As soon as I sit down at the computer, fold one piece of laundry or start meal prepping my daughter immediately needs Mommy. Can you relate? The following easy activities to occupy little kids will allow your child to still feel connected with you while you also get stuff done!
It took me a few failed attempts of encouraging my daughter to go play with her toys before I came up with a better system of activities to occupy her.
And the BEST part is none of these free activities include a screen.
Don’t get me wrong, learning apps and Cosmic Kids yoga are great. But there’s only so much screen time my kid needs.
Now, instead of getting frustrated, I give her a hug and set her up with age appropriate easy activities that occupy little kids that are free.
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Free Easy Activities to Occupy Little Kids
Some preschoolers really need Mama interaction and calling out Lego color pattern ideas is a way to satisfy their need.
Others are kids, especially when they get to kindergarten are good with activities they can do on her own. Scavenger hunts or age appropriate activity sheets are great for them.
Sometimes I REALLY need to concentrate on what I’m working on or cooking in the kitchen (like Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.) At those times I’ll pull out a brand new coloring book and box of crayons or markers that I stashed away from he dollar store.
For $2 my kid is HAPPY to color in a BRAND NEW COLORING BOOK. Oh the joy to be a kid!
There are plenty of free activities to keep kids from being board.
Depending on the age of your child some of these activities to keep young kids busy will take more or less of your help to get them started.
Scavenger hunts are one of those great games that you can adjust for different ages. My daughter loves detective cartoons so we do a lot of scavenger hunts!
Pro Mom Tip: Make sure to have an empty laundry basket nearby for the found items to get dropped into at the end of the scavenger hunt. I promise it will make putting everything away a lot easier!
Below are some scavenger hunt ideas and a couple FREE downloadable printables to save you time (no email sign up requested).
Just pick the ones that work best for the age and skill level of your child.
1. Color Scavenger Hunt
This scavenger hunt is just what it sounds like. Your child should collect one of each color item. This works for all ages.
2. Toy Scavenger Hunt
You can adapt this one to match your child’s favorite characters by cutting toys out from the Target weekly ad. Then paste the pictures onto construction paper and send him on his way.
This FREE download is a great first toy scavenger hunt for your pre-school age child.
3. Bedroom Scavenger Hunt (or clean laundry pile scavenger hunt – just say’n…)
This is a fun one for a younger child. They get to collect all the items that make up an outfit.
4. Dress Up Accessories Scavenger Hunt
This is another one is good for all ages.
The first time my daughter did it she showed up at my desk during a Zoom call WEARING all the items!
5. Outside Scavenger Hunt
If you child is old enough to both read and head out into the yard themselves, send them off to find a Green Leaf, a Brown Leaf a Stick, Rock, Pinecone, Grass and a Flower.
Or give them an empty grocery bag and ask them to collect 10 different items.
6. Vowel Scavenger Hunt (U is for underwear!)
In a pinch Alphabet letters are an easy way to get your child involved in something that doesn’t need your help.
BONUS: you can do this ANYWHERE. At Grandma’s house and your child is restless? Write A, E, I, O and U on a piece of paper and send them off to find objects that start with those letters.
If the vowels are too advanced for your child stick with some of the easier letters like A, B and C.
This is a fun way to help your children practice counting. You can use any combination of numbers and items.
- 2 Stacks of 10 Books
- 3 Stacks of 10 Legos
- 4 groups of 3 cars
- 3 sets of 2 dolls
8. Color Stacking
This set of activities takes counting one step further and adds colors and patterns. Ask you child to find the following:
- Stack of 5 books all one color
- 6 pieces of play food that are only 2 colors
- Stack of 12 Legos with three alternating colors
Or if your child likes to help with laundry ask them to match then count all the clean socks!
9. Fall Activity Worksheets
You can download lots of FREE age appropriate printable worksheets by doing a quick search on Pinterst.
Below are two I made for my daughter that are FREE for you – just click on them – no email sign up requested.
- A fall leaf number tracing worksheet
- Fall Activity Worksheet
10. Listen to a Podcast Together
As a mom you already know how important it is to read to your child. But when you need to multi-task the next best thing is someone else reading to them.
Just log onto your favorite podcast site listen to an age appropriate podcast together.
If you are like me you might not be sure what podcasts out there are age appropriate for you child.
My friend Sarah, a home schooling mom, put together this awesome list of Podcasts for children all ages.
While the podcast does the story telling you can fold laundry, meal prep and even cook dinner.
- Bonus: There is no screen for them to look at!
- Bonus 2: They are learning new words and hearing different ways to communicate sounds then they do from the people always around them.
My daughter has a couple favorite episodes that we found from this list that are now on repeat.
The great thing is, she’s calm while listening and there are no toys to clean up!
And because I’m listening too we have something to talk about together when it’s over.
11. Karaoke Dance Party
When all else fails its time for a Karaoke Dance Party hosted by Alexa!
To my husbands chagrin I added the Echo Show to our home sometime last year. And let me tell you its been totally worth it!
You control the content through your Amazon account and your kid gets to feel like they are in charge of something asking Alexa to play their favorite songs.
The Disney Princess station is a regular around here!
If you don’t have Alexa that’s okay too.
Just turn on some music, hand your child something that looks like a microphone and let them give you a concert while you get stuff done.
Being a working mom means having to get all the things done while still being a mom too!
These easy activities to to occupy little kids are free and simple ways to keep them busy while still providing the attention then need. And seek.
From scavenger hunts, to counting and sorting games and even free downloadable printable activity sheets you can add a little learning to their fun.
Or you can engage their brains with age appropriate podcasts or a karaoke dance party!
And you don’t have to work about the mom guilt that comes with sticking you child in front of a screen.
None of these easy activities to keep little kids busy uses a screen.