Do you ever want 20-minutes of uninterrupted, child-free time? Let me re-phrase that – do you ever need 20-minutes of uninterrupted, child-free time?
Unless you are a superhero parent with multiple arms and a renewable amount of energy, I’m sure that the answer to both of these questions is a resounding “Yes.”
Whether you want some peace and quiet to unload the dishwasher, clean up the kitchen after dinner or just to sit down with a cup of tea by yourself, here are numerous go-to activities that you can have on hand to keep your little ones entertained.
12 go-to activities for children
Let your children’s imaginations run wild and allow them to explore the feeling of playdough as they manipulate it to make special shapes. Throw in some cookie cutters, a rolling pin and other household objects and you have a fun-filled activity that will last more than 20 minutes!
There are not many things more fun than playing with containers full of slime. Younger children love to explore the feel of it while older children like to create slime-filled scenes with other toys. (not suitable for under 3’s)
3. Sticker books
Young children love sticker books especially when they can create pictures themselves such as funny faces. Sticker books are perfect distractions for short periods.
4. Hidden picture books
A perfect 20-minute activity for the 5+ age group as hidden picture books take focus. You can stow away a few different picture books for a rainy day such as the good old “Where’s Wally?” and your children will love the distraction.
5. Water wow books
If you want to entertain your little ones for a short period, simply fill up a painting pen with water and let them colour the pages of their water wow books. When they do so, vibrant pictures will be revealed until they dry again just 5-minutes later.
6. Water beads
Not only are they extremely inexpensive, but they are also incredibly fun too! You buy them as tiny little sprinkles and once you let them sit in water, they expand to the size of jelly beans. These are great fun and perfect for tactile learning. (supervision required for under 3’s)
7. Water colouring
Watercolours are a great minimal-mess alternative to arts and crafts and painting. Not only that but they are easy to set-up, quick to tidy away, and they will stimulate your children’s creativity for the time being.
8. Building blocks/supplies
Building supplies such as Lego, magnet tiles or wooden blocks can keep your little ones entertained for hours as they are only limited by their imaginations. If you want to, you can also create your own supply kit of junk modelling by collecting items such as toilet paper rolls, coffee filters, adhesive tape, and stickers etc.
9. Art supplies box
Similarly to the building supplies box, create your own art supplies box for your children to experiment with. Items such as cardboard, glitter pens, tape, felt, pipe cleaners, and ribbon are perfect.
10. Sensory bins
Sensory bins are great for stimulating creativity, innovation, and critical thinking. With this activity, you can get creative too! For the Winter, create a snow sensory bin and fill it with snow, small shovels, cups and toys. You can even fill squirt guns with dilute food colouring too so that they can paint the snow.
11. Gel window clings
A perfect 20-minute activity whether in the house or travelling in the car. You can get all kinds of gel window clings and let your child create different scenes.
12. Temporary race track
A super easy activity for your children when you need some time alone is to give them rolls of painter’s tape. They can transform the floor into a race track, taking time to design their city and playing until their hearts are content.
Tips to remember!
To get the most out of your 20-minute activities or to create your own, it’s useful to keep these three things in mind:
1) Keep these activities separate from the ‘everyday toys’ – have a draw in the kitchen or a box in one of the cupboards reserved just for these activities that you need when you need 20-minutes to yourself.
2) Rotate the activities – that way, they won’t lose their appeal and you’ll be met with excitement every time you bring them out.
3) Make sure these activities are quick to set up – this just makes your life so much easier!
You deserve some quiet time
As parents, we always have a lot to do and sometimes we just need our quiet time. By having these 12 20-minute activities to hand, you can always make sure that the children are stimulated and entertained while you enjoy no interruptions.