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37 Ways to Entertain Your Kid That Won’t Bore You Out of Your Skull

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It is not even noon, and you’ve watched a movie, done a puzzle, read books, and everything else you can imagine. When your day with little ones stretches endlessly before you and you’re out of ideas, try some of these:

  1. Write a letter or draw a picture for a faraway relative. Address and stamp today so you make sure to send it.
  2. Visit your local hospital cafeteria for lunch.
  3. Make a collage of things you like from old magazines.
  4. Go to the shelter, and give the animals a little one-on-one attention.
  5. Armed with $1 each, go to a store and have each person pick out a snack to share.
  6. Make paper bag puppets or costumes.
  7. Call the fire station and arrange for a tour.
  8. Look at baby pictures or home movies.
  9. Act out a favorite picture book.
  10. Make a word search with the names of friends and family.
  11. Get out the flashlights, turn out the lights, and explore the house.
  12. Have each family member take a picture of the five things he or she would rescue in a fire. Write a sentence or two about why each item is so special.
  13. Make a map of your block. Include as much detail as possible.
  14. Make a big pan of Jello Jigglers (see the box for a recipe). Cut puzzle pieces and try to put it back together.
  15. Visit the library with a list of things everyone must find: something blue, a book with turtles, a newspaper, etc.
  16. Use a few basic food supplies to build towers or houses. Graham crackers and marshmallows are a great place to start, with frosting as an adhesive.
  17. Tell a few sentences of a story. Say “and then…” so the next person can continue the story. Go around in a circle a few times till you come to a natural ending.
  18. Break out the microphones! Hairbrushes or vacuum attachments work well. Turn on some great dance music and sing your hearts out – extra points for stage presence.
  19. Use tissue paper and Mod Podge (or thinned out white glue) to decorate anything wood. Picture frames work well. Rip off pieces of different colored tissue paper, wet it thoroughly to stick, and add layers. Dries overnight.
  20. Search the internet or cookbooks for a fun new recipe and give it a shot.
  21. Put on swimsuits, add extra bubbles to the tub, and have a family bubble bath. See who can cover themselves the most in suds.
  22. Play a memory game. Put 10 objects on a tray, cover it after 60 seconds, and then see who can remember everything. If that is too easy, go for less time or more stuff.
  23. Go bowling. It never fails.
  24. Make a piñata: Blow up a balloon. Cut newspaper into one-inch thick strips. Coat with glue or ahesive mixture and cover with wet strips. Leave a small (2” x 2”) section blank. Dry overnight and pop balloon. Paint or decorate the exterior. Fill with small goodies through the hole and seal with duct tape or a sturdy piece of cardboard wedged in. Then go to town.
  25. Take a sightseeing trip to find heavy equipment. See how many machines you can identify (and bring along reference material if possible).
  26. Let the kids ask you 20 questions about your childhood.
  27. Clear off the dining room table, cover with a sheet or two, and all climb into the fort.
  28. Give each child a list of words or a set of pictures to use in a story or poem.
  29. Visit pbs.org or another television website for interactive games and activities relating to favorite shows and characters.
  30. Plant some seeds in a window box and make labels for what each thing will become.
  31. Using towels, sheets, dishrags, or anything else you can think of, become a family of super heroes. Invent your own superpowers and work to rescue things around the house.
  32. Take turns doing portraits of each other. Have one person sit for 10 minutes while everyone else draws, then switch. Make a gallery of your work.
  33. Have a silly string or whipped cream fight in the kitchen (or maybe the bathtub).
  34. Learn about tools. Find some things around the house that can be safely taken apart with screwdrivers or wrenches.
  35. Practice gargling together. See who can do it the longest, who can talk while gargling, or even sing a song.
  36. Bring out your animal side. Say “hocus pocus…rabbit,” and everyone has to act like a rabbit. With another “hocus pocus,” you switch. Take turns being in charge of choosing the next animal.
  37. Look at a globe or map and figure out a location opposite from you: opposite side of the world, opposite side of the country, anything. Research that place and put together pictures and words to tell about it.
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