Keeping Kids Busy: My Bag of Tricks

My son wants to play 20 questions during the church service.

I need to keep him busy.

My daughter thinks it’s funny to run onto the soccer field repeatedly during her brother’s game.

I need to keep her busy.

We have a good 15 minutes before the food arrives to our table.

I need to keep them busy.


I find myself in these moments often. Time to put on my best shade of Mary Poppins’ red lipstick and pull some goodies out of my magical bag. Call it Dora’s backpack or Mickey’s Mousekatools, it may just be your saving grace.  

Here’s what’s in my bag:

1. Wiki Stix

These bendy, semi-sticky, reusable sticks are a favorite for my toddler and school-ager. They can use the dot-to-dot cards to create shapes or just create their own unique object. The sticks can be found for less than $3 a pack.

keeping kids busy

2. Doodle Board

A travel-sized doodle board is quiet and entertaining. The little ones can doodle and the big kids can practice spelling, math problems, and more. At less than $10, you will get your money’s worth.

keeping kids busy

3. Pin Art

Do you remember playing with one of these as a kid? They are addicting! I found colorful ones for my kids at Walmart for around $5 each.

keeping kids busy

4. Dover Little Activity Books

These mini books are available on Amazon and range from just over $1 to $1.99. There are sticker books as well.

keeping kids busy

5. Flashcards

It amazes me how entertained my two-year-old can be with a pack of flashcards from the dollar section. My school-age son can use flashcards with math problems, spelling words, or the classic Brain Quest cards.

6. Dollar Section Stickers and Activity Books

Target, Walmart, and the dollar store all have activity packs or stickers for only $1. Stock up on these lifesavers. There are even times when my husband and I let our kids cover us in stickers so we can put our feet up on the coach. A good time for all!

keeping kids busy

So the next time you are about to reach for the iPad or smartphone in order to entertain your little one, consider these screen-free, affordable options! They can keep your kids busy during the moments when a boisterous bunch just won’t do.  

What do you have in your bag of tricks?


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