We went to church yesterday, and as always I bring my 50 pound bag filled with paper, coloring books, crayons, markers, colored pencils, pencils, pencil sharpener, puzzles, books, cars, snacks, water bottles, and Kleenex, among other things. I bring these things to help ensure that the kids are quietly entertained while we listen in church for the hour and 10 minutes we need to sit there reverently (cough cough). And these things are usually helpful, but yesterday we happened to sit behind a great family with a couple of teenage kids, one of whom babysat my kids recently. So of course, my kids were more entertained my tickling their backs and playing pew-peek-a-boo than getting out the same old coloring books they have every week. These awesome teenage kids in front of us also shared some of their toys that were completely entertaining and I will be purchasing for our family ASAP. This gave me the idea to share my favorite 5 toys that are unique and helpful in keeping kids QUIETLY entertained without using electronics:
1. Boogie Boardd. My parents gave one of these to my kids for Valentine’s Day a few years ago and it is still a favorite in my church bag. We got the idea from another family at church who had one and my kids were completely enthralled just watching these other kids use it. You can draw on the screen and then push a button to wipe the screen clean. It has been used over and over for tic-tac-toe and hang-man, and hilarious pictures of grandma.
2. Cryptograms Books– My 9 year old daughter loves these. It is a little hard to start a blank cryptogram, so I usually look in the back at the cheat sheet and then fill in a few letters for her. After that, she can usually fill it out on her own. I actually love doing these as well! This one that my daughter uses has some great quotes. For example, “When you do the common things in life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world.” – George Washington Carver
3. WAFF Journal– This is one of the activities that the teenage boy let us play with at church on Sunday. It will definitely be an Easter gift for my kids this year. My kids love little notebooks and that alone is a fun gift, but the letters and numbers that snap on to this journal really make it unique. My kids just sat on the floor and spread out the little rubber tiles and came up with different words to write on the notebook. There is a little bag or container to keep the tiles together and clips to keep the journal shut. There are several different colors, sizes, and styles.
4. Magnetic Beads– These are so addicting! They can be shaped into about anything you can imagine and you can separate them to share among kids. The description mentioned stress relief for adults and I could seriously see this. I just couldn’t get enough! It was hard to give these back to the family in front of us at church.
5. Peg Game– This game will forever remind me of my Grandma and Grandpa Lyon. This game was always sitting on their counter and you couldn’t help but pick it up and try it a few times before moving along. It’s small enough that a Ziploc baggie would keep all the pieces together and fit inside a church bag.
I would love to hear what works for your family to keep kids entertained without electronics.
Quiet kids in a quiet place make me a nice and happy mom!
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