5 Easy Kid Activities for the Busy Mom

Easy kids activities for the busy mom

Planning out activities to do with your kids can seem so overwhelming and time consuming. But when the pressure is off to make fancy and elaborate activities, it becomes much more simple. I would search Pinterest for hours trying to find ways to keep my kids engaged and learning, but would easily become discouraged with the fancy lesson plans and activities that needed materials I didn’t have on hand. And if it was something I had to print out?? Hard pass! Finding the perfect book to pair with the perfect activity and theme for the week? Way too much planning for me!

When I let go of trying to recreate the perfect activity, lesson plan, etc. and focus more on quick and easy activities, I find it more fun for all of us. The fancy lesson plans are great! Just not something I feel is easily in my wheelhouse. I make sure I have basic activity materials, and I use them for A LOT of activities while keeping it easy, simple and fun!

Basic Activity Materials

  • Sensory bin
  • Post it notes
  • Markers
  • Painters Tape
  • Popsicle Sticks

I have a kindergartner and a preschooler so it’s important to me that our activities can be easily made age appropriate for each of them. I also love play based learning activities so most of them are a sneaky and fun way to practice counting, colors, letters, sight words, reading, and more. For each activity I’ll share the more basic version and also variations of how to make it more age appropriate for the older kids. Here are 5 super easy activities you can set up quickly with very little planning.

1. Counting with Dominoes

Write out numbers 1-10 on post it notes and place them in a line. Make a pile of dominoes that are no higher than 10. Have your child count the dots on the domino and then place them on the correct post it note. This will help them practice counting and also number recognition. To make this activity more advanced you can go higher than 10. Also you can use the math cubes to make an addition component to this activity. Have them use the math cubes to build towers based on the dots on each side of the domino. Then have them add those two numbers together.

2. Matching Games

We play so many variations of matching games in our house, each one focusing on something different. The first one we started playing was color matching. With the kids toy stacking cups, I make a pile of random objects, toys, etc. and have my kids sort them into the matching colored cups.

Another variation focuses on what letters an object starts with. I would only do 3-4 letters at a time and work our way through the alphabet slowly. I write each letter on a post it note and then make one pile of objects that started with those letters. Then they sort through each object, figuring out what letter it starts with and placing it on the correct post it note. ( ex. A- apple, C- car) Most of the objects I use are kids toys- puzzle pieces, toy cars, play kitchen toys. I just quickly walk around the room and find a few things that start with each letter – I use this same quick method for all the matching games.

When your child is starting to read and sound words out you can play a matching game with words. Again I go around the room and find a handful of objects that I think he can pronounce and put them in a pile. Then I write each of those words their own separate post it. After that I let my child match each object to the correct word.

3. Marble Run – Recycled Edition

You may have the nice marble runs at home with the connecting tubes, but we also like to make our own marble runs out of toilet paper and paper towel tubes. Does anyone else hoard these tubes and then try to figure out what to do with them?? Just me? I slowly collect them, and when we have enough- Game on! We use the tubes to make our own marble run going down the wall, steps, and around corners using painters tape. They love making it different every time. This is a great STEM activity and the perfect way to reuse those tubes!

4. Sensory Bins

We love sensory bins in our house! They are the perfect activity to occupy my kids when I need to get a few things done. And it is so easy to slightly change it up and make it feel new and fresh every time. Any clear and shallow bin can become a sensory bin- the one we use is a rectangular shallow storage bin. My go to sensory items are almost always rainbow rice or dried beans. I then add spoons, scoopers, cups or other random things to make it fun. A favorite sensory bin activity in our house is the puzzle piece sensory bin.

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5. Name Learning & Letter Recognition

The first part of a child learning their name is recognition. By seeing their name multiple times every day, they will start to be able to identify and recognize it is indeed their name! This first variation focuses more on looking at their name and the letters in it, not necessarily the order and spelling. Write each letter of their name on a separate pieces of paper- 1 letter for 1 piece of paper. Tape them to the wall. Using a pack of blank stickers, or even post it notes, write each letter several times. Make several stickers or post its with the same letter. Ex. Jack- make 10 stickers (or however many you’d like) of each letter J-A-C-K resulting in 40 stickers total. Have your child put the letter stickers on the matching letter paper.

A more advanced variation of this is writing out their name several times on a poster board, each time with different missing letters. Write those missing letters on post it notes. Have them correctly place the post it notes on the missing letters on the poster board. To make this activity even more fun, hide the post it notes around the room for them to find! This variation could also easily be done with the alphabet and a number line.

It doesn’t have to be perfect

Don’t be hard on yourself or feel like you’re not doing enough. These activities help bridge the gaps between boring parts of our days. If my kids are begging for something to do, these simple activities are easy to just whip out at any time. Remember, it doesn’t have to be fancy!

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Are you a busy mom and suddenly have your kids at home but don't know how to keep them entertained? Here are five fun kids activities for busy moms:
Are you a busy mom and suddenly have your kids at home but don't know how to keep them entertained? Here are five fun kids activities for busy moms:
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  1. Love the simple ideas. It is so true, it doesn’t need to be fancy.

  2. Carly says:

    Great ideas! I think every mum is a busy mum and appreciates easy to set up activities.

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