Does anybody else struggle to entertain their kids in those long afternoon post school hours? The kids are tired, and so are you! This is often the time when those monumental meltdowns happen, unless of course kiddo is in front of a screen. In this post we'd like to offer you some screen-free ideas for quiet time activities in the afternoon.
1. Sensory Bin
Many parents fear the words 'sensory play' for two reasons. Firstly, because it normally means lots of mess. Secondly, because they think it involves lots of preparation time. Yes both of these can be true, but they don't have to be. A top tip is to use large under-bed storage boxes or a large table cloth under your sensory play set up as this contains the mess.
Sensory bins really don't have to be fancy. It can be as simple as tipping some lentils and diggers into a bin. Or teaming water up with rocks, food colouring, pots and scoopers. The great thing about sensory bins is that there is no definite way for children to play with them. They encourage open-ended independent play and exploration.
2. Simple Art Projects
Again, no need to wince at the thought of messy painted fingers smearing all over your furniture. It can be as simple as drawing and colouring. Try to make the project fresh and exciting by incorporating themes that you know your kids love. Use different materials to work with to keep things interesting. For example, using stickers as a drawing prompt is quick and easy to set up, and printing with cookie cutters is relatively mess free.
3. Building Challenges
Simply give your child a building prompt. It can be something along the lines of 'build a boat that floats', or 'build some people ready to zipline down some string'. Again, try to work with your child's interests. If they love cars, sit and build LEGO cars together and then race them down a cardboard box ramp, or even try to draw your creations.
4. Invitations to Play
Open-ended invitations to play often provide the most benefits to children. There are no restrictions or specific instructions. Just put together a tray of materials and let your child explore them however they like. Here are a few fun examples:
Road tape and cars are always a hit with vehicle-crazy kids!
Why not create a nature inspired hair salon?!
This inviting number geo board is great for slightly older kids.
5. Fine Motor Skills Matching
Kids love to be hands on. Activities that involve developing fine motor skills are always a popular choice. Using tools such as pipettes or tongs make activities that little bit more enticing. Creating basic color match activities using different tools and materials is simple yet fun.
We hope that these ideas have given you some inspiration to pass those dreaded late-afternoon hours in a fun and productive way. Of course there are days when putting a movie on is the best option for everyone, including Mom or Dad. Providing your children with play based learning opportunities, however, helps to equip them with the much more useful skills of creativity and imagination. It also keeps them entertained and active, which might just pay off with an earlier bed time!
Creative QT designs quality + innovative toys that declutter homes and inspire creative play. Founded by parents of five, Adam and Dana Sue Hinkle, Creative QT’s vision is to empower parents and encourage a culture of families that Make Time Together. All products are designed to enrich families’ lives through active, creative play and play based learning. Creative QT products are laboratory tested for compliance with CPSC requirements and are free of lead, cadmium and phthalates so you can play with confidence. So, go ahead … today is the day: be your kid’s hero.
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