Many families spend a good chunk of time bussing kids around town, from dance class to music, from soccer to t-ball.
And though it’s awesome that our kids are busy, burning steam, and having fun with their friends, all these activities often mean that siblings are in tow, trying to stay out of trouble on the sidelines.
If their little buddies are there, that’s one thing. But if they are stuck for an hour or more just hanging around, with no park or playmates, it’s tough.
Many of us know that sideline entertaining isn’t always the easiest thing, especially for busy and tired parents.
Sure, we can all hand our kids a cell phone, iPad, or tablet to keep our kids busy, but what to do if you want to keep kids busy but unplugged during their siblings’ activities?
What if we want our kids to (gasp!) be unplugged while their siblings are having their activity? I have some ideas. Tried, tested, and true.
Here’s the skinny. . .
- Creative Ways to Keep Kids Busy on the Sidelines:
When you’re heading out to practice or a game or the dance studio and you know you will have kids in tow, grab a bag and throw in a few essentials.
You always should have a blanket, a bag of snacks, and some paper and a few pencils or crayons. Always. With only paper and a pencil, you can play:
- Tic-tac-toe: Mix it up by using letters, numbers, or simple pictures as your markers. So fun. And so old school but so great for early writing and thinking skills!
- Guess the picture: One person draws a picture and the other person guesses what it is. Challenge yourselves by setting a timer or allowing only a handful of steps in drawing the picture.
- Silent conversations: Super-simple conversations composed on paper, with no talking permitted. This game is great for quiet hallways during music lessons.
- Family name letter connect: Learn family members’ names and find connections between sounds and letters.
- Strike it out: Fun math game that builds skills and requires no set-up or space. Critical thinking along with computation skills are practiced and kids have no idea!
- Keep score: Teach your kiddos how to use tally marks by keeping track of each team’s score. Or keep track of the number of blue cars to red cars in the parking lot or the number of moms to dads on the sidelines.
Or grab these few items to make your sideline entertainment even more fun:
- Melissa and Doug Make-a-Face Crazy Characters Stickers Pad: My kids love that they can make all sorts of faces with this set–and whether kids are 3 or 13, they’ll have fun with this for sure.
- Melissa and Doug Fairies Reusable Sticker Pad: The fairy set or Melissa and Doug Vehicles Reusable Sticker Pad or any of the reusable sets are seriously awesome. Kids make scenes and stay busy. For a long time.
- Melissa and Doug Sticker Collection – Fashion: The amount of hours Maddy and Cora have spent with this set is unbelievable. They’ve made fast friends on the soccer sidelines with these sets; a few sticker sets, a big picnic blanket, and a bunch of kids make an hour long practice zip by.
- Puffy sticker sets: All of these are awesome–there’s the Puffy Sticker Play Set: Mermaid, Puffy Sticker Play Set: Chipmunk House, Puffy Stickers Play Set: Pirate,
Puffy Stickers Play Set: Dress-Up and more. Reusable. And tiny sets that open up in a little foldable book. Love these.
- On the Go Fun Sets: There are a ton of these sets, and they’re mostly geared toward kids ages 3-8. We love the
Sea Life Colorblast Book – ON the GO Travel Activity, Water WOW! Alphabet – ON the GO Travel Activity, Color-N-Carry: Adventure – ON the GO Travel Activity, and more.
- Pinball Arcade – ON the GO Travel Activity: My kids love this. Yes, it’s a little loud with the bouncing ball and the snaps of the pinball handles, but with a background that can change and the math fun that can happen if you challenge your kids to keep score, Pinball Arcade is a winner.
The possibilities for sideline fun is endless, and really–unplugging isn’t as difficult as you may think!
What are your favorite ways to entertain your little loves while big sisters or brothers are at practice? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments!
fyi: This post was written as part of the Melissa & Doug Blog Ambassador program. All opinions are my own, influenced only by my experience as an educator and parent and longtime toy lover. Huge and happy thanks to Melissa & Doug for their willingness to work with bloggers in this way and for always creating awesome, meaningful products.
Affiliate links are used in this post.