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5 Ways To Keep The Kids Busy Without Using An iPad

Do you remember when we lived in a world before iPads and other devices reigned supreme? While it’s difficult to keep kids happily engaged without involving electronics nowadays, it can be done with a bit of simple planning.


1. Art, art, art

Don’t underestimate the power of art. Whether it’s just doodling with crayons in a colouring book, creating your own artistic t-shirts with DIY cloth felt pens, or creating exploding plastic paint bags to turn your sidewalks into colourful masterpieces, art provides easy, yet enriching, entertainment for excitable children.

Need ideas? Try the ‘coloured bombs’ activity. Here’s what you'll need:

• Zip-lock sandwich bags
• corn starch
• food colouring or liquid watercolours
• vinegar
• baking soda
• paper towels or napkins

Mix the corn starch, vinegar and food colouring. Fill your bags at least one third of the way with the mixture. Take a square piece of paper towel and put some baking soda in the middle. Form the ’bomb’, place it in the Ziploc bag and seal it. Shake the bag really hard. The bag will slowly expand and a few minutes later — boom! Your sidewalks will be covered with paint and happy kids.

Or for something even easier, try sidewalk chalk. The larger the pieces, the better. No one can resist chalk, not even adults. And thanks to the monsoon season, the ‘evidence’ will wash away real soon too.

2. Create a DIY, space-saving sandbox

Children and wee toddlers alike love playing with sand. If going for a day out to the beach to play with real sand is not an option, then create your own little sand table by filling a large rectangular plastic tub (easily obtainable from neighbourhood DIY or grocery stores) with sand, uncooked beans, or uncooked rice. Sure, it might look simple, but children can unknowingly spend several hours writing letters and drawing pictures in the sand. Furnish them with small shovels, spoons, pint-sized plastic buckets, or sticks to enhance the fun.

What’s even better than sand, you ask? Kinetic sand of course. Made out of 98% regular sand, kinetic sand mimics the physical properties of wet sand, so it can be moulded and shaped into any desired form, without sticking to anything or anyone – unlike normal sand. Kinetic sand molecules stick only to themselves and don’t dry out either. Just pack it up till the next time you want to play with sand again. It’s really that simple – and best of all, it’s easy to order from online retailers.


3. Get out and about with nature

When was the last time you had a picnic in one of Singapore’s amazing parks or went to visit the Singapore Zoo? Bring along a cold drink or have an ice cream as you leisurely make your way from one cage to another. Get the kids to identify all the different animals they see. And take note of the feeding times so that the kids have something to watch — other than their screens — while resting their feet.


4. Create your own treasure hunt

Kids love clues and being let loose on a scavenger hunt. Come up with a list of smart clues, hide a few things around the house and in the garden for the children to find. Team up with the neighbours and send all the kids on a wild goose chase around the neighbourhood even. To make the activity extra special, promise the kids a fun candy reward for their hard work perhaps?


5. Nurture your own little master chefs

You’ve seen MasterChef Junior – why not nurture the hidden talent in your own kids? Baking is a great way to spend quality time together, especially if it’s raining outside (and it doesn’t involve wielding any sharp knives either). Doing something simple like sugar cookies that involves minimal prep work but a lot of colourful decorations is always a lot of fun. And we promise the extra mess will be well worth all the giggles and laughter in the end.

Go on, hide those iPads away and spend some great quality time together with the kids – you might just rediscover your inner child.

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