Crafts,  Motherhood,  Parenting

31 Clever Ways to Keep Your Kids Busy While Mom Works

1. Movie and Popcorn

You can never go wrong turning on a Disney movie and making popcorn while Mom works. Depending on the child you make get a good hour to work while they watch their favorite movie. I try to make it a big deal and have movie day once a week. All other days we are pretty busy and active.

2. Play Dough Activities

Play dough is a great sensory activity. You can practice making letters, using cookie cutters, and let your kids imaginations run wild here. I let mine play with it on the table or outside. The can make insects, caterpillars, butterflies, faces, use scissors to practice cutting, make numbers, playdough prints out of household items or things in nature, cut it with plastic knife, or practice writing their name, or you can use spaghetti noodles and strong cheerios on to the noodle while the play dough holds the noodle.  Having a playdough station for your kids is a great way to keep them busy while at the same time improving their fine motor skills. I usually let my kids led and create whatever they want. Get your playdough here!

3. Hole Punching Activities

I will sometimes give my kids a whole puncher and paper and they go to town. I have also given them a paper plate to hole punch. You can draw circles around a colored piece of construction paper and have them whole punch the different circles out. My little boy loves doing this and then they glue the little circles to paper making their name or letters.  For a Math Activity, you can also write the numbers 1-20 or however many and have them punch the amount of wholes to match the number on your paper. See below. You can grab and download my 1-20 whole punch cards in my library. Dont forget to subscribe and you will be able to access this for free.

4. Scissors and Cutting Bin

This is another fun activity for preschool age kids. I will give mine scissors and recycled paper and a big bucket and them go to town cutting paper. I also created some worksheets where they can cut on the lines for practice and use that as well. You can use construction paper or regular paper draw lines for them to cut. Easy peezy.  Of course I make sure they are safe and child friendly scissors. Again another activity to help fine motor skills.

5. Pipe Cleaners

Oh these give my kids entertainment for hours. They love making flowers, bracelets, bubble wands, dragonflies, letters, balloons, glasses, and more. They go to town with their imaginations when I pull these out.  You can make snakes with these and add little beads to them. You can make a heart craft, rainbow crafts, and firework craft with red white and blue paint. Grab them here and let your kiddos creativity run wild while you get some work done.

6. Construction Paper Station

This one is a lot of fun. I usually have them or myself cut a bunch of circles and different shapes out of construction paper and set them up with glue, markers, and they create something out of nothing basically. My little girl loves gluing different things to a paper plate; you can make different animals, and let them create whatever they want. I may show them a picture of something like B for bumble bee and let them try to make it. Again all while I get some work done.

7. Water Play

During the summer months, I send my kids in the backyard for water play. You can fill up buckets your water table and make a pouring station with food coloring to turn the water different color, turn on the sprinkler, fill up swimming pool, buy a slip and slide, and water balloons are a must. You can have water gun fights,do a sink and float activity and painting letters on concrete, soap and water washing station to clean toys.  It gets really hot here in Texas and mine will play for hours in the backyard while I work doing all of the above.

8. Sensory Bins

These are so much fun. We use rice, or water beads, kinetic sand, flour, brown sugar, salt, are all amazing activities for sensory play. My little boy is obsessed with kinetic sand right now. Grab it below. It is so fun and amazing. Check out my slime recipe here and cloud and salt dough for more sensory play. We have also mixed oil, water, food coloring in a Ziplock bag. My kids thought that was fascinating or you can have them roll out cheerios, crackers, and pasta in zip lock bag while you work. I also suggest maybe having them do these activities in the backyard.

11. Dot Markers

Oh what fun? We love dot markers over here. You can use paper plates and dot or download you’re A-Z dot marker freebie by subscribing to my resources library. Type in your email below and will get free access to so many fun educational freebies.  You can also grab your dot markers off amazon. They are so much fun. Kids absolutely love these!!

12. Tracing

You can grab your free tracing booklet in my library as well. This will keep them busy. Mine love to trace with markers, paint and tracing with q-tips, or simply using colors.

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14. Balloon Tennis

Blow up two balloons and the tap a paper plate to paper towel roll and have your kids play balloon tennis and basically try to keep the balloon in the air. So fun and simple.  Again something they can do while you work, cook, take a call, or clean.

15. Chalk

I love sending mine outside for some chalking. They can practice writing their name and numbers. Mine usually draw the sunshine and lines and whatever their hearts desire at the time. You can also chalk an obstacle course for them to do or good ole hopscotch.

16. Freeze Water Paint

This activity takes 24 hrs. You will need popsicle sticks, ice tray, and food coloring. Freeze it overnight and then let them paint with it on white paper the next day outside. It is a lot of fun.

17. Coloring

Luckily my kids love coloring. You can get your free A-Z coloring booklet in my resources page staple it and let them sit at the table while you work and color beautiful pictures. Coloring is such a great activity to improve those fine motor skills too.

18. Indoor and Backyard Scavenger Hunts

Again, I print this off and they go in the backyard or around the house and look for items. I also have made ABC phonic baskets and they go around the house looking for things that start with that particular letter and fill up the basket. I love seeing my kids work together to find items.

19. Cardboard Box

Home Depot has big moving boxes or use one you already have. Depending on the age of your children you may need to assist in this but you can let them decorate it while you get work done. Basically you cut it out the shape of a little house and use duct tape to build it. You can make a cute little door for them to go in and out. They enjoyed this for a few days without Mom.

20. Build Forts

Kids love love love building forts. All you need are blankets and say here go. They will usually make some cool forts. Then they will have reading time and quiet time while I work where they bring books inside and read to each other and they also have pretend picnics.

21. Costumes

Don’t forget the fun costumes. Depending on the age of your kids you can ask them to work on a play with their costumes and hour later present it to you. Again, while they work on that you can get some things done. If your kids are old enough for that just dressing in costumes on their own and playing upstairs is good enough for me sometimes. I will sometimes set the timer and let them know when they can come back downstairs. This allows them to play, get creative, and independently work on something. My kids love wearing costumes year around.

22. Creation Station

This is a great activity for your hands on learners. I provide my little boy with some tape, paper towel rolls, painter sticks, painters tape, glue, and whatever else I can think of and let him create whatever comes to mind. This usually keeps him busy for a while. Depending on the age of your child you can add some fun things to the mix.

23. Ipad Time

Let’s not forget some screen time. If I really need to get something done I set the timer and let my kiddos have the iPad for a certain amount of time. There are some fun educational apps out there. My little girl loves YouTube Kids and my little boy likes ABC Mouse. Star fall is another great one and PBS Kids. Maybe you need to make a conference call, or nurse your baby, or whatever else it is then try the face-time and zoom trick with grandparents. My little boy loves chatting with his grandmother on face time. I know some other friends who grandparents read to their kids stories while she gets things done. I love this idea.

I love Cherry’s list on her top 5 Educational Apps. Check them out at It’s All Cherry.

Check out Malisa’s blog on her top 5 favorite and free educational apps for kids.

Elizabeth also has a great resource with 20 different apps for kids that does not require wifi. Check out her blog at Tired Mom SuperMom.

24. Use White Boards

All kids love white boards. We have practiced our sight words and writing our names with white boards. I usually will give dry erase mine markers and white boards with the eraser and they go to town. Easy Peezy activity they will love.

25. Make Lemonade

My little boy loves love loves making lemonade. He even can cut the lemons himself. Of course before sit down to get anything done I cut them for him and give him bowl and equipment he needs and he goes to town making his own lemonade. He doesn’t need me for a while at this point. We add a little sugar to his salt to mine and cheers to homemade lemonade. Simple and easy. I make sure to always buy lemons at grocery store now.

26. Blow Bubbles

Send them outside to blow bubbles. However, watch out mine poured theirs into the water table and made a foam party with theirs. I was inside working and they were having fun with simply blowing bubbles around the backyard. Grab your bubbles wands here.

27. Book Club, Moms Club, Tea Party

Imaginations are the best at this age. You can have your kids gather all their stuff animals and let them have some sort of pretend party. Tea parties are always so much fun to do. Again, let them use their imaginations here without interruptions.

28. Drawing – Draw with Rob YouTube

If you have a little artist on your hands check out Draw with Rob on YouTube.  Another friend told me about him and my little boy is enjoying drawing with him. He does monsters, dinosaurs, and so many fun things. Again, turn that on and get to work.

29. Painting

We usually paint every day. My little girl loves painting rocks or paper plates most every day.  I can now set it up for them and they will paint for a while so that I can get something done. Sometimes I join them. Setting up a little paint station is always fun for kids. Most of the time we take it outside and let them paint on their picnic table.

30. Popsicles and Glue

Mine will eat popsicles and then I will have them save their popsicle sticks and let them make a fun craft. All you need is glue and markers. They can make shapes, letters, monsters, so many different things with popsicles sticks and Elmer’s glue.

31. Lego Building and Magnatiles

These are both great to pull out when you want to get something done. Mine will usually build their little hearts out. I still have the bigger blocks for my little girl but my almost 5 year old loves to build with the smaller legos. His favorite so far has been the one where you make a boat . Again, you can get so many different ones off Amazon for them to build with and create towers and so many different things.

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I hope this list inspires you and helps you to get more things done while at the same time allowing your kids to have fun too. I love giving my kids the supplies they need and then letting them create.  For all my fun freebies don’t forget to subscribe below and share below to your FB page. Sharing is caring. Send this list to your other Moms friends. Let’s stay connected and subscribe to Mamma-Tribe. What are some other activities your kid loves to do independently while you work? Share below!


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