When It Comes to Keeping the Kids Busy, Sometimes Simple Is Best

Sometimes my daughter, Harper, is very good at entertaining herself and will be busy playing school or changing her dollies’ diapers or bossing around Murray and the Big Kids or “reading” or cutting holes in her socks for many blissful minutes. Others, not so much. And what with her little brother hanging around, I can’t always get into the elaborate art projects and such that we so favored last winter. This week, though, two amusements reminded me of how simple a thing can be and still capture her interest and imagination.

Item 1: Cloud Dough

The other night I met with a bunch of moms, and as always happens at these things I came away with lots of ideas for fun things to do with Harper other than just saying, “Go play! Scat!” We were talking about sensory-integration fun when one mom suggested cloud dough, for which I found a recipe here. All is takes is some flour, oil and water and—ta da!—you have a play-doh-y material that will keep kids busy for hours. Or at least one hour.

We tried it out one chilly, rainy morning when both kids were up BEFORE FIVE and we really needed something, well, soft and tickly. Big mess, but also, big fun.

Item 2: Blue Bouncy Ball

It’s a real hassle when kids start having a lot of opinions about everything, has anyone noticed this? Today I was determined to get to Tumbling Tots, which is a very enriching class at the Y that involves waiting for a ticket so that you can go into a big padded room and let your kid run around on some sweaty floormat, but for some reason Harper wasn’t into it. She wanted to walk around and look for puddles instead. Fair enough. We stopped at a little drug store, and just as I was feeling bad for having such a boring morning, Harper spotted a bouncy ball that she felt she and Murray really needed. We bought it, stopped for a ride on the ancient motorcycle ridey-thingy outside, and then went to park. And guess what? Harper and Murray had a great time with this ball. It was super bouncy. And that was the morning. And that was more than enough.

Nichola Hunt

Cocktail aficionado. Large dog breed lover. Fondness of summer dresses. Hater of pickles. Born in London, based in Bali.

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