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8 Ways to entertain your kids without TV

Kat Bouska is a work at home wife and mother of three kids including a 9 year old son and two daughters ages 11 and 13. You can find her writing daily for Mama's Losin' It, an award winning blog where Kat shares a humorous take on everyt...

As parents, you’re probably all too familiar with those dreaded words, "I'm bored." For those of us in need of quiet time while also keeping children occupied, watching television can sometimes become a crutch.

This is why I brainstormed eight ways to keep your kids busy for hours that aren't TV!

1. Fill buckets with things

Photo credit: Lauren/Tutus & Tea Parties

Kids love to get their hands into things so why not indulge them for a day? Fill a bucket or sensory table with things like rice, bird seed, marbles or sand. Really, anything you can run your hands through. Toss in a few toy figurines and not only will your kids' imaginations run wild, but this kind of sensory play is actually therapeutic as well. It might not feel therapeutic when you're sweeping up the mess later on, but trust me. It's worth it.

2. Use real tools

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I still remember purchasing that little play building set for my son complete with oversized plastic tools. He loved it of course, but guess what he preferred? Real tools. Real screws and nails. And real wood. One day my husband brought in a box of tools and I realized right away I wasted money on the plastic building set. My kids practiced tightening and loosening screws and pounding nails into wood for a solid hour!

3. Train your pet

GIF credit: giphy.com

When our dog was in obedience training we learned a game that everyone in the house loves. Give your child a dog treat and as you hold your dog, tell the kids to hide it somewhere in the house. When they are ready for the dog to find them, the kids yell "treat!" and the dog takes off to find them. The kids love this game of hide and seek and it teaches your dog to come when he hears the word "treat," which is especially helpful if you have a dog that likes to escape and roam the neighborhood. The fact that it keeps the kids busy is an added bonus.

4. Hand them your camera

Photo credit: Kat Bouska/ mamakatslosinit

This one involves some trust, but when you hand over a camera and ask your kids to take photos and videos of whatever they want, you might really enjoy seeing life through their perspective. Sometimes you'll get back 30 shots of feet and carpet, but chances are you'll find a gem.

5. Conduct a science experiment

Photo credit: Vanessa Felie/Queenvanna

Kids are suckers for science experiments. Hand them a bag of water balloons, fill them with dyed water, freeze them and then send your kids outside to play with their brand new, colorful ice balls. Just make sure they're wearing gloves because nothing will send a kid running back inside faster than a pair of freezing hands.

6. Create an art journal

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Grab a notebook or any type of journal and declare it an Art Journal. Sharpen some pencils and Google search "drawing prompts" to find loads of easy drawing ideas to share with your kids. This is a great way to get them thinking outside the "house and chimney" box while encouraging them to stretch their creativity. Not to mention drawing is quiet!

7. Cover a table with paper

Photo credit: Jen Gifur/Fork, Paper, Scissors

Grab a roll of butcher paper (the underside of wrapping paper will work!) and cover a table with it. Add a bucket of crayons, markers and stickers to the mix and let your kids draw to their heart's content. They will love working on that big space and you might be impressed with some of the designs they come up with when they have all the room in the world to create. You can take this a step further by outlining a road, neighborhood and buildings for them to add to.

8. Race it, chug it, stack it

Photo credit: Kat Bouska/ mamakatslosinit

Tracks and blocks are a surefire way to occupy your kids endlessly. What I love most about toys like this are the endless building possibilities. Since my son is obsessed with tracks I keep some tucked away for days where he seems particularly bored. I sneak them out on snow days, random days off from school, weekends when his sisters have friends over and it's like they're brand new to him all over again. We got the opportunity to try out the Hot Wheels Workshop Track Builder sets and there are so many configuration options, the kids can build them whatever way they want!

Disclosure: This post is part of a collaboration between Hot Wheels and SheKnows.

Photo credit: Sally Anscombe/Moment Select/Getty Images
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