This post is sponsored by Energizer
You know that day in the school holidays when the novelty of being at home has worn off and the kids are starting to say “I’m Bored”? I dread that day. Sometimes it is only a day or two into the break! How can they be bored so soon?! I really don’t want to let them watch hours of TV or sit glued to an iPad or iPod for too long.
So what to do? Well, here’s some of the things that I’ll be trying this holidays – some tried and true standbys at our place. Its time to dig out some of those toys that have been stashed away for a little while – and refresh the batteries with Energizer Max with Powerseal Technology!
5 Ideas for Beating the “I’m Bored” Kids
1. Set up a Mega Play Zone
Do you have toys that could be played with together? I realised a few years back that we could create Mega World with a collection of our toys. Mega World is the world where Thomas the Tank chugs along his tracks past the Little People house – don’t you love the cute sounds this one makes? There is a farm, complete with tractors and a Megablocks farmhouse that makes animal sounds, and a safari park with dinosaurs next to the lion enclosure. There is a second train service on the other side of town where the Barbie dolls live in their 3 story dream house, where all visitors ring the doorbell twice. Sometimes the Littlest Pet Shop crew lives next door and the Hotwheels tracks have been known to circle the entire perimeter!
Playing with lots of sets of toys together is a great way to get kids thinking outside the box. My kids often play with just the trains or just the animals, but when we pull out all of these together it suddenly becomes a new game.
I used to worry about pulling out some of these toys after long stints stashed in the cupboard because we’d often find the batteries corroded. I really had to discourage the kids from opening the backs to check them without me. But when I got smart, I switched to Energizer Max batteries which hold power for up to 10 years whilst protecting from leakage. As far I’m concerned they are worth the little extra just for the comfort of protecting toys from leakage.
The other toy this Mega World idea works really well with is Lego. As my kids have gotten older they have collected more and more Lego so they can set up quite a big city and create elaborate story lines around the characters. I love to see them working together on these!
2. Make a Display
My Little Miss is 10 years old now and I’ve noticed she likes to set up displays of her toys sometimes. Sometimes this involves setting up a scene with her Lego and taking pictures with her iPod. Other times she might pull out all of the Zhuzhu pets and FurReal pets and line them up on a shelf. This can be the noisiest display with all those cute animals squeaking unexpectedly! Displays can be temporary or stick around for a few days and grow as time goes on. A display might happen on a spare shelf or somewhere unusual like the tiny ledges of our feature brick wall. It could even be a line of all the cars and trucks in the house – that would be REALLY long at our place!
3. Pull out some Board Games
Find a spot where you can set up a game for couple of days without stopping traffic and stretch the game out. Monopoly is a great game for this because it takes such a long time to play anyway. I love Monopoly but I also get tired of it after a while so we often play it over a couple of days. That way when everyone starts to feel a little tired – you can easily tell when they start to squabble over who will use the “money machine”! – we put the dice in front of the player whose turn is next and we all come back later on. Often it can then be a great distraction later in the day when we’ve run out of steam on another activity – “Let’s all play another 20 minutes of our Monopoly game!”
By the way, investing in the electronic version of Monopoly was well worth the money. This version has credit cards for each player rather than paper money. Yes, it needs batteries to run the “credit card scanner” and there are often heated discussions over who will be the banker with the fancy machine, but the kids love the feeling of using cards “just like Mummy”. I figure this way we won’t end up with torn paper money like we had when I was a kid either!
4. Set up a Shop
Guaranteed to take over the living room is playing shop. We’ve had shops selling all manner of things from clothes to books but the favourite is a setting up a toy shop. Every available table and chair gets used for display and then they search out the play money and the cash register. I love how this lets them practice so many skills – money, counting, polite language, team work to set up, persuasiveness and negotiation. This one is also great to play when friends come over, but a little word of warning: it can be a killer to pack up at the end. Make sure you encourage your little shopkeepers to practice some stock control so they have less to tidy!
5. Get Crafty
My personal favourite is always to get crafty with the kids! The latest craze at our place is the Rainbow Loom – and we’ve discovered that those little bands are also perfect for Barbie pony tail ties. I try to keep a stock of craft supplies specifically for the kids to use that they can pull out when the mood strikes them, and we have a dedicated desk that they use for crafting. Little Miss recently got a sewing machine too so I’m going to encourage some sewing this holidays as well. (Tips for teaching kids to sew here.) More favourite craft activities include melting Pyssla beads into pictures, making beaded necklaces, colouring in elaborate designs, and making things like clothes peg planes.
Favourite Toys Over Time
As I’ve been planning this post, I’ve been thinking about the toys that my kids pull out time and again, and have done over the years. I’ve come to the conclusion that it is worth spending the money on quality toys that last and feed their imagination over time. You probably noticed that I mentioned some quality brand toys in my ideas. That’s because I do try to invest in toys that will last. Those well-known brands are well-known because they are quality.
We also like toys that “build” on themselves. When they were young, we collected Little People and Megablocks toys. These sets could all work together and create a bigger play experience. Similarly the Thomas the Tank train sets built together to create a larger track, and Lego is the ultimate building toy at our place!
The other thing that I think about with quality toys is quality batteries. I’ve been caught too many times when a toy has been packed away in the cupboard for even a couple of months and then doesn’t work. The culprit? Cheap batteries that have burst and ruined the toy. These days I try to remember to take out any cheap batteries and replace them with Energizer Max batteries instead. Did you know these hold power for up to 10 years? They very cleverly lock in the power so that it is not draining the battery when the toy isn’t being used. Now I don’t have to worry that the kids will open up the back of a toy and end up with nasty chemicals all over their hands as Energizer Max protects toys (and other devices, of course) from leakage.
Top Favourites (to add to your shopping list)
- Mega blocks – great for toddlers to learn to build – also comes with battery-operated extras like houses and vehicles
- Lego – you could start with the larger Duplo but we waited and went straight to Lego with our kids
- Little People – dolls that can be cleaned for little ones plus all kinds of cute extras like houses and cars
- Trains – we have Thomas the Tank tracks and motorised engines, plus some cool wooden ones as well
- Littlest Pet Shop – little pieces in these so better for primary school age kids
- Hotwheels and Matchbox cars – classic boy toys that you can never have too many of
- Board Games – our latest is Sequence but see more of our favourites here: 5 Board Games We Love
- FurReal and ZhuZhu pets – animals to cuddle that also make noises and move
- Furby – latest favourite pet that talks and interacts with an iPod
- Plus Energizer Max batteries while you’re there!