5 games to entertain your kids while you make dinner

After speaking with other parents, it’s obvious that every parent has their “thing” that they like to do with their kids.  For some parents, it’s outings to a play place or the park, for others, it’s sports and running around and for me, it’s coloring and puzzles.  I cringe when the girls ask to play Barbies or when they want to play house and I have to be the mom.  Again.  It doesn’t matter which activity you choose, your kids just want you to play with them.  They want you to be along for the ride, interacting with them and paying attention to what they’re doing.

Some days my to-do list is long (okay, most days) and the kids need attention.  In particular, I like to have a distraction for them when it’s time for me to prepare a meal, because otherwise they’re hovering and asking for snacks every five seconds.  You know, you’ve been there too.   It’s hard to balance playing and getting stuff done, but these five games will help you get through your to-do list and keep the kids entertained at the same time.  Another positive, they don’t require any physical effort or equipment, just verbal interaction with your kids.  You can play any of these games while making supper, feeding a baby, changing a diaper, folding laundry, when you’re feeling under the weather and more.

1. Animal walks

This idea was inspired by http://www.cbc.ca/parents/learning/view/12-animals-walks-for-kids-to-get-moving. It escalated quickly when the kids started telling ME which animal walks they should do.  Eventually, I didn’t have to say anything, and it turned into my own personal zoo performance.

2.  Quiet Sounds

Quiet sounds is a game my kids “invented”.  One person mouths the words and the other person has to guess what they said.  So, lip reading.

3.  Mama Says (Simon Says)

Thank you Jami the swimming teacher for teaching my kids how to play Jami Says.  Except they do everything you ask them to do, even if you don’t say Jami Says.  I mixed in a few tasks and managed to get the kids to unknowingly clean up their toys in the process.  Mama says do five jumping jacks.   Pick up three toys and put them back in the sandbox.  Mama says put on your hat.  This game is super effective, and the kids don’t even notice they’re cleaning up because they’re concentrating on playing the “game”.  Keep this one in your back pocket.

4.  I Spy

I spy with my little eye, something that is…an excellent time-killer.  While driving in the car, walking to school, waiting for supper to be ready.  I Spy can happen anytime.

5.  Starbucks (or your favorite restaurant)

This is a game I like to bust out when I don’t feel like thinking.  Basically, I sit down, the kids run up to me and ask me what my Starbucks order is.  They bring me the wrong thing, I act like a dissatisfied customer, they laugh, repeat.

I’m curious, what are your favorite effortless and equipment-free games for kids?  Comment to share your ideas!