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Niche Topics (Pregnancy and Kids) is all about practical parenting advice and parenting
skills to help you deal with common parenting challenges from toddlerhood to teen
years. You’ll find tons of healthy food ideas and easy-to-make kids meals, fun activity
ideas and creative crafts projects that kids love to do and play!
I'm a single mother to two beautiful young children aged 3 (boy) and 5 (girl), living
on limited income. Both of my preschoolers are very active and get bored easily playing
with the same old toys while I cook dinner and do other chores around the house.
I can't afford to buy new toys every time they ask for one. I'd love to hear some
really fun ideas to keep children occupied and happy so that I can have some uninterrupted
time to get housework done more quickly. Thank you. – Sara, Texas.
5 Fun Ideas to Keep Preschoolers Busy While You Cook
Keeping children of this age range entertained for hours can be quite a challenge
for many parents. They're full of energy, super adventurous and very ready to explore
new things, so it's not a good idea to put your kids in front of the TV and then
You don't have to fork out hundreds of dollars on pricey children's toys to keep
your little ones busy while you do your household chores. You'll need just a little
nugget of wild creativity to chase away your preschoolers' boredom, and let them
get really imaginative with your homemade toys.
You can start by looking around your house for unwanted items and turn them into
simple, fun kids toys. For example, a toy stove can be constructed from 2 empty cereal
boxes taped together. Things like plastic bottle caps, strips of old magazines and
lids from margarine tubs or coffee cans make great pretend food. Your young children
can "cut", "chop" and "cook" up some fun without making a mess as you prepare dinner
in the kitchen.
Here are a few playful ideas to inspire you when you hear your preschool children
say "Mommy, I'm bored". These activities are great for young children and will keep
them entertained for many hours.
How to Keep Young Children Occupied Without TV While You Cook Dinner?
1. If your kids love smashing, squishing and creating things out of Play-Doh with
their hands, then they're going to love peanut butter play dough. Why? Because they
can eat what they've created!
Place ½ cup each of peanut butter, honey or corn syrup, and powdered milk or flaked
coconut in a large plastic bowl. Mix all ingredients together and let your kids shape
anything they want with hands, a cookie cutter, or a fork. They can also decorate
their creations with raisins, or chocolate chips.
One word of caution, make sure your child doesn't have a peanut or tree nut allergy.
2. When my youngest daughter was 4 years old, I'd give her a few plastic cups, a
scoop, and a big container of uncooked pasta (elbow, penne, shells, orecchiette)
and dried beans (red kidney beans, black beans, garbanzo beans) to play with. That
"kitchen sandbox" kept her really busy – digging and scooping, sorting the colors
and shapes – for a long time.
You can also fill it with small edibles such as cheerios, cornflakes, marshmallows,
popcorn, or jelly beans instead.
3. If your preschoolers are not excited about printed coloring pages, then surprise
them with this really "egg-citing" art idea. This will keep them quiet while you
You'll need a hard boiled egg for each child. Cut it in half, lengthwise. Quarter
a black olive and put a piece on one half of the egg. Then place them on a large
piece of paper and let your little ones draw a funny face around the "eyes" (eggs).
4. I don't know about your kids, but mine just go crazy playing with ice cubes. Try
freezing ice cubes that are colored with food coloring (three or more different colors)
and let your kids play with them in different containers. Demonstrate how to sort
them by color. As they get older, you can add the challenge of chopsticks as it helps
to develop and strengthen their fine motor skills.
If you're worried about the water mess, cover the floor with a cheap vinyl tablecloth.
5. Do you have an old computer keyboard laying somewhere in the house? It's time
to dig it out, dust it off, and let your preschoolers have fun tapping away. Young
kids love imitating adults and playing things they aren't allowed to play with. This
will keep them gainfully occupied so you can have some time to yourself.
Featuring cute homemade soap crayons that are simple enough for kids to make themselves,
or with only a little help from adults. Also, get step-by-step instructions on how
to embed toys into homemade soaps.