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How do you keep your children busy? Share your stories of when it worked (...and when it didn’t!) with Boden - £200 voucher to be won

154 replies

BellaMumsnet · 12/07/2021 09:44

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We all know that keeping our kids busy can get tricky, particularly during the school holidays when it seems like we're always looking for new ways to entertain them. That’s why Boden would love you to share your stories (successful or not!) of filling your children’s days.

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Perhaps you set them up with a box of crafts or enlisted the help of the older DC to play endless games of UNO while you finished that important Zoom call? Maybe you relented to an afternoon of TV or gaming in return for a chance to have a cup of tea in peace? Maybe your DC came up with their own entertainment...using your wardrobe as a dressing up box! Or perhaps you’ve encouraged them to try out some of Boden’s Mini Missions?

Whatever tactics you’ve employed, whether they’ve been rolled out every summer or swiftly abandoned, we want to know about them.

Post your stories in the thread below to be entered into a prize draw where one lucky MNer will win a £200 voucher for a store of their choice (from a list).

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How do you keep your children busy? Share your stories of when it worked (...and when it didn’t!) with Boden - £200 voucher to be won
OP posts:
BristolMum96 · 12/07/2021 18:36

Always have well stocked arts and crafts box, get out a tuff tray and let them wreak havoc with glitter!

Cotswoldmama · 12/07/2021 18:47

Treasure hunts around the house and garden usually keep my kids occupied. We sometimes do a sort of treasure hunt if we go for a walk with a tick box of things they will see so they can tick them off. They quite like then doing them for each other and I get them to draw out the treasure maps.
Another thing they like doing if it's dry outside is taking out our magic tracks and building a huge track around the garden.

MumC2141 · 12/07/2021 20:06

Arts and crafts, games and their tablets when we need some peace and quiet.

jellybeanpopper · 12/07/2021 21:01

We try to plan an activity outside the house everyday, a visit to the park, a walk or tennis lesson etc.

Spend some time in the garden depending on the weather- football, hide and seek, paddling pool etc.

Indoor activities - baking, arts and crafts, board games. Also trying to make chores fun i.e. helping match socks when the come out of the laundry, DD loves to help cleaning surfaces etc. - doesn't get much done but it keeps her busy!

bowchicawowwow · 12/07/2021 22:21

We go geocaching, we try and find a local route with some new caches most weeks. The thought of finding some treasure keeps them motivated, they also like choosing bits and pieces from home to leave in the cache too.

wellingtonsandwaffles · 12/07/2021 22:51

If I really want them quiet, it’s media. If I’m feeling like a better parent then set up a Playmobil scene / make slime / get something messy and interesting out (eg potion making from the cupboards)

mayflower21 · 12/07/2021 23:36

We used to be very outdoorsy - my toddler and I, but she developed hay fever so we try to only go out during certain hours when pollens are lower. Other times she plays with puzzles and can spend a very long time with them. I wasn't expecting she would be so much engaged with them at this age.

HarrietHairbrush · 13/07/2021 01:26

So many!
I will come back and post

QueenOfThorns · 13/07/2021 06:58

The best and easiest activity I found to entertain my toddler DD on a nice day was ‘washing the garden’. I bought her a cheap spray bottle in the supermarket, filled it with water, then let her get on with it. Hours of fun! She’s a great big 7 year old now, and still enjoys spraying the garden Grin

Stormwhale · 13/07/2021 07:37

I get them out in the garden. Washing their toys, helping me with garden jobs, painting things with water. Being outside keeps them much happier.

hannahbjm · 13/07/2021 10:41

Always make the most of outside. Even when raining my kids love going outside in wellies and they have competitions to see how much water they can collect and then they water the plants inside!

Tanaqui · 13/07/2021 10:54

Similar to washing the garden- a big paintbrush and can of water, and "paint" the shed/fence. Replace with fence paint when older! Also poster paint in shallow trays and make footprints and handprints if you have a patio (it washes off!). Summer holiday scrapbooks for something that can practice a bit of reading and writing as well as collecting tickets and leaflets. Watering the ground and stamping to entice worms up is fun for them (not for squeamish adults though!).

voyager50 · 13/07/2021 12:18

I have been saving the Sunday Kids supplement from the paper and he finds lots of things to read and activities to do in them.

He also loves anything to do with art and can spend hours being creative

MargosKaftan · 13/07/2021 16:54

Quiet requires screens.

Busy is usually messy.

ifigoup · 13/07/2021 18:43

Hours of fun have been had this week involving blowing air into a balloon then letting it go and zoom all around the room. A knotted balloon is also popular, but an unknotted one even more so!

TheLovelinessOfDemons · 13/07/2021 21:39

DD2 draws all the time, DS2 has ADHD and really only stays still for screens.

Dizzywizz · 13/07/2021 21:55

I get mine to write a story between them - they do a line or a paragraph each. Normally ends up with a pretty funny story!!

Redruby2020 · 13/07/2021 22:07

Omg thanks for this post! I had the same question, especially as this year is the first year where I feel the difference from DC not going to be in day care!
I shall read through some of the ideas!
Especially because being full time single parent, I have so much to do and I don't want to or can't get out with DC all the time, plus having a few health issues too. And we don't have a garden, so any ideas here that I read, will be gladly received!!

EvilHerbivore · 13/07/2021 22:21

Mine still like geocaching which is nice free activity

DaisyDando · 13/07/2021 23:58

The summer before Covid, we went to the Institute of Imagination and borrowed so many ideas for home. Junk modelling - I have my very own glue gun now - Lego challenges, aeroplane making; and my personal favourite: marble run out of any old tat from round the house.
We have a swingball which I searched online for during the first lockdown and I think it’s been played with twice.

ButterflyOfFreedom · 14/07/2021 06:39

If it's dry, they can go in the garden which usually keeps thrm amused for a good hour or so (trampoline, football, swingball, watering the plants etc.).
If they have to stay inside they always have access to games, jigsaws, toys (e.g.. dolls or cars) & colouring.
If I need them to be really still / quiet, we will let them on their tablets or watch T.V. but this is usually a last resort and limited to 30 mins at a time.

rumbuba · 14/07/2021 08:15


We go geocaching, we try and find a local route with some new caches most weeks. The thought of finding some treasure keeps them motivated, they also like choosing bits and pieces from home to leave in the cache too.

We geocache too! I use it to get us out for half a day at a time. If I had my own way i'd be out all day!
My 6yo is surprisingly good at finding them once we are in the right spot. She even encouraged me to look behind a metal railing with my phone in selfie mode to find one (which we did).
BlowDryRat · 14/07/2021 10:05

In a fit of laziness, I told my then-infant school-age DD she could make her own costume. She took her perfectly good dress, emptied a tub of glitter over it to make it purple and sparkly and then danced around the house in it before coming to show me. That was 4 years ago and I'm sure I keep finding glitter from that memorable occasion.

DrGilbertson · 14/07/2021 11:44

I like pre-rolled pastry. Really easy cooking activity with little ones. Works with cutters, squidging around or putting any random thing on top before cooking

Hopezibah · 14/07/2021 15:12

A new magazine can work wonders! I remember being able to get through my entire ironing pile one day whilst the kids read their new magazines for ages.

We also keep hold of loads of empty boxes, bubble wrap etc that can be used for junk modelling - their imaginations are amazing - it's just a case of giving them the opportunity to use it.

Sometimes a new toy or item brought out at the right time can really hold their interest too - it doesn't have to be big or expensive but just something they can use for a long time without getting bored. We bought a low-cost light box for my daughter who loves drawing and it has helped keep her busy for ages doing something she loves.

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