Have you ever had that moment of realization, ‘Oops, I just said no TV, but what do they do now?’ Yip, me too! Luckily there are a multitude of ideas out there… and to make it even easier, I decided to compile a great list of ideas for activities that will keep your older kids happily busy and hopefully out of trouble! Enjoy!
1. Take apart a small old appliance.
This used to be one of my husband’s favorite things to do as a child, and now he is an engineer… just saying, an activity like this is a whole bunch of fun for anyone with a curious mind, and can be a great way to pass a couple of hours. If your child wants to, they could even try put it back together, just keep in mind that this may be trickier than it seems, so don”t let them work on the toaster if you’re planning on using it for breakfast!
2. Get your scientist on! There are a million and one fun experiments that you can do with everyday things you can find in your home. Some brilliant ideas are
- Home made plastic (from vinegar and milk!)
To make plastic, you will need:
- 1 cup of milk
- 1 Tablespoon of vinegar
- A small pan
- A spoon
- A strainer
- Paper towels
- Food coloring (optional)
First, put one cup of milk in a pan and heat it until warm. It doesn’t need to boil – it just needs to be warm.When the milk is warm, stir in 1 T of vinegar. The vinegar will cause the milk to quickly separate into ‘curds’ and ‘whey’ (the acid in the vinegar causes the protein strands in the milk to coagulate). The curds are casein, which is used in the production of glue and some plastics. Interesting, right!?! Pour the contents of the pan into a strainer, then use a spoon to squish out the extra liquid. Knead your plastic with your hands and use a paper towel to dry off any excess moisture, then mold your plastic into whatever shape you want! (It’s a little tricky to mold because it has a texture sort of like ricotta cheese, which is probably what it is?). One idea would be to flatten it out and use a measuring spoon or something similar to cut out circle shapes for key chains.
- Dino Bath Bombs
(This is a great idea I found online at funathomewithkids.com)
3. Build a matchstick house –
Here is a great instructional I found on Youtube… it is simple enough for your younger kids to try too, and once the project is complete, you can use the little house as part of everyday play. It ends up being the perfect size to use with little plastic soldiers or even with Polly in my Pocket if you have a little lady architect in the house!
If you have a little extra time and a peg board lying around at home, this is a great on!. There are hours of fun to be had screwing together the nuts and bolts, never-mind creating all the different shapes! Find the instructions over at https://crayonboxchronicles.com/2013/10/30/diy-geoboard-with-fabric-loops/
5. Build a robot.
This is a really fun activity for curious minds, and the whole family enjoy watching this little guy zoom around. You DO need a few curious bits and bobs (a toothbrush, a small battery and a pager motor), but the end result is well worth the effort. You can find the instruction video http://www.evilmadscientist.com/2007/bristlebot-a-tiny-directional-vibrobot/ (evilmadscientist.com)
6. Propeller car.
Do your kids love seeing things in action?Then a propeller car is a great activity to start with.Here is a great one I found on Instructables, another great sight for manual activities for kids. Find it at http://www.instructables.com/id/Propeller-Powered-Car/
7. Ice architecture.
Got a budding designer or architect in the family?I’m sure they’ll love this one! Find the instructions over at http://almostunschoolers.blogspot.com.es/2014/05/ice-cube-roman-arch.html
8. Marble run.
Got a child that loves marbles? Then this is a great idea. You can get as complicated as you want! All you need is a selection of empty cardboard tubes, toilets rolls, kitchen towels tubes etc and tape (There are variants using pool noodles sliced down the middle too, if you’d like to super-size the whole deal, but that’s up to you!).
Just get the kids to tape the tubes to a wall in a ‘zig-zaggy’ pattern that allows gravity to do it’s magic, and watch them entertain themselves for hours! You really will be amazed at how creative they can get with this one!
Well there you have it… a few quick ideas for some industrious fun! I hope you have found something that will suit your bunch. Let us know how it goes, and have fun!