Saturday, June 29, 2013

Keeping Kids Distracted While Running Errands

Keeping kids entertained while in long lines, grocery shopping or at appointments is part of the job as a Mom. Sometimes it's easier than others, always depending on the mood of both ourselves and our kids. Here are my top 5 favorite ways to keep my kids from annoying me, each other or other people while out running errands.
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1. I-spy
This one is my classic go to game. I always take turns starting from youngest to oldest to make sure everyone gets a turn picking something. You pick an item in your head and say, "I spy with my little eye some thing that is _____." Name a color like purple. Then everyone guesses which purple thing you spied till the name the item you were thinking of.
As a variation sometimes I'll say who can count 10 stars, or find 5 things that are square or so on.
2. Who can _______.
Who can stand on 1 foot for 15 seconds?
Who can pat their head and rub their tummy?
Who can touch the cart with only their pinkie?
Who can touch the _____ with only 2 thumbs? With their elbow? With their nose?
Who can tiptoe down this isle?
Who can walk backwards till we get to the milk?
Etc, etc, etc
3. Progressive Story
When waiting in lines progressive stories are perfect. Usually I start the story and we each take a turn telling a part of it. The best way to not cause too many problems is I tell the story and just ask the kids certain questions like names, towns, they ran into _____, went to ______, used his _____ weapon to defeat the evil________. You get the idea.
4. Grocery Games.
I try things like, "Who can find the grapes first," or I give each kid something to look for. 1 kid looks for canned peas, the other looks for cans of corn. For short trips sometimes we make a chant of the  items on the small list. I'll let kids help hold the list and mark things off. Sometimes I take a picture on my phone of the list just in case something happens to it.

5. Alphabet Game.
Basically we play one of two ways. We look for each actual letter in the alphabet from A to Z on signs, license plates, etc. Or we look for anything that stars with the letter, like apples for A, bananas for B, and so on. Sometimes we do it together other times we see who can get to z first.

Bonus- When I'm trying to stick to a budget I use a calculator so I can see exactly how much I am spending. Sometimes I let my 7 year old be in charge of calculating how much I have accumulated. He feels like a big helper and I stay on budget.

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