Keeping Kids Busy Without Using the TV

Keeping Kids Busy Without Using the TV

“A mother’s work is never done.” No other statement has ever been more true. With so many things to do and kids at home, it’s often difficult to start and finish a task in one sitting.

As a writer, it is especially important to keep my kids busy while I’m trying to write. It takes me 3 to 4 times longer to write a paragraph than it would without the kids being present. Unfortunately for me, I do most of my best writing in the morning and find it hard to function after I put the kids to bed at night, so writing with kids around is something I constantly have to battle.

More than I’d like to admit, I’ve enrolled the assistance of the television to get me some distraction-free time from the kids. While this isn’t the worst thing in the world, the subsequent “Mom-Guilt” that sets in begs to differ. I’m always trying to find inventive ways to keep them playing quietly while giving me time to write, and I’ve come up with a few that might help you to get some quiet time, too.

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A Few Suggestions…

So what can us busy Moms do to keep the kids playing quietly without TV? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Kids Aged 1-3: Kids this age are not easily distracted for long periods of time, but the right activity can buy you up to 20 minutes of free time. A sandbox, pail, and a few shovels can go a long way. If the weather doesn’t permit, or you don’t have access to a sandbox, a small blow up pool with kinetic sand or balls can provide the same amount of enjoyment indoors.

Do you have a few extra boxes in the garage? Put one together, throw in baby and a few crayons, and let them color inside the box. It keeps them busy, activating their inner-creative and best of all, it keeps them in one place!! (Or check out this reasonably-priced cardboard house that they can color and play in for a while!)

Kids Aged 4-6: Kids in this age range are drawn to creativity. Give them a handful of boxes with markers and colorful tape. Have them create apartment homes for their toys. They’ll have so much fun creating each individual space and it will take them a while.(Or check out this reasonably-priced cardboard house that they can color and play in for a while!)

LEGOS. Legos can provide a good amount of playtime and are great for promoting fine motor skills and creativity.

Keeping kids busy without using tv

Kids Aged 7-9: Children between these ages enjoy showcasing their abilities. If your child likes to write, consider writing prompts. Give them 4 to 5 household objects and ask them to create a story using these items. Not only will this keep them entertained, it’s great writing practice and makes for a wonderful keepsake.

If your child is more of a hands-on creative, consider giving them a pack of craft sticks with glue and tell them to construct their dream home or automobile/plane. This will buy you about 30 to 45 minutes. For some added time, give them a pack of markers afterward to decorate their creation.

Have dominoes? Ask your 4-6 year old to create a domino presentation for you. This can buy you 30 to 45 minutes and they’ll have a great time watching it unfold at the end.

PERLER BEADS!! Have your kids create picture frames and other keepsake items by designing with these beads.

Kids Aged 10-12: Kids this age are all about screen time. To weed them off temporarily, task them with being Mother’s Helper to you. For every hour they entertain younger siblings (sans electronics), grant them a reward. Whether it be monetary (cash) or “bought” screen time, this keeps EVERYONE busy and teaches responsibility.

If they don’t have younger siblings, consider having them create a dream or vision board. Later on, you can discuss ways to make some of their dreams come true. This is a great way to learn more about your child and find new ways to bond!!

Of course, coloring pages and coloring books are always a great activity for kids of all ages (adults, included!), but the amount of time it will buy you doesn’t seem to be too long. Trying these activities above might buy you some extra time!

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TV Time

Turning to PBS for support every now and then isn’t the worst thing in the world, but teaching children to entertain themselves quietly is priceless. We all have things that we need to do that require concentration and having a toddler on your back can definitely cause a distraction. These suggestions can buy you some time and save you some guilt!

If you enjoyed this post, don’t forget to check out my posts on Spring Break and Winter Break activities to keep your kids busy!!

What are some ways you keep your kids busy while trying to get things done? Comment Below.


Pamela is a Freelance Writer, Blogger, WAHM of 3, and Veteran Military Wife living in Southwest Texas. Raised in the Northeast and having lived a few years in the Pacific Northwest, she likes to write about mom life, parenting, frugal living, experiences, and WINE. (Lots of wine!) When she’s not busy chasing toddlers around, you can find her on the blog or on social media. Check her out on Instagram:

6 thoughts on “Keeping Kids Busy Without Using the TV”

  • Awww that’s super cute!! My daughter is an artist. She has always been and I love how creative she is. It’s not as hard to keep her busy as it is the boys. If you throw her a box, some marker, glue and coffee filters, she’s good for a WHILE. LOL

  • Great ideas! This is one of the hardest things to do as a mom. TV is such an easy solution! It keeps them quiet…no fights, no mess-making, etc. Every time I tell them no more tv they end up getting creative to entertain themselves and are so much happier. I still go to TV on days that are harder, but really try to limit it. And games are only 2 days a week (1.5 hours total), so we’re trying!

    • I agree- it’s so easy to use TV as a babysitter, but sometimes, I have no choice. With my kids, it seemed like they would have more meltdowns and tantrums if they watched too much TV and that was an eye-opener for me. You’re right- they are happier when they’re getting creative and playing amongst themselves, but the messes they make when they play together… UGHHHHHHHH

  • surprisingly my kids hate Tv..whenever my wife try to get rid of them she switch on the tv and let the kids to enjoy cartoons ,,,hardly after an hour we see our kids sleeping…actually they enjoy outdoor games with me like cricket etc but hats to sit in a room at a place

    • that’s great! It’s so much better for them to be outside and getting some exercise in! Thanks for stopping by, Albert!

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