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8 Easy Non-Screen Ideas To Keep Your Kids Busy When You Need To Get Stuff Done

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Are you looking for non-screen ideas to keep your kids busy when you need to get stuff done? It can be a challenge to get stuff done with kids at home, and sometimes you need some quiet to do so.

While I’m a huge fan of doing things with your children and having them be a part of your routine and activities whenever possible, sometimes that just can’t happen.

So how do you keep your busy without just sticking them in front of the T.V. or playing some game on the iPad or your phone?

It’s not that hard…there are lots of ways to keep kids busy so mom can get stuff done that are fun for the kiddos, too!

photo of kids playing while mom works and text "8 easy ways to keep kids busy when you need to get stuff done"

Some are super simple and easy, but others require some work and planning on your part. It’s actually a great idea to have some “busy time” boxes that you keep tucked away to pull out for just such a time.

As a work from home mom of 8, I’ve had a bit of experience keeping my kids entertained when I’ve had a deadline. I promise, it’s possible!

You can totally get stuff done with children at home…you just need the right means at your disposal.


It can be very tricky to get stuff done with kids at home…especially if those kids are toddlers.

After all, toddlers can’t be left to their own devices for longer stretches of time like older kids can, but they can do some things to keep busy so you can buy yourself some time when you need it.

The key is preparation.

If you have some things ready to roll ahead of time, you can definitely make it happen! You just need to have a plan for those time when you need to keep your kids busy.

Here are some fun indoor activities for toddlers that you can use your occupy your little ones while you work at home:

  • Waffle blocks – these amazing toys have been our favorite since our first child was about 1 year old. 7 kids later, and they are still the favorite toy in our home for babies, toddler, kids…and even my teens! These provide so much family fun (we have about 5 sets these days, because we can’t resist a new set!). 
  • Coloring – reserve some fun coloring books for just such times; it will make them more special. Maybe even have a box of special markers or crayons that you pull out. I like to keep a box with Crayola Twistables, stickers, and special activity books for those days when I need to keep my toddlers entertained while I do things around the house.
  • Montessori inspired toys – Toys that unleash your children’s creativity are awesome. Equip them with toys to set up a cafe and serve a meal or perhaps to play school. Maybe they like animals and having some animal toys around will inspire them.
  • Wooden stamps and a roll of craft paper can also provide a lot of fun! Or set them up with folded card stock and have them make holiday or birthday cards


Depending on the space you have available and how adventurous you are with what you want to let your children do to keep busy at home, you can try one of these fun ideas the next time you need your kids to be busy so you can get stuff done around the house.

When I have a big work project to do, I often give the kids a large project of their own.

If I just need to handle a 20-30 minute job such as paying bills or handling an important phone call, I give them a smaller activity.

So choose based on how much time you need and what will keep them busy for that long…and a little longer, just in case!

  • Sheet tent – Give the kids several flat bedsheet, clothes pins, and maybe some heavier clips if you have them. We like these clamps and these clips the best. This usually gives us HOURS of fun as they play together in it. You can even give them some fairy lights to put up inside, a bowl of popcorn, and turn them loose.They can read books, play games, or anything else in their tent.
  • Ingredients & a recipe – If you’ve already taught your kids to cook (and I’m a huge fan of cooking with your kids!), then this is a great way to have them be entertained and happy.Let them whip up some cookie dough and make cookies to enjoy over tea when you’re all done working. Or perhaps give them what they need to make pizza dough as well as all the toppings and they can create dinner.
  • Board games – Do you have some fun board games? Give them a score sheet and offer a fun prize to the winner! Is it a long game (my kids can play Settlers of Catan or Monopoly for hours!)? Great…you just bought yourself an hour or two. A shorter one? Set them up for a tournament! If there’s a younger sibling, have them be in charge of the bank or score keeping to be involved!
  • Outside play – Don’t be afraid to tell them to “Go play!” If the weather is nice, this is a great option. Let them build a fort or play tag or give them water guns. Outside play is so healthy for kids and a lot of times they forget how much fun it can be until you tell them they need to do it! You can even give them a picnic basket and blanket and let them have a meal.



One of the best ways to create time to accomplish tasks without kids is to give time to yours kids first. Your kids want to know they are loved and enjoyed, so love on them and enjoy being with them.

Then let them engage in some fun activities without you. They’ll be less likely to interrupt and more content because you just filled up their love banks with intentional quality time!

Related: Why Playing With Your Children Impacts Their Hearts So Deeply


It’s nice for them to know how long you need! They can watch the timer and be assured that they’ll have your attention again soon enough.

Consider breaking up your tasks into time blocks that are interspersed with kid time. For instance, play for 20 minutes, handle a phone call for 20 minutes. Then spend 20 minutes folding the laundry together.

That way they are with you, without you, and then with you again.


This may sound kind of silly, but practice this when you don’t need it so that it works when you do.

Kids need to learn to play independently, especially if they haven’t done it before. It’s a good idea to set up systems and get your children used to them before you need them.

This is what child training is all about: teaching them how to behave calmly and in a fun way, without the stress of needing it to happen so that they already know what to do when it has to happen.


This isn’t always possible, but if you can then it’s a great option.

Sometimes I’ll play with my kids and then tell them Mommy needs to get some work done and set them up with “work” of their own. They love it!

And then when “we” are all done working, we’ll have a cup of tea together and read a book to celebrate.

Your kids really just want to be with you because they love you so much.


You’re a busy woman, but don’t lose sight of your priorities.

Sometimes we can become so consumed by our “to-do lists” that we forget who we are doing these things for.

You can be a busy mom who gets things done with kids at home and still finds time to be an intentional and engaged mama, as well…it just takes some thought.

(and pssstboredom is also healthy for your kids – so don’t be afraid to let them figure it out for themselves!)


Thanks for sharing - You're awesome!

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