Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Cheap, Easy Thrills for the Under-Five Crowd:

I have been wanting to steal some time away in the craft room for weeks now.  But, truth be told, I really need to concentrate when I sew because I have a tendency to make a lot of mistakes if I am even slightly distracted by the general chaos of young children playing nearby.  So, I've been forced to wait until after the littles are in bed before I can attack any sewing projects.  But, then I'm entering my sleepy time too, and often don't have the energy or focus to sew.

The past few days, I've been able to make great strides in sewing curtains for my daughter's new bedroom.  AND, I've been able to accomplish it during the day.  While the children are wide awake. No one was more amazed than I.  How did I do it?  I came up with a few activities (no-mess, no-fuss activities -- as this is a crucial component to making this work) for them to occupy themselves while I sew.

Here are a few examples (just in case any moms out there are looking for easy entertainment for their little babes that doesn't involve plopping them in front of the TV):

By the way, the photo at the top of this post is my son "painting" the wood stove with water.  You could just as easily give your kids a cardboard box or (if the weather is nice and your little me-time project is something you can do outside while they play, like reading, embroidery, knitting, etc.) have them "paint" the outside of the house/garage/driveway/sidewalk with a bucket of water and some brushes and big sponges.

A popular one around our house: popping bubble-wrap by jumping/dancing:

My daughter loves moving my sewing pins from one pin cushion to the other.  Again.  And again. This activity alone usually buys me about 20 uninterrupted minutes (And, no, that band-aid isn't from her sticking herself with a pin.  :)  This is a pretty safe activity for those over age 2):

Playing with buttons is a great tactile experience.  It's even better if you provide tiny containers for them to put the buttons into, close them up, take them out:

My scrapbooking supplies have been sitting idle for ages.  Might as well find some use for them (these are chipboard pieces, so they stand up to a lot of handling and abuse):

Just finding a way for them to play with their regular toys in a new way is a successful tactic.  Here I tied some yarn to a wooden firetruck and a leash to a car.  Now, what used to be strictly push-toys that required them to kneel and scooch their vehicles along, are now pull-toys that can be quickly pulled to follow them around the house.  Believe it or not, this little idea kept them busy for over an hour.  So, either I have children who are easily entertained, or this was a brilliant idea on my part. ;)

And, finally, our last entry for today's "Easy, Cheap Thrills for the Under-Five Crowd":
Sticky notes on a window.  This photo shows them plain. To make this activity last longer, I usually encourage my kids to decorate each individual sticky (with pencil-- no markers or crayons when I'm not right there supervising.  This rule applies only to my son, my daughter is responsible enough to use paints/markers without being directly supervised) before sticking them up on the window:

So, by incorporating a few fun and easy ideas into our day, I was able to finish sewing my daughter's curtains and paint the hallway (and I even had time to take these photos and upload them!).  Good stuff.  I love sneaking a little more productivity into my days.

This post was completed in 29 minutes (even with all of these photos!) as part of Steady Mom's 30 minute Blog Challenge.

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