Kid’s activities when Mummy is poorly No.3 – Busy Bags

These bags are great not only for keeping the kids entertained if you are feeling under the weather but also for taking out with you as they are small enough to fit in the change bag or your handbag. We trialled these two at Beardy’s birthday meal last Saturday.

There is no hard and fast rule for these and I wouldn’t recommend going out and splashing the cash on special items to make them just gather what you have from around the home.

If you do wish to purchase anything, (I LOVE my popper widget) then I will link to some in the post. Please note that these are affiliate links, there is no charge to you but a small amount of money comes my way for referring you should you purchase.

If you like the ideas but don’t have the time to make them then here are some ready made alternatives for you to purchase:

Paper chains with sticky bits on them
Super Sorting Pie

“Paper” Chains

These are a slightly more robust version of paper chains that you can put away and reuse another day. There is also no reason why you can’t cut some paper strips up and pop a small stick of glue (think UHU or Pritt Stick not school glue) in your bag either.

I used poppers (snap fasteners/ KAM snaps) but you could use buttons (see here for a quick alternative to buttons) and cut slits for button holes or use sticky velcro. The chain links can be made from anything really, strips of old clothes, felt, thick ish card.

You will need:

Felt, fabric, strong card or other similar material for the links
Poppers, buttons/fasteners, velcro to secure

You will need to cut your links into 1″ by 8″ strips.

For poppers, pick a backing piece and a “female” piece (it’s the bit that isn’t super sticky out), sandwich them into the widget according to the manufacturer’s instructions and SQUEEEEEEEEEZE! Your strip should now be sandwiched securely between a smooth piece and a bit with a hole and a dot. Repeat for all strips.

If you are using buttons/velcro or similar, stitch or stick a button/ piece to one end of the strip. Repeat for all strips.

For poppers and velcro you now want to flip the strips over and repeat the process for the other end, this time using the opposite piece, the “male” popper bit or the hook velcro if you used the loop part first. These bits should be at the opposite end and the opposite side of the strip to the first ones. This means that when closed, the strip makes a bracelet rather than a twisted loop.

For buttons and similar fastenings, simply cut an appropriate sized slit at the opposite end. Make sure the slit is big enough for little fingers to easily push the button through but not so big that it doesn’t hold. Start small, you can always make it bigger.

That’s it! All done. Wave them gleefully at your children and hope they are as excited about your lovingly made gift to them as you are.

Colour Matching

I used left over bits of felt and raided our button box for these but you can used coloured bits of anything really and small objects from around the house. Think pen lids, milk bottle tops, small toys, natural objects. The idea is that you lay the coloured squares out and the child matches the objects to the colour spots.

If you are lying upon the sofa in a snotty, flu filled stupor (you are allowed) then make yourself a brew, grab a coloured tupperware lid, sit back on said sofa and send wee bairn on a treasure hunt of the lounge to see how many object of that one colour they can find.

Children are inquisitive and excitable little creatures and don’t need big fancy toys to keep them occupied. They just need a bit of encouragement from us and something to stimulate their little brains.

The age of your squiglet will determine how long they can sit doing one task for, so if they are little little ones then be prepared to have a few activities up your sleeve if you need more than 5 minutes to rest.

Next week we’re talking about every child and cat’s favourite plaything.



Alternative fastenings

Following on from the Busy Bag post, here’s a tutorial for making alternative fastenings out of scraps.

You can use any fabric/felt scraps you have. Off cuts from making the strips are perfect. You will also need some string/thread.

Take a scrap strip of chosen fabric, roll up from the short end and tie in the middle.

Cut two small slits in the link strip, thread an end of string through each one and tie off in a double knot. Trim the string ends.

Once you have cut a slit in the other end you can push your new toggle through and voila!



Kid’s Activities when Mummy is Poorly No. 2 – DIY Puzzles

Are you feeling better yet? I hope so.

If not, here’s activity number 2. I have tested the ability to prep for this whilst lying with one arm dangling off the sofa, it is possible.

You will need:

A selection of small household items and/or small toys
A piece of paper
A pen

What to do:

Ask small person to go and find something exciting to do for 60 seconds and not to look.

Place small objects on piece of paper with a bit of space between each one.

Draw around each object with a pen.

Take items off piece of paper and ask small person to come back.

Upon their return let them know that they need to work out which item fits in which drawn shape. If you have a younger bairn, it maybe easier to show them. Once they’ve done it, ask them to shut their eyes, take the bits off again and then turn the paper upside down for a different angle. You could also chuck a few rogue items into the pile to make it a bit harder.


Kid’s Activities when Mummy is Poorly No. 1 – Playdough

This activity series is for those days when you feel like utter rubbish but the bambinos still need entertaining and you have limited amount of energy but just enough to at least try to avoid binge watching Peppa Pig all day.

First up is playdough. Elsie absolutely loves this and would rather play with playdough than go to the best park in the universe that serves all you can eat ice cream with sprinkles. Please note, this isn’t my recipe. I found this on HomeSchool Creations but will be adding a few insights of my own.

There is a fair amount of cream of tartar in this recipe. If you are making this as a one off then you will need a box of sachets from the supermarket. 6 sachets is 2 tablespoons. If you will be making this more often, I’ll include a link in the ingredients to a big bag that cuts the costs down. This is an affiliate link so if you do purchase I will get a few pennies from the sale at no cost to yourself. If you choose not to add the cream of tartar you will have a crumbly dough that will work but not have the elasticity of playdough and may involve wailing on small people’s parts due to it not fitting through the playdough ‘chine and making noodles. From experience, it’s not worth the tears, use the cream of tartar.

This is a good article if you are interested in the sciencey bits behind playdough.

I will also include a link to purchase KoolAid. This is an American drinks thing (I’ve drunk it, it’s not great and I certainly wouldn’t give it to kids) that comes in a sachet. Whilst not really fit for human consumption it does give a great colour and smell to the dough and you can use it to dye yarn! Bonus! It can be a bit pricey so we save this for special. If you don’t want to use KoolAid then normal food colouring will work as well. Or you could leave it plain.

Koolaid Playdough

Grape is my favourite for colour and smell.

If you are planning on making this regularly (it does keep but you might not always want to use it again) then chuck a bag of value flour, a cheap bottle of vegetable oil and a bag of value salt into your trolley next time you go shopping. It doesn’t need to be posh stuff.

Right, enough waffle.

You will need:

110g Plain flour
75g Salt
2 TBSP Cream of tartar
A sachet of KoolAid or a few drops of regular food colouring. I like Wiltons gels. A little goes a long way.
230ml Water
1 TBSP Veg oil

A saucepan
Wooden spoon
Medium to large mixing bowl

What to do:

Place the flour, salt, cream of tartar, KoolAid and water into a saucepan and mix until combined. If you are using food colouring and want it all one colour, add this to the water first before putting in the saucepan. If you want multiple colours from one batch, leave the food colouring out at this stage.

Place the saucepan onto a medium heat and stir whilst adding the oil. It will take a little bit of stirring to combine it all. Keep stirring the mixture until it starts to form a dough. You want to take it off the heat before it gets too hard to mix but not too early that it’s still sloppy. It should be about the consistency of firm mashed potato.

Leave it to cool a bit. Remember this step. Mummy is no fun with burnt fingers, especially if she’s already feeling grotty.

Scoop the mixture out of the pan with the spoon and place it in the mixing bowl. I find it helps to add some hot water to the saucepan at this point to let it soak a bit, it’s then really easy to clean.

When the dough is cool enough to stick a hand into without swearing you can start to knead it. I do this in a bowl first as it can be a bit sticky to begin with. About 3-4 minutes of kneading later and you have a dough for your cherubs to play with leaving you some time to sit on the sofa and feel grotty.

If you are doing multiple colours, split the dough into even pieces and squish into flat disks. Place some food colouring into the centre of the disk and then fold the dough around it. Keep kneading and folding until the dough is fully coloured. You will end up with coloured hands for a few hours, just pretend you’ve been wrangling unicorns.

You can add all sorts of things to playdough, glitter is a favourite here. You can add a few drops of essential oil or a little bit of vanilla essence. This is not an edible mixture, especially if you are adding essential oils so only use with little ones who have got past the “everything must go in my face” stage. I’ll be adding a taste safe recipe soon.

The dough should keep for a few months in an air tight container. Ours lasts about a week depending on what it gets used for, what she’s stuffed in it and whether I can face picking all the bits out of it.

What have you added to yours? Do your kids have a favourite tool to use? Let me know in the comments or on one of my social media jobbers.

Happy making.