Little Family

Little Family

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

How to Entertain 4 kids for 5 days

From Wednesday to Sunday I cared for my sister's three children (ages 6,4 and 2) as well as my daughter Bailee (8 months). It was too hot to do many of the outside things I'd wanted to like go to the park so I had to be creative with indoor activities that didn't break the bank. Things went very smoothly, I thought and I figured I would share the things that kept us busy or entertained us. So, enjoy them. They are listed in no particular order.

1. Write cards to a missionary
     My brother, the kids' uncle Javi, is serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints just outside of Reno, NV. The upcoming week was his birthday so we thought there was no better time than now to write to him. Draw pictures, trace their hand, make rainbows, really "draw" out the process!
2. Make OOBLEK.
      These kids had never heard of Ooblek! What a travesty! It's made with Cornstarch and water and food coloring (if you don't mind their hands being stained for a few hours.) It's a real lesson in physics. If you smack Ooblek it turns hard for an instant and doesn't ripple or move. If you gently run your fingers through it it's a liquid. It kept them occupied for a good while. Here's a plus- play with it in a container with a lid so you can close it up and use it again in a day or two! Yes, the clean-up is heinous but fun. The cornstarch dries so you can just brush it off of clothes and it's not too bad to clean from the floors and table... and walls and door handles... The second time we used it they sat in the shower so I could rinse it down when they were done.

3. Make milk dance
     There really is no other way to describe it! Take a shallow bowl and pour just enough milk to cover the bottom. 
Option A: Place a couple drops of food coloring in the milk. Dip a toothpick in dishsoap and place it upright in the milk. The food coloring will "scatter".
Option B: Do the same thing but instead use pepper.  

4. Go to the pool!
     Remember to keep a close eye. How reliable are those lifeguards anyway? An extra set of hands to help (grandma) is never a negative thing!

5.  Paint rocks
     This starts with a great exploration in the backyard for just the perfect rock. We decided everyone could choose two. They were to be the size of the childs' hand. It helps them feel more excited about it when they can excavate the exact rock they want to paint. Let them choose the colors they want on their paint plate. This can become a short lesson in color names (for younger children) or determining what two colors make another (for older children). We used washable paint but if you're brave enough to use non-washable you could use these rocks in your garden.

You see the jumper seat and the swing hanging down below? That's how we entertained the eight-month-old most of the time   
6."Clean finger paint"
     If you notice, a lot of these supplies are used in multiple crafts and activities meaning less money spent by you! Whoever thought of "clean finger paint" was a genius- thanks to Pinterest we enjoyed a mess-free paint experience.
Put a piece of card stock paper inside a gallon size ziplock bag. You may have to trim it to size. Pick 3 (more or less is fine too) colors of paint. Holding the bag away from the paper that's inside place 3 quarter sized globs of paint on the paper. Gently seal the bag and let the child smoosh the paint around! They were able to "write" their names in the paint as well as be excited by the new colors that were created by mixing primary colors. You can write the child's name on the back of the paper before you put it in the bag or on the bag itself if you forget until later (like me).

7. Coke and Mento "science experiment"
     Josh thought the reaction that the coke has when the mento is dropped into it was incredible! He had seen his dad do the same experiment on a larger scale (multiple mentos with a 2 liter of coke) but we brought it down to our level using a can of Diet Coke. Since it was something he wanted to do so badly I almost used it as leverage for the kids to help me during the day. I remember I told them we could do it after they did such-and-such. A way to get them to help? Make a deal. We'll do this (ex: mento experiment) if you do this (ex: clean up the toys). Both sides win.

8.Take advantage of free or discounted items on certain days
   On 7/11 we went to 7-11 for free small slurpees. It was something they were looking forward to so they made sure to behave or at the drop of a hat I may have decided taking 4 children under age 8 to 7-11 was a bigger bite than I wanted to chew :)

9.Go to Chuck-E-Cheese
    Crazy? Maybe. But it's where a kid can be a kid!! I strapped on the moby and lugged Bailee back and forth between games and rides. My friend, Alyssa and her 2 year old daughter Kailyn came along. She was a BIG help. Again, extra hands are useful my friends. Before leaving home I did a quick online search for coupons. We got a great deal and spent 2+ hours there. What kid doesn't like pizza? It was actually a lot better than I remember it being... We went early Friday evening so it wasn't too crowded. Does anyone think the prizes are such a joke?! 50 tickets for a paper bookmark?! But, the kids enjoyed it nonetheless.

10.Make breakfast fun!
     Have pancakes shaped like the first letter of their name. If they'll eat more do their whole name! Other meal options: fruit, (strawberries, apples, mangos, nectarines, plums, grapes, blueberries), quesadillas, ham, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, applesauce, gogurt, tortellini, chicken fingers, potstickers, peas, corn on the cob, ice cream and for these kids salmon!!

11.Get everyone showered and dressed.
      LAME I know but this took forever! I basically just stayed in the bathroom showering, dressing, brushing teeth of kid after kid! If you have two hours to kill this will do it. We got dressed up for church. Suggestions for keeping them entertained quiet while there:
bring their water bottles, bring coloring books and colored pencils (enough to share), bring snacks like fruit snacks or dried fruit, have them sing along, periodically make them stop to listen so they can tell you what the speaker is talking about- a great quiet teaching opportunity.

12.Make signs for a special occasion
      We'd already made cards for my brother on a mission so we decided to send him a picture! You could do it for someone's upcoming graduation, get well soon, or make decorations to put up in the house for an upcoming holiday. This was right before bed but if we'd had more time they could have done a lot more coloring.

13. Make their handprint in stone. I found a recipe online that was equal parts salt and flour and add in water until you can knead it into a dough. Each child can make their own or like us we made a large heart for Grandma. To make it harden put it in the oven at 200 degrees for a couple hours. Then let it cool and sit for even a day or so to get it good and dry. If you want you can paint it too.

Options without pictures (still just as good).
14. Nap. Do it. Or at least have quiet time or you will go insane.

15. Go to McDonalds. My suggestion, order one less Happy Meal than kids you have and just get an extra toy. There was enough food to go around. Everyone didn't need their own!

16. Read to them. We did this a couple times. We piled into a Lazy Boy chair and read a few books. When the younger two kids were asleep Josh and Sophie did my hair while I read Because of Winn Dixie. I would not recommend this option if you have to go out again that night or if you have a sensitive head. I was finding clips in there all night long!

17. Sidewalk chalk. Have them lay down and trace their bodies. Then they can "draw themselves." Remember- put on bugspray!

18. Take advantage of coloring books! We got jumbo books in a theme each child liked (Princess, Curious George, Spider Man) and they could be creative.

19. Stickers. Kids love stickers. Stickers on bodies, stickers on paper, stickers anywhere.

20. Have a dance party. We turned of the lights in a bedroom that still had some sunlight coming through the blinds and turned up the tunes. We wiggled and moved and be-bopped around on and off the bed.  

21. Make cookies or rice crispies. Kids love to help! They can stir or make balls out of dough. Be ready to get sticky.

22. If all else fails, let them watch TV. There's no harm in that. Teach them how to turn it on to whatever channel you decide so you can take a shower!

We had a great time together. I'm glad I was able to watch after them and will miss them when they've gone home!

1 comment:

  1. Great ideas--you are awesome! I love ooblek.