By this point in your social distancing journey, you and your kids are likely going just a bit stir-crazy and you need five minutes to yourself that doesn't involve entertaining a bored child. These 21
photos of kids entertaining themselves prove that it is totally possible for your kids to do their own thing while you take a break. (No guarantee on how long that break will actually be.)
Parents have a lot on their plates right now. Between adjusting to working from home, making sure at-home school lessons are completed, and in general keeping the peace inside your household during a pandemic, entertaining your kids is likely last on your to-do list at the moment. Luckily, kids can get pretty creative on their own if you let them. It is amazing what kids can do with a spool of thread, a cardboard box full of dry beans (that you will definitely still cook later if necessary), and some old shoelaces while their iPads charge.
When my son was barely a year old, he entertained himself during my great uncle's funeral service by emptying an entire box of tissues and then trying to stuff them all back in again. It was glorious. Kids have more built-in creativity and can entertain themselves better than the adults in their lives sometimes give them credit for, and these 21 photos of kids entertaining themselves show just that. And when all else fails, a little extra screen time isn't the worst thing in the world.
1 Kenneth, 3 & Henry, 2 Photo courtesy of Amanda Wakefield
These brothers decided to entertain themselves by playing in a mud puddle. Need to keep your kids busy? Find some dirt and add water. They can stir it with sticks and smear it everywhere. Plus, they can play for a while in the bathtub afterward.
2 Jameson, 15 months Photo courtesy of Mary Bain
If your kid will hang out in one spot for more than 10 minutes at a time during their day-after-day stint of limited contact with the outside world, consider it a blessing. Even if that blessing comes by way of an iPad in their crib. A mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do.
3 Chloe, 4 Photo courtesy of Karen Saunders
If your kid decides to make a box their very own refuge during this turbulent time, by all means let them. Chloe enjoys hanging out in her new play area (aka
a box) with her tablet to keep her company. 4 Claire, 15 months Photo courtesy of Kelsey Kelly
For parents of littles, it can be hard to find activities that will keep their kids entertained all on their own. A high chair and some paint is all Claire needed to keep herself busy for a bit so that her mom could have just a few moments to herself. Her mom reports that most "painting" was actually flinging and tasting paint, but hey, whatever works right?
5 Max, 6 Photo courtesy of April McCormick
While not every kid will sit by themselves and work on their school activities, Max is content to work on his worksheet pages filled with colorful shapes to keep himself entertained. Max gets an A+ for occupying his time in a productive way and staying out of his mom's hair while school is out.
6 Austin, 5 Photo courtesy of Ashley Jones
My kids have boxes full of LEGO bricks. Austin decided to build himself a robot and some animals out of Duplo bricks, and it kept him busy for approximately half an hour. Plus, he saved these builds and can add more to them later with the rest of his stash to entertain himself even longer. Life. Saver.
7 Hadley, 5 Photo courtesy of Nickie Gunnels
Although she didn't snap a photo of her daughter enjoying it, Hadley's mom says she was absolutely enthralled with the new activity set she received to help get her through the long days of social distancing. New art supplies are such a life-saver these days and can definitely help kids entertain themselves inside for hours on end.
8 Will, 7 Photo courtesy of Ashley Jones
Will is a bookworm even when not practicing social distancing and home-schooling, so reading while stuck at home comes pretty naturally to him. His teacher likely won't be thrilled by his choice of graphic novel (she doesn't allow them at school, but like
why?), but Will is ecstatic to have so much free time at home now to read all of his favorites. 9 Jack, 14 Photo courtesy of April McCormick
Teenagers can entertain themselves for literal
hours by sleeping. Jack is definitely practicing social distancing from everyone by staying in bed napping throughout the day — although his cat refuses to do the same. At least this teen is sleeping and not raiding the fridge while store shelves are so bare. 10 Ellee, 2 Photo courtesy of Erika Turpin
When your kid resorts to cleaning the floors as a form of entertainment, you
know they're truly bored. Except for toddlers. Toddlers will gladly help clean the house. For some unknown reason, they think it's fun — and 2-year-old Ellee is proof of that. 11 Logan, 10 months Photo courtesy of Courtney Skiles
Self-entertainment is hardest for babies who are mobile and into absolutely everything. Logan's mom set him up with some homemade sensory activities that she says kept him well-occupied all by himself. Sensory play for the win!
12 Judah, 11 Photo courtesy April Peveteaux
Mom April says that Judah is "learning about his parent's music whether he likes it or not," but it looks like he actually
does like it. Judah will likely come out of quarantine with an updated appreciation for great tunes if he keeps listening to all the greats. (And yes, Weezer is "the greats." Don't @ me.) 13 Harley, 11 Photo courtesy of Alicia Jordan
Harley is all smiles because she made an armful of bracelets to mail to her friends. Since they can't be together, she crafted friendship bracelets for her besties to wear while they're apart. She was even so thoughtful as to make them from plastic bands that can be sanitized with Lysol spray when her friends receive them. Stay away, germs!
14 Kate, 12 Photo courtesy of Amy Jalutkewicz Grau
If you haven't already broken out the Wii to teach your kids how to play all of those WiiSports games you used to spend hours mastering, you're doing quarantine wrong. Just like Kate, your kids could totally entertain themselves for a while with a few rounds of Wii bowling.
15 Avalee, 9 Photo courtesy of Cat Bowen
I have such a black thumb it's not even funny, but 9-year-old Avalee looks like she will come out of this pandemic with some stellar horticulture skills by the way she tends to her houseplants to keep herself entertained.
16 Katie Beth, 3 & Henry, 1 Photo courtesy of Megan Allen
No playground? No problem. Even if the weather is crummy, setting up a tunnel system inside around your dining room table like mom Megan did is just genius. Your kids can crawl around in there for literal hours.
17 Grayson, 2 Photo courtesy of Christy Eastham
You know all of those little figurines and Happy Meal toys that you have tucked away in a bin? Let your kid dump them out like Grayson's mom did and they can easily entertain themselves sorting through it all, discovering their long-lost favorite pals in the process.
18 Lizzie, 5 Photo courtesy of Gabrielle Huizar
Sand art has become somewhat of a lost art recently, but Lizzie took full advantage of the opportunity to entertain herself by creating a sand art unicorn. Lizzie's mom said she also learned how to put her fitted sheet on her bed and make a turkey and cheese sandwich by herself. Three cheers for independence!
19 Theodore, 3 Photo courtesy of Vanessa Cartier-Craddock
Watching movies sitting up is
so pre-pandemic. Theodore has found a new, innovative way to watch his favorite flicks, and honestly I love it. 20 Annabelle, 6 Photo courtesy of Vanessa Cartier-Craddock
Annabelle and her brother built a giant fort in her room and then insisted that the entire family have one big sleepover in it. Fort sleepovers are family togetherness at its finest.
21 Kate, 12 Photo courtesy of Amy Jalutkewicz Grau
When all else fails, hand your phone over to your kid and let them play with Snapchat filters until their little heart just can't take seeing their face covered in glittery rainbows anymore.