For those of you who follow me on facebook you might have seen a post I shared with a top parenting tip form Candice Pearce.
The reaction was immense and as such I decided to ask you all to comment with suggestions of how to cheaply and lazily entertain your kids this summer; because while day trips are all well and good, sometimes you just want to knock about at home wearing yesterday’s bean juice encrusted pyjama bottoms, saving your hard earned pennies on something (gin) someone (you) will actually appreciate.
DRUM-ROLL here we go with some of the top suggestions…
Painting with water
Kirstie Baxter’s was one of the very first comments, she could hardly wait to share her tip – ‘Bucket of water and a paint brush! My son painted all of the garden fence for us the other day!’ Minimal effort and no mess, it ticks all the boxes for me! Sarah Evans agreed adding ‘You must occasionally tell them how fabulous it looks (whilst sat in a chair with something chilled).’ Quite right Sarah!
Still not convinced? Check out Sian Leanne Smith’s little girl contentedly ‘painting’ her car whilst mummy snoozes behind her shades. ‘If only I had someone to bring me wine and food…’ she says. All in good time Sian! Maybe when she’s 5.
It seems we are all a fan of painstakingly pointless and time consuming activities for kids! Amanda Frankin’s idea is ‘Getting the little man to fill up the padding pool using his toy watering can… hours of fun!’ This is especially good if like Rachel Jane Wood you ‘cut a small hole in the paddling pool so it never fills.’ Sabotage. I like it!
There’s more! Sian Drinkwater suggests ‘Collecting gravel stones in 3 buckets – sorted by size and colour. Mummy then dumps them back in the same place after bedtime.’ and Amy McGann chimes in with ‘Trimming the grass with child proof scissors.’
Utter genius Lorna Beth Jarvis admits she ‘Sent the kids out to our unkempt garden to search for 4 leaf clovers… told them I was so certain they wouldn’t find one that I would buy the first to find one a DS! They searched for an hour! Ha!’
Evil parenting at it’s best!
Put em to work
Kids are expensive so whilst they are below the legal minimum age to work why not get them to help around the house!
Clever blogger Domestic Goddesque says ‘Scored this summer: needed some furniture I sold on ebay cleaning, so I set it out on the lawn, gave them each a sponge and bucket of hot soapy water. They were occupied for two hours and I sat and drank Gin. All. The Win. (OK – I didn’t drink Gin, I got busy throwing out the rubbish toys from their rooms whilst they weren’t looking.)’
Yvonne Price suggests ‘Matching socks from the clean washing competition. Teaches pattern recognition, practises fine motor skills and housework gets done.’ Nice logic Yvonne!
Ness Tarling gets her kids to weed her front garden and pays 5p per weed but ONLY if they get the whole root and blogger Breed and Write encourages you to ‘Fill your sink with water, bubbles and dirty dishes and let them play away. This may sound like a sneaky way of getting them to do your washing up, I’m not that cruel (It is, I am).’ You’ll find no judgement here lady!
Finally Jess Kippen says ‘Annie soundtrack, mop and duster. Keeps the 7 yr old busy pretending she’s an orphan whilst cleaning up her younger sisters mess,’ Amazing work Jess!
The bored jar
I adore this tip from Holly Billinghurst who says ‘They are not allowed to tell me they are bored. Instead they take the risk on one of my suggestions. These range from baking & painting to tidy your room or put the laundry away. I’m slightly bemused that it’s working…’
ROUND OF APPLAUSE THAT WOMAN!
Jude E Collins says ‘Collect crap that you would normally throw, give them felt tip pens and masking tape – tell them best make gets a prize!!!’ Three exclamations marks no less, you can tell Jude is well behind this one!
Diane Naested has two words for us ‘Argos Catalogue’ + some scissors, glue stick and paper… this will give you at least an hour of Gin time.’ It’s like a retro version of YouTube – lovely stuff!
Debbie E Smith likes a big one! ‘Large cardboard box. That’s it. Mine (3 & 5) spend hours faffing around with it. I should sell their real toys and buy gin.’ Yes, yes you should Debbie!
Louise Bray likes to use boxes to imprison her own children ‘Cut a hole for a head in a box and insert selected child. Make sure the box is big enough to stop sibling fighting. Also keeps the house tidy too.’ Fabulous!
If you must get out…
Pol Prince says she takes her’s for a fun trip to IKEA – Super-Mum or what?! ‘I tell them they’re explorers and they have to find all the arrows on the floor. So they run around ‘collecting’ them all, jump on all the beds and sofas, then they get a small pick n mix at the end. Knackered kids for the price of £1 each.’ Bargain!
If you don’t have an Ikea near you then my own top tip is to take them to the corner shop, buy kinder eggs and wine – everyone’s happy! If anyone asks, it 100% definitely counts as a day-trip because you went out, in the day!
One of my personal favourites!
‘Do you want to go and see Nana? I bet she has biscuits…’ Nice work Katie Lewin!
I must admit not all of the suggestions were errrr, exactly what I had in mind but if you are feeling game then why not crack on with some of these beauties.
‘Pile of flour on the kitchen table and a bucket of plastic penguins. Antarctica!’ Okaaaaaaaaayyy Rebecca Richards! (she’s clearly been on the gin).
Louise Hull is also a few sandwiches short of a picnic ‘Yesterday I tried to recreate the Crystal Maze final challenge with fans and Early Learning Centre paper money. Didn’t work. Even had the music ready to go on YouTube.’ It’s only week 3 and she’s already gone stark raving bonkers! Here’s an idea Louise, maybe next week you could turn your house into the set of Finders Keepers?!
And to this Sheryl, we just say NO.
For the day’s when you really, really just can’t be f*cking arsed.
Bronwyn Ward is a lady after my own heart… ‘Handbag surprise: what’s in mummy’s bag today?! Here, empty the contents onto the rug so I can drink a hot cup of tea for once.’ Inspired.
Kay Olbsion says ‘This morning we ‘played banks’ – basically dumped a huuuuuge pile of change on the kitchen table and got the kids to sort it out. They loved it! ?!?!?!’ Can we swap kids Kay? Yours sound ace!
Katie Humphrey get’s her son to ‘run up and down the garden 10 times to see if he can beat his previous time… sometimes I tell him he has, sometimes I tell him he was out by 3 seconds so he wants to have another go. He asks to do it all the time!’ Clearly a genius in the making Katie!
Sarah Lewis likes to keep it simple – ‘sheet of bubble wrap. Jump up and down. That’s it.’ and Sam Wills, clearly an expert in this field, goes on to suggest the best types of material for the job… ‘Small bubble wrap = a relatively crap yield. Big bubbles = better. Stamping on those massive lengths of plastic armband type yokes = shit hot time killer.’ Cheers girls!
If you are at the point where you no longer want to move then Emma Rundle recommends playing doctors. ‘NB: it is essential you are the patient, therefore assuming a laying-down position. If you’re lucky, foot massages and back rubs can enhance the experience. At the end of the day who doesn’t wish they could just bloody well lay down for a few minutes/hours every day during the summer hols!?!’ Exactly Emma.
And finally Dan Coates needs his own special section as I just can’t quite seem to categorise this one….
‘I ask the kids to find the monkey bears when they go to the Wood. These creatures are half bear half monkey, they hate children who argue, swear or fight. If the unfortunate child does any of these things the monkey bear lowers an arm from the tree and lifts up said kid with a really long claw, bites their nose and chucks them back down. I tell you, the kids will be quiet as mice, looking up every tree looking for the camouflaged imaginary ninjas and they’ll happily pick blackberries till the cows come home. Boosh!’
Cheers for that one Dan, I think we’ll leave it there for today. I am off to ponder as to whether Dan is a parenting legend or just… scary.
Thanks for all of your tips people :)
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Fan-bloody-tastic – should see us through the next three weeks! We did banks yesterday and spent hours categorising 1 & 2p’s. Kids loved it!!!
I love the Bored Jar – we have a ‘Bored Scratched Tupperware’ and I got the kids to write all the ‘tasks’ themselves! So far so good. Today they decided they weren’t bored enough to risk it and went upstairs BY THEMSELVES for 2 hours!!!
hahahaha Sheryl I say no too and too right Katie – ARE YOU MENTAL!! hahahaha. Painting with water is our favourite thing. We have so many day trips planned but lazy parenting is awesome on those lovely days at home x
If you’ve got bad or cold weather. Allow the kids to draw on your legs or back. A leg each with a prize for the best drawing. Just remember that if the weather warms up your legs might be on show!
And of course once they’re older you can just tell them to bugger off out on their bikes and leave you alone. ;)
Randomly found you on FB. I think you’re my new favourite person.
Too funny!!! Laughed my head off. Have pity on me I am in US and the kids have 3 months off. YES YOU HEARD ME RIGHT. They are also 12 and 14 so cannot be tricked into ‘Collecting gravel stones in 3 buckets – sorted by size and colour.’ How I miss those days of yore! Have featured you on my blog so come over and say hi.
Sock sliding on lino buffed with pledge. Hours of fun. But do be careful afterwards cos it is really very slippy…
I’m blown away by the overwhelming levels of genius that exist out there!
Bravo everyone. BRAVO!!! I’m going to print this post out and stick it on my fridge for daily inspiration. X
OK, so my eldest is still at preschool, so I don’t have the horrors of school holidays yet, but I’m printing this off, laminating it and keeping it somewhere very very safe for future reference. Genius.
Ha this is amazing! I haven’t had a look at your FB page in a while, off to have a nosey but that putting the toys in ice idea has to be just about the best idea I have ever heard! x
As my kids are a tad too old for most of these, I was delighted to discover, just the other week that the ‘run up and down the drive 10 times there and back and see how fast you are’ worked a treat on an 8 year old.
I had to comment on his times of course, but dear reader, I wasn’t even counting!
I’ve had them painting the fence with water a few times… And other little tricks, but WHY haven’t we started doing this with Mr 2 yet!! He’s 2 1/2 he would be beautifully occupied with loads of the suggestions above!
Tomorrow, the girls can take a giant paper and draw a road map and town… Why have we limited this kind of creation to Sim City
Arlo is a huge supporter of ‘run up and down the garden and see if you can beat your score’. I also find that having everyone ever important in the world (Father Christmas, Tooth Fairy)’s phone number in my contacts proves rather useful at key times.
Feeling sad for Louise Hull. I was rooting for your Crustal Maze idea.
These are amazing! My child is only 14 months old and has an attention span of an ant but I’m sure these suggestions will be used on daily basis soon!
Right, I am going right now to find some toys and freeze them in a block of ice, my son would love that one! We are huge fans of water painting too xx
PS only a few weeks to go till back to school!!!!
Oh Katie this is brilliant round up ideas for the kids and free up time. I could use a few of these hahahah Love it.
Love all these, as a frazzled mum to 4 and 34 weeks effing pregnant with number 5.
One tip reminded me of my genius second born:
A couple of years ago I hadn’t sharpened my lazy parenting skills and just handed toddler a paintbrush, but no water. Stupid me. Came back outside to find the little genius had simply wee’d on the decking and was using his puddle as his paint for all the fences. Nice.
Other tips I can add to the list: allow children to pull sofa out and take cushions off. They can play with/keep anything they find. Always handfuls of coins, marbles, pens and kinder egg toys are found during this one. Sofa gets a clean out, win. Then use cushions to make dens/do gymnastics on. Mum to sit at kitchen table the whole time and nose on Facebook.
Don’t just limit water painting to the fence. Nicely warm patio slabs are fabulous as you can challenge them to paint a set area within a set time (use fence size brush) Or use small brushes for nice pics that don’t spoil clothes with crappy felt pens. Lastly try the hose on them with the variable sprayer. More enjoyment than the paddling pool without the agro
A relaxing variation on the doctor game is the ‘putting Mummy to bed on the sofa’ game. They love reading me a bedtime story then tucking me up with some teddies. I let them watch tv quietly while I snooze for an hour
Some great ideas. Our son Adam, never ever said he was bored. One might have thought him a dullard, except for his high test scores and the fact that, as a young adult, whenever he takes a new job (software developer), he quickly becomes a valuable member of his team. I can’t remember what we did to keep him busy as a young child, but he did go to a great preschool, taught himself to ride a bike at age 4, and loved to ride and go to the playground for years. We worried when he lost interest in school as a teenager, but when he Finally found a type of programming that engaged him, as a senior in college, he dropped back into the world of learning and has been on track ever since. (now 37)