Here's a list of over 100 activities to keep your kids busy while you work

100+ Simple Ways to Foster Creativity While You Work

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Did you know that play time is crucial for children? It helps build their creativity and independence.

Play time is a great way for children to occupy themselves while you work on your business. They’ll be having fun, and you can get some tasks knocked off your to-do list!

If you’re wondering what to have them do, here are 100 simple, but engaging activities your children can do while you work. I’ve broken them down into categories, so you can easily find something your children will enjoy.

Does your child have trouble making a decision? Write down some of your favorites on craft sticks and put them in a jar. Each day, have your child pick one stick and do that activity.

Of course, you know your children best, so be aware of their abilities before letting them play freely. Don’t give small pieces to young children or anything like that.

Give Them a Box

If you’re anything like me, you’ve got scores of Amazon Prime delivery boxes around! 😀

Boxes can entertain all ages of kids. Here are some ideas:

  • Turn it on its side and let your baby crawl around and into it
  • Have your toddler or preschooler sit inside the box and color the inside
  • Encourage your children to turn the box into a…
    • Spaceship
    • Boat
    • UPS truck
    • Fire truck
    • Ambulance
    • Car
    • Train
    • Robot
    • New invention
  • Use file folders and tape and create a maze inside the box
  • Cut the flaps off the box and use one to create a crown
  • Practice opening and closing the box
  • Wrap the box with construction paper and tape

Bring Out the Paper

Paper brings out the creativity! Don’t turn to Pinterest, just let your children create all on their own. Encourage them to:

  • Create a set (draw and cut out pieces related to each other)
    • Farm
    • BBQ
    • Explorer
    • Community heroes
    • Your family
    • School
    • A favorite TV show
    • Lunch time
    • A favorite video game
  • Draw a picture of something
    • Using shades of only one color (monochromatic)
    • With their eyes shut
    • Using their non-dominant hand
    • Without lifting the pencil off the paper
    • Using only straight lines
  • Try their hand at origami
  • Make a maze or dot-to-dot
  • Draw a map
  • Illustrate a new ending to a favorite story
  • Make paper dolls and clothes

Working on Writing

Set out some basic writing supplies, and let your child:

  • Make a card for someone
  • Write a letter
  • Draw characters for a new story
  • Create a mind map for a topic of interest
  • Make a list of animals starting with each letter of the alphabet
  • Write directions for making a cheese sandwich
  • Practice their handwriting
  • Create a new font

Play Dough

If your child is old enough to use play dough without eating it or making a huge mess, some simple tools can make it even more fun!

Creativity with play dough can keep kids engaged for a long time!Set out a combination of:

  • Googly eyes
  • Dried spaghetti
  • Butter knives
  • Forks
  • A rolling-pin
  • Cookie cutters
  • A toy with wheels

And let your children create. You can even hand over your smart phone and encourage them to work together to create a stop motion film.

Games

You can play games according to the rules, but we really enjoy turning them into solo activities. Here are five of our favorites (affiliate links) and how we use them creatively for solo play…

A Checker Rug


You could use a normal sized checker board, but the larger pieces on these rug versions make it safer for younger kids to play. Encourage them to:

  • Sort the pieces by color
  • Stack groups of five
  • Play a game against themselves
  • Make a story and use the pieces as props
  • Create a pattern with the pieces

Memory


These colorful cards are so fun! Your kids can:

  • Set up a pretend store, “selling” the picture cards
  • Sort by category
  • Use them as props in a story
  • Give the animals and people names
  • Draw a background to play with the pieces on

Cranium Cadoo


A kid friendly adaptation of Cranium, Cadoo is a hoot! Your kids can:

  • Sort the cards by type
  • Make patterns from the pieces
  • Read the back of the board and the box with the special glasses
  • Practice building with clay
  • Draw the items listed on five random cards

Mexican Train


One of the newer additions to our game collection, this one is lots of fun for solo play! Kids can:

  • Build a gigantic train, connecting all the pieces
  • Make a repeating pattern on the table
  • Sort by color
  • Build houses and barns for toy animals
  • Try to set up all the dominoes on end and  knock them over (Perhaps have them do this activity a bit away from where you’re working, it can be loud!)

Morphology

The pieces in this game inspire creativity! Have your child:

  • Use the pieces to inspire a story
  • Make each letter of the alphabet from pieces of their choice
  • Try to count all the pieces in the game before the timer runs out
  • Make a tall stack using as many pieces as possible
  • Toss the cubes and try to get them to land on the lily pads on the board game from a few feet away

Legos

Since one of my children has Pica, we’ve moved all of our Legos into an outbuilding called The Lego Shack. The other kids love going out there to build.

A simple engaging activity for kids to do while you work is to build a Lego flat picture

Here are some challenges you can give your children:

  • Build a flat picture
  • Make something using only:
    • 30 pieces
    • Red bricks
    • Bricks that are the same size
  • Make a house
  • Build a dresser with a drawer that opens
  • Design a new vehicle
  • Make a shelf out of Legos and put three mini-figures on it
  • Write your name in bricks
  • Make a favorite scene from a book

Coloring Books

Have a collection of coloring books and a box of crayons around. Also keep some scissors and a glue stick available. Your kids can:

  • Read the words at the bottom of each page
  • Circle the letter A as many times as they can find it
  • Color a picture and cut it out
  • Glue a cut out picture onto a paper and draw a background
  • Cut out several pictures and glue them to craft sticks to make puppets and tell a story

A Foam Letter Mat

My absolute favorite toy for inspiring literacy, a foam letter mat is so versatile! Be sure to get one where the letters can pop out of the frames, like this one (aff. link).

Using the mat, your children can:

  • Pop out all the letters and put them back in where they belong
  • Create a trail of letters to jump on
  • Build a house
  • Make a long line of connected letters and roll down it
  • Sort by color
  • Think of a word that starts with each letter
  • Mix up all the popped out letters and pull one out at a time, then name it and put it away

  Household HelpOver 100 activities to build your kids' creativity while you work on your blog. #bloggingmom #worklifebalance

Kids can be a lot of help! It can be fun to clean, so let them:

  • Use a spray bottle of water and a rag to clean
    • The walls
    • Fronts of cupboards
    • Baseboards
    • The floor (Pippi Longstocking style!)
    • Chairs
    • Toys
  • Sort laundry
  • Fold towels
  • Match socks (do you also have a ton of mismatched ones?)
  • Organize a bookshelf or cupboard
  • Dust

Make a Fort

Give the kids a blanket or two and encourage them to build a fort out of the dining room table. In their fort they can:

  • Eat a snack
  • Read some books
  • Color
  • Take a nap (Wistful thinking? :D)
  • Send out explorers to map the territory around their cave

What Do Your Kids Enjoy Doing While You Work?

Independent play fosters creativity! What do your kids enjoy doing while you work? Please share your ideas in the comments.

 

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Mompreneur - Freelance Writer & VA, Blogger at Lisa Tanner Writing

Lisa Tanner loves helping busy moms find time to grow their own business. As a homeschooling mom to nine, she knows a thing or two about balancing diapers and deadlines.