Tip Tuesday – All Day LONG

So, even if you don’t stay home every day with your kids, every parent has times where they get to pull an all-dayer. Actually lots of non-parents get the chance to do this too.

Ever been a babysitter in junior high, desperate to earn those 2 dollars an hour so you could buy some fluorescent slouch socks or the latest Paula Abdul cassette, so you locked yourself in a filthy house with 5 kids you didn’t particularly like for 12 hours on a Saturday while the parents gleefully ran off to some exotic getaway, only to find out that they round down their payment, especially when they come home drunk?

Yeah, me neither. I was just asking.

So at some point you’re home all day with the kids. What do you do with them? Some of you are thinking, “Didn’t we already do a Tip Tuesday on this?”

Um, NO-O, Ms Smarty-pants. We did one about keeping kids occupied on a rainy day but this is totally different. “How?” you have the audacity to ask. Well, today’s tips could be for dry OR rainy days. Today’s tips are going to be better and even MORE copius and helpful than last time. And lastly, that was done back in 2005 and times have changed.

Others of you are thinking, “You’re supposed to DO something with them?”

Um…..yes. Yes you are.

Here is what I would suggest unto you:

Oh, the TV is broken, the legos have exploded, melting the crayons in the blast and the play-doh has dried up in the shape of Mr. T’s head? (Stop looking at me. Do you have a staring problem? What do YOU make with play-doh?) Well then, I’ll have to think about this for a second…..

1. Let them help you clean the house. This may not work for older kids but if I give Laylee a wet rag and let her wipe things – walls, cupboards, windows, my legs, Magoo’s head, etc. – it will keep her occupied for quite a long time and I’m able to get a ton of stuff done.

2. Library programs – Story time is just the tip of the iceberg at many public libraries.

3. Go out for a cheap ice cream cone. It can take forever to eat and it acts as a 99 cent babysitter. Sadly, most do not come with a free kid-wash.

4. Borders’ read with a dog day – Borders bookstore near my house has a day every couple of weeks where people bring their kid-friendly dogs in and you can go and read books with them. Then you say, “Bu-bye doggie” and go home where the only poop you need to clean up is yours and your kids’.

5. Go to the Movies – So you’ve got some money burning a hole in your pocket? Why not take your kids to a show. Last week Laylee, Magoo and I went to see Nanny McPhee at one of those special mommy’s-morning-out showings. It was great fun and cheaper than a visit to the shrink. (Do a web search for “reel moms” and your city. The site was down when I was posting this and I’m not sure when it will be back up so I didn’t want to post a dead link.)

6. The fabric store – Psych! Fabric store = they will hate you after 5 minutes. Just wanted to make sure you were still awake.

This Tip Tuesday topic is brought to you by Jessica who has a sweet new blog. Please leave suggestions here for indoor and outdoor fun with kids and then stop by and tell Jessica hello.

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24 Responses to Tip Tuesday – All Day LONG

  1. Moonface says:

    okay four things i’ve been doing a lot of recently:
    1. word games, which can be played anywhere, but especially when we are walking to and from kindergarten. Em’s favourite is ‘odd one out’: i say three things (e.g. lion, bear, fish) and Em guesses which one doesnt belong, giving a reason why it doesn’t.
    2. balancing a lemon on a spoon in your mouth as you walk around.
    3. the ‘do what i say’ game: i give instructions (e.g. do five star jumps; pick up all the red toys and put them in the box; clap fifteen times; sit on your bottom and lift your legs…) and they follow. Em finds this utterly entertaining, and I get her to clean up in the process.
    4. hide and seek. good for indoors and outdoors.

  2. blackbird says:

    My fellows were always happy with a spray bottle of water and a roll of paper towels and then placed in front of a large shiny surface.

    They also liked to play ‘store’ with groceries and price stickers and a toy register.

    um, now?
    they like to drink copious amounts of Nantucket Nectar and sit around the computer/iPod speakers/television with friends.

  3. mom says:

    Hmmm. Build tents together and read mountains of books in them.

    Do a giant floor puzzle.

    Dance without restraint to energetic music. (This doubles as the day’s excercise and is followed immediately by collapse on the floor and watch a movie.)


    Go to the park and create games that get the kids running and you mostly standing. (“Grammy, let’s rest.” always got me excited until I realized that Laylee really meant “race”.)

    Sidewalk chalk.

    Blow bubbles.

    Create your own art – give kids mountains of odds and ends, paper and glue (yes, on a plastic table cloth over a vinal rug)

    Help them put together a play complete with props and costumes. Just gathering up the props and costumes takes a mountain of time.

    (OK, I know I’ve mentioned this one before, but it was my all-time favorite.) Paint the Flagstones My neighbor used to give her daughter and I clean, empty paint cans filled with water and big paint brushes and let us paint the patio. We would start at one end and paint until every stone was a “new” color. Of course, by the time we finished, the starting end had dried and returned to “normal” so we would have to start over again. Stupid kids like us could be occupied for hours with this game on a hot dry day.

    “Organize the button box” For aproximately the 4-8 crowd. Get out the button box and muffin tins. Have the children divide the buttons by type into the tins, then sew them together in sets. It’s great for teaching discrimination, organization and fine motor skills. It doesn’t do the button box any harm either.

    Go swimming, on a picnic or a hike.

    All kinds of “tag” games are still classic. Kids love to chase and be chased.

    Play “CITY”. Set up each room as a different business or attraction.
    restaurant= lunch or snacks
    movie theater= video
    library= books
    beauty parlour= hair-do, nails
    art studio= playdough, painting etc
    construction site= legos, cars etc archeological dig = stuff buried in sandbox to be discovered
    park= backyard
    zoo= animal toys: stuffed, puzzles
    hospital= dr kits & props
    daycare= dolls etc
    grocery store= cash register, cart and empty food boxes, etc.

    This game could take all day (kind of like this comment.) or could be broken into individual activities.

    Sorry this was so long, I’ve been a babysitter/teacher/Mom for a long, long time and sometimes I can’t restrain myself.

  4. Jenn says:

    Read with a dog… that’s a creative one! (I’ll have to bookmark your site for when I have some kids).

  5. Aunt Murry says:

    My Molly (female Yorkie) would love to be read too! I’ll have to check that out. She LOVES attention.

  6. owlhaven says:

    We do ‘name that book’. For example— here’s the quote “10 little girls, all in a line, the youngest one was….” Can you guess what book that is from?? I can’t say the last word in the phrase because that would give it away, but the person playing is supposed to guess what book that quote is from. We include all our favorite children’s story books and read-alouds in this game, and we take turns trying to stump each other.

  7. Linsey says:

    I like the painting the patio idea, my kids would LOVE that.

    We also Dance til we drop and then watch a movie.

    My kids favorite is the STOMP DVD. They get out the big white food storage buckets and wooden spoons. It is noisy but they LOVE it.

    We turn the closet into a spaceship. The first time we played it I made some “outer space” stuff on cardboard and while they were in the spaceship I would hang them in their room, so when they gotout of the ship we went exploring the new planet.

    I am a hairdresser, so we play hair salon alot. Washable colored gels and sprays make me the coolest mom in the universe, until it is time to take a shower.

  8. Stephanie says:


    Boxes are good.

    I get big boxes and cut a door and little windows in them.

  9. Alissa says:

    -we go to the park alot. and well, this only really works if a. it’s sunny outside or b. you want your kids to get pneumonia or frostbite

    -amazingly, the mall. they have a great play place at our mall and I can largely ignore my children

    -music and dancing. my girls love for me to put on just about any cd and we dance around. that works for about 20 minutes.

    -puzzles. very popular.
    -making cookies together.
    -now is a great time of year to write letters to grandparents/send valentines to friends, etc.

  10. Carrie says:

    I love all the ideas. Good topic.

    In the summer (here in Utah anyway), some of the dollar movie theaters do a movie of the week for kids and kids 12 and under are free. They also did reduced rate on candy and popcorn. This can be fun if you like chasing a toddler around and picking him up of a sticky floor and sweating to death because the theater is crammed with kids and the air conditioner was broken. Good times.

    Some of the regular theaters do a movie of the week with reduced rates or in a package deal where it ended up being only about a buck a movie and they did reduced rate treats also.

    Some states also have a school summer lunch program. Kids 1-18 eat for free. It does not matter what income level you are (you just show up, there is no form filling out or anything) and the kids enjoy eating together and playing afterwards. I enjoy the fact that I do not have to put anything together for lunch and swelter. I know, PBJs who hard can it be but it is fun for the kids to do something different a couple days a week and be with kids their own ages.

    We also joined a family friendly recreation center. We can swim on that pass and they also offer reduced rate classes for the kids and grown ups. Just walking around the mall is also fun and the kids burn off some energy.

    I know a lot of those are summer type ideas, but it is around the corner and the programs start advertising soon. If I think of anything else, I will post them.

  11. Eleisha says:

    Lucky for us my nephew likes hats and balls. I give him a ballcap and my exercise ball and he’s good to go for hours.

    1. Parks — city parks. They get to interact with other kids and get to play as wild as possible
    2. Clean the yard. Let them pick sticks and rocks up for ‘x’ amount (5 cents each, if they get large ones give 25 cents) You set the price
    3. River/Lake. Teaches them respect for water and they can throw rocks and watch the ripples. Hot or cool weather activity.
    4. Books
    5. Puzzels (table and floor — purchased a big foam map puzzel for $3 at Big lots of the US. It has all the states and capitols, you can put the puzzle together and teach states and capitols)

    Just a few ideas…I don’t have kids so I’m going off of what I do with my nieces and nephew when I have them.

  12. My neighbour bought a 20$ inflatable pool that was fairly big and even came with a slide. We used it everyday last summer. Best 20$ she ever spent (bless her heart). The kids went in it after nap till before dinner as it seems to be the hardest part of the day for me.

  13. Queen Beth says:

    I may be a bad Mom for saying this…but http://www.barbie.com. Keeps the Duchess happy for a good long time.

    Hey! Stop by my blog! I have the Tuesday Guess It up!

  14. Sad to say but we go to wal-mart a lot for a little outings at home we clean the house and play games stop by and say hi sometime

  15. Mich says:

    These first few games are mostly for travel, but they work great anytime.
    We play “Name that tune” where I hum something, usually a theme song from a kid movie, and they guess. Then we switch and they get to hum. It works with commercial jingles, TV show theme songs and church songs too.
    Also, depending on the age of your child, you can pick a category, like “Things you eat” and the first person says something like “Ice cream”. The next person has to name something you eat that starts with the last letter of the food just named. So for the example above, the next person has to name an “M” food, like “mango”. The next person has to do an “O” food, like “Oatmeal” and on and on.
    When my kids were younger, the favorite thing to do was sort through the kitchen gadget drawer (wooden spoons, garlic press, whisk, measuring cups) and cookie cutters.
    We also tried breathing on cold windows to write messages or draw with our fingers.
    I also gave my kids a washcloth and 409 or water and had them “look for clues and dust for fingerprints”–they washed lightswitches, doorknobs and handrails that way.
    Try making a volcano in your sink by putting some vinegar and a drop of food coloring in a cup and adding a tsp. of baking soda all at once to watch it bubble over.
    Have the kids talk to and pet your plants, then give them a drink of water. For some kids, this can last a long time. For others, the suggestion alone makes them think you are crazy.

  16. jessica says:

    These are great comments. I’m going to have to save them!

    My MIL made an indoor sandbox by filling a huge, low-sided rubbermaid container with a 5-lb bag of rice. She put the boys in it and gave them some rinsed out food containers and measuring cups to fill and scoop with. It kept them entertained for a long time. The best part was when they were done playing, she just but the lid on the rubbermaid and put it in the closet for next time.

    For even less mess, I’d suggest putting a vinyl tablecloth on the floor under the box. It will catch the rice that “escapes” and you can pick up the tablecloth afterwards and dump the rice back into the rubbermaid – you won’t even have to vacuum!

  17. Susan says:

    Hey, look at me! Home ALL DAY with my kids! Is it still Tuesday? Goodness how it that POSSIBLE???

    Okay, so what do I do? Ummmm . . . well, we clean up after every activity, which adds another ten or fifteen minutes to the activity (and leaves the house a little less chaotic later). And my sons aren’t so great with the actual cleaning, but they rock at sorting laundry. So we do that.

    But right now, after eating lunch and building rocket ships and reading for 45 minutes and then hitting each other with the rocket ships and having a group time-out and doing some phonics exercises and building a castle, we’re watching Bob the Builder. And it’s only 2:30.

    Is it still Tuesday? Someone save me . . .

  18. i got tired of reading, so i’m probably going to repeat someones idea, but i was going to say
    aquatic center
    pledge the floor and let them slide awhile
    get a big box and let them slide down the basement stairs
    by the way, at the kid/mommy movie after doing that i DID need a shrink and will never go near that fiasco again.

    lets see. hide and seek. find a lost closet, take a flashlght, especially if their not good counters, you could have a long time to read in there.

    drop them off at grandma’s
    drop them off at your friends.
    tell them you’re going to disneyland, drive to a burned up warehouse, and say “sorry kids, disneyland burned down”.

    hire a clown, aka/ your husband

    take me to the river,,,,,drop me in the water……..

    rent 12 pokemon movies

    marathon video games

    snickers bar eating contest

    sell something door to door but don’t actually have it with you, just collect the money.

    collect for a paper route you don’t have.

    alright, some of these are a little unethical, but everyone else hogged up the ethical ones.

    by the way, i remembered an important acronym. actually i just thought of it when i thought of my husbands Ex. PWT

  19. Sugarmama says:

    Sounds like time to bust out the plastic Easter eggs we have stashed in our closet. A giant basket of these will occupy my daughter and a friend for a good hour at least, either indoors or out.

    I like the tent idea, too. My daughter has one of those pop-up kind that she likes to put up in her room sometimes, but it can just as easily go outside with a picnic to eat inside.

  20. lauxa says:

    Okay, my daughter is 2 and I am home with her all day, so here’s what we do:

    1. Let her help me with chores, such as loading laundry or rinsing dishes. Right now she especially likes to spray things and to sweep and mop (she has her own little broom and mop). We have cleanup time in the morning, and if she doesn’t want to help that’s fine, but then she’s on her own.

    2. Go to a gym with childcare. And a pool. Good for 3-4 hours a day plus a nap since she wears herself out swimming.

    3. On non-gym days, go to the park or library storytime or Barnes & Nobles (they have a trainset).

    4. Constantly look out the window and see if the kids across the street are playing outside.

    5. Let her splash around in the bathtub. We recently got an old hot tub working and that is even better. Good for 30 minutes to an hour or more.

    6. Do puzzles with our toes. She thinks this is a riot.

    7. Painting (must be closely supervied). We did “pudding painting” once and this was really fun (google it).

    8. The cup game. Get 3 identical cups and hide an object under one, then scramble the cups and let her guess where the object is.

    9. Play musical instruments. The xylophone holds her attention pretty well, also the harmonica and kazoo, sometimes the piano. But she HATES it when I try to practice without including her.

    10. Computer games. Good ones for younger kids at kiddiesgames.com (learn some Spanish and French), mothergoose.com (try Baby Keys and Monkey Music), starfall.com (learn phonics and reading) and nickjr.com (all her favorite characters).

    Great topic!

  21. bon says:

    we make houses for dolls and ponies out of boxes and fabric scraps.

    make up stories.

    invite a friend who has a mommy that I like and yap and play.

    cake decoration… oooo we love to do that! Nothing fancy, just smash colored sugars or candies into frosting.

    make cards, magic wands, glue stuff paint stuff all under the heading of “art project”

    make them into a pizza, bread or a burrito… like in that book “Pete’s a Pizza.” pretend to sprinkle cheese on them and toppings, bake ’em or roll ’em up.

    play “cards.” we have been playing with skip-bo cards with the girls forever… you don’t have to have actual rules… just kinda make them up.

  22. Heather says:

    BTW… You have been nominated for a blog award at One Woman’s World! 🙂

  23. Jessica says:

    I was going to suggest locking them in a cage until they’re old enough to go to college, but I can see there are much better ideas than that here.

  24. Georgia says:


    1. Keep a supply of those bottles of bubbles. Sit on the porch and blow them for the kids and let them blow too.

    2. Let children help you form funny shapes with (thawed out) frozen bread dough. Shape letters, etc. Bake. Butter or sprinkle with sugar. Sit on the kitchen floor and eat together.

    3. Put one or two card tables up in the livingroom. Cover with a huge blanket or sheets. Use for a fort, cave, hideout, etc. Have a tea party inside with the kids, or have a picnic lunch in there. Great fun.

    4. Go buy roll-ends of paper at your local newspaper. Cheap. Spread the roll out on the kitchen floor. Lay each child down and trace around their body. Now spend time drawing on eyes, hair, etc. Then spend even more time cutting it out and hanging it up on the wall for everyone to enjoy.

    5. Fold construction paper in half and make greeting cards out of it. Have a supply of pretty stickers, ink stamps, etc. handy to use for decorations.

    6. Collect a pile of old magazines. Spend time cutting out pictures. Help kids make a journal or storybook using the pictures to illustrate it.

    7. Buy a roll of cookie dough (sugar cookie dough works well) and let kids cut out all sorts of shapes — use a thimble, a small lid, small cookie cutters if you have a set, etc. Bake, eat and enjoy with them.

    8. Use a cardboard box for a stage and make up a play using kids stuffed animals. Great fun!

    9. Play “school” with stuffed animals — or restaurant. Use play dishes and cash register if you have one.

    10. Break out the Play-Doh and sit right down and create with the children. Hours and hours of fun.

    These are just a few of the Tuesday Activities I did with my children. Have fun! That’s the whole point.

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