My Pinterest page is littered with images of smiling children thoroughly engaged in amazingly creative activities. I have always admired the exceedingly clever super-mom who conjure up these ideas.
When I first agreed to write this post I was hoping that if I had to write about which of these fun, educational, and enriching activities worked for my family, it would mean I would actually try out some of fabulous ideas I'm always pinning (and finally enjoy a bit of the creative supermom bliss for myself!)
Well… that was the plan anyway! Of course, the reality wasn't always quite as pretty as Pinterest may lead us to believe. So, in the hopes of giving you a more accurate illustration of what may be going on behind the Pinterest links, I now present, my full report.
What they advertised: A fast, simple craft and an interesting alternative to standard bubble play.
What really happened: This idea really was super easy to do! It only took a minute to assemble and all it required was an empty water bottle, an old toddler sock, and dishsoap. It also worked just as well as promised and in no time at all we had created some pretty impressive bubble snakes. The downside came when after about 3 minutes, my 5-year-old was totally over the excitement of the bubble snake and my 2-year-old, clearly misunderstood “blow bubbles ” for “drink from this just like you would any other plastic bottle” and ended up with a mouthful of dishsoap—after that he wanted no part of bubble snakes!
So, will I ever do this again? Doubt it. This could be a good craft if your children are 3-4 (so they are old enough to figure it out, but young enough to still be entertained)
Ice Sidewalk Chalk:
What they advertised: An artistic and sensory experience perfect for a hot summer day!
What really happened: I mostly discovered that I hate food coloring. I learned that Ikea has cute, super-cheap ice-cube molds and that making ice-chalk is actually pretty easy (cornstarch, water, and food coloring). I learned that cornstarch is one of the more annoying ingredients to clean off kitchen counters. I learned that children love to “stir in” food-coloring, which inevitably means that food coloring will soon be all over them, their clothes, and (if you are as lucky as me) the bottom of their crocs and everywhere the aforementioned crocs ended up walking. This was an insanely messy undertaking that left my kids annoyed that they had to leave the chalk in the freezer! When the time finally came to draw with the chalk, they did so for a few minutes, then just left them to melt all over the back patio.
So, will I ever do this again?: No. (But, to be fair my kiddos aren't super into sidewalk chalk in the first place.) Sure the ice chalk is a bit more fun than regular sidewalk chalk but it's way more work too! If I did do it again, I would definitely make the chalk without the kids and not involve them until the frozen chalk was ready to go!
What really happened: This project only solidified my hatred for food coloring. This was really frustrating as an activity. Try as we might, our boats never really sailed and I am now almost out of aluminum foil.
So, will I ever do this again?: No, I loved the idea of building “pseudo race-tracks/ riverways” for the ice cubes, but my children are total builders who want to construct everything themselves and the aluminum foil was pretty challenging to mold. If I were to ever do this again, it would be for a party or large play-date and I would take the time to figure out a better riverway than just folded aluminum foil.
What they advertised: A no-mess, active diy game for kids.
What really happened: While I assumed this no-paint (or food coloring!) project would at least keep the house clean, it turned out that I was once again, wrong. While it sure kept me busy setting up my “spiderweb” for about 10 minutes, my 2-year-old used the time to help himself to the pantry and pour a bag of pretzels all over the floor.
When I introduced the game, my 5-year-old was totally not interested (since I didn't have real bugs to stick to it) and my 2-year-old just thew a tantrum because he had assumed we were going to be watching an episode of spiderman.
Will I ever do this again?: No! Borring… although, we'll see how long it actually stays up as my oldest is viewing this less as a game and more as a new decor style. He is requesting we keep the doorway like this until Halloween.
Borax Bouncy Ball:
What they advertised: A homemade bouncy ball.
What really happened: Okay, uhmm..honestly, I didn't even try it!
This was the last idea on my list and by them- I was burned out! I had just run out of cornstarch from making the DARN chalk cubes! (Don't get me going on cleaning up cornstarch again!!)
For a brief moment, I entertained the idea of throwing 3 children in the car to go buy some but after reading the label on the Borax and rationalizing that we had already washed out my younger son's mouth once that day- I decided to skip it. At this point, my boys wanted no more of mommy's “activities” and frankly, neither did I!
Will I ever do this again?: No. Check out these bouncy balls in the picture to the right — at Old Navy, cost 1 quarter. Much more up my alley!
So unfortunately, I must report that my real life experiments didn't quite live up to the Pinterest dream! However, to avoid leaving on such a negative note, I will now lay out the real-life, super un-exciting, old-fashioned boredom busters our family employed for the rest of the week. While none of these were creative, imaginative, or colorful enough to warrant a “pin”, the truth is, they all worked!
1. Plain old coloring books and crayons
2. Building with train-tracks and legos
3. Play dates! (need more mom friends? See our post about joining MOPS)
4. Being forced to set the table
5. Play outside (I know it's hot. Drink some water and run through a sprinkler…you'll live!)
6. Bake cookies with mom (not super cute cookies, and no hidden veggie purees in the batter)
7. Put on old halloween costumes
8. Read a book with Mom (if you need some ideas for new books, see Joy's post from earlier this month)
9. Store bought (gasp!) play-doh
And… when worse comes to worse…
10. Trip with Mom to Costco (samples and pizza for dinner!)
Banish the boredom!!!