floor so water is an easy cleanup.

    1. Oh- that’s such a great one. I do that on our back porch with our kids, too & they love it! I’ll have to update the post to include this one. 🙂 Thanks!

  2. My daughter would get a kick out of coloring her own photo. Thanks for the idea. My kids have a little set of bongos. It keeps them entertained, and they actually sound pretty good.

  3. We have a 3/4 bath connected to the kitchen/family room – I give my kids (2 & 4) bath crayons to create murals on the shower walls. It washes right off and keeps them busy for as long as I let them!

  4. Quick filler for my son and from work in day care….I have a tub in the kitcken ready for him to pull out its filled with tongs, a bowl, plastic cookie cutters and silicone son spends ages pulling and stacking the patty cakes and uaing the tongs with cookie cutters. (Younger kids).

    On a not so busy day we go on a natures walk, we collect sticks/roxks/leqves/bottle brushes etc etc. I put them in a basket. When I need quiet time I pull out the paper and some glue an give them thw basket. My brother (11) and even my son (2) spends ages getting creative. The youngest likes to pull the botrle brush off and sprinkle it on the page as well as ripping lewves. The older one makes a picture collage using only natural materials (house, with trees etc). Can be a little messy with the young ones but I put a towel done and when thwyre finished I take it outside and shake it off. You could do it with the ikea paper covering the table as above.

    Another one we love….pipe cleaners..bright colours too…for older kids I encourage them to make people and the younger ones I give them strainers to poke the pipe cleaners in or make pipe cleaner hats with the strainers (we own 5 lol). Takes 2 seconds to set up, hours of fun and easy to clean!!

    I have too many ideas lol but these are our favs!

  5. Hi–One fun activity is to take a bin (as large as an underbed box, or one of the plastic shoebox type–your choice), and sprinkle a couple boxes of baking soda in it.
    Let kids use eye droppers to drop colored vinegar (just a couple of drops of food coloring–doesn’t have to be really dark) in the bin. It fizzes, of course–really fun!
    I love sensory bins, too–lentils are nicely silky, larger beans pour well, birdseed is expensive but can be recycled, etc. Add funnels (make your own from cut off 2L bottles–tape packing tape around the cut edge to protect little fingers), measuring spoon, slotted spoons, plastic cups in 2 sizes, plastic pitcher, etc. You can hide the letters of their names or all the letters in the bin–Dollar Store letters are perfect–and have them put the letters (magnetic) on a tray or the fridge as they find them. Or hide pennies, or plastic animals, or fake pirate gold, or pebbles or…whatever!

  6. My siblings & I have 8 girls and 5 boys between us and at school breaks they are usually together. The younger ones 3-9yrs love dancing and performing and so we encourage them to go and make a ‘show’ and come back to perform it. It keeps them busy for awhile and we get a performance which is a bonus 🙂
    They also love board games and card games.
    My two are a 3yr girl and 1yr boy. Big sister loves puzzles and building blocks and little brother loves demolishing them. Fortunately when big sister is in a good mood she enjoys building/putting things together just so little brother can knock them down. This often gives me time to cook.

  7. Great ideas. Definitely intrigued by the shower curtain one – how easy would that be for lots of projects! Pinned to my “Frugal Fun” board.

  8. My kids (ages 5 and 2) love to play with ice. Just ice cubes and cups, spoons and/or whatever they find around. I put a blanket or big towel on the floor, fill a big bowl with ice, and let them play for as long as the ice sticks around. At the beginning a few stray ice cubes would escape the borders of the towel, but they are pretty good about keeping the ice in the bowl or on the towel.