Inside: Working from home with little kids? Try these fun and slightly ridiculous indoor activities for preschoolers that will give you a few more minutes back in your day for work productivity.
Real talk. Glen and I are both a bit tired.
We are a dual career family trying to fit many hours of work into limited actual hours while keeping the kids healthy, happy, educated, and filled with fruit snacks. There are early mornings, late nights, and many stress cookies.
But the kids are actually doing great! They’ve been digging “school at home” and more time with Mommy and Daddy. According to Jack, it is “nice to see my pretty face more.”
They are also enjoying the creativity Glen and I are unearthing from who knows where that has inspired interesting snacks, fun activities, and dramatic play. Some of this creativity has been for the kids’ benefit, but some of it has been for us too. Turns out when you get a little creative, you are gifted with some additional pockets of quiet time for work or for maintaining some semblance of order in the house.
I don’t know if these ridiculous indoor activities for preschoolers will work for you, but I think anything is worth a shot at this point. So if you have kids aged 2 to 5, give these a try and report back. We’re all in this (virtually) together!
Fun & Ridiculous Indoor Activities for Kids That Will Help You Stay Productive with Work
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This isn’t just a cute name for something else. I have quite literally been playing fetch with my children… I know this sounds a bit insane but it works.
Both Jack and Norah wanted to pretend to be dogs the other morning so I told them to go find a “dog toy” and we could play fetch. Then I set up my computer on the counter and threw stuffed animals as far as I could down the hallway while I edited an article.
They had a blast and I was able to check some grammar and spelling before sending off that article for review. This wouldn’t have been the ideal time for deep thinking, but I can do commas in between chucking toys.
Productivity Ranking: 5/10
This one was another win for dramatic play. The kids and I dressed up like superheroes and they pretended I was the bad guy. Then they chased me around the house.
While they were giggling uncontrollably, I was cleaning. As I ran from room to room cackling like a villain, I picked up socks, pillows, and forgotten cups and then ran the items back into their appropriate room. At one point I even scooped up three books lying on my bed while somersaulting over it. I think that was my best work.
I didn’t get any of my work done during that time, but it was a housework win. And since my house was clean (enough), I could get right back to work after the kids went to bed.
Productivity Ranking: 6/10
Hide and Seek
Hide and Seek is one of the common indoor activities for preschoolers so it might seem weird to put it on this list. But when you add a “work from home” spin on this you are leveling up.
First, gather up your materials. Namely a cell phone and a laptop set up in a strategic location.
Then send the kids off to hide first. Count to 30 very slowly standing in front of your laptop while downloading files or scheduling meetings.
After you find the kids and it’s your turn to hide, bring that cell phone. Make sure your dimness is set to barely visible and your sound is off. Then find an amazing hiding place (think crouched in a dark closet or the shower) and get to work replying to emails.
Productivity Ranking: 7/10
Pretend to Be Sleeping
I’m just as shocked as you that “pretend to be sleeping” has worked as a fun activity in our house.
My kids rise and shine before the sun and think that 6:45am is “sleeping in.” They don’t enjoy sleep or ask to sleep and if there were no rules in our house, I bet they would figure out a way to function without ever closing their eyes.
But during “Fetch” and “Superhero Cleaning” I was able to convince them to pretend to sleep for a “dog nap” and because my magical powers had zapped them. They immediately laid down on the floor and closed their eyes. At which point I rushed off to work on a spreadsheet for five minutes. Right now, five minutes can feel like five years!
I’ve used this game early in the morning too while I’m working from my bed and the kids come in to cuddle. I don’t know why it works, but it does and I am not going to question it.
Productivity Rating: 8/10
Egg Cartons and Pipe Cleaners
Quiet bags continue to be a fan favorite activity and I’ve gotten both more creative and lazier with them. While at first I was being more strategic about what I placed in the bag for Jack to play with for a half-hour, I’m finding that the more obscure my choices the longer he will self entertain.
A big winner this week was half of an egg carton, two pipe cleaners, and a handful of hair elastics. He created some kind of booby trap on my office door with it and I was not even mad. During this time I got in an abbreviated coaching appointment and fired off three emails.
Productivity Rating: 9/10
Have your kids watched Go Noodle videos at school? Mine have and they love them, which makes me feel very happy with the decision to turn on the television for these.
The dances in Go Noodle are super silly and include some fun ones like Pop See Ko and Boom Chicka Boom. There is also one kind of gross one about poop that is probably my children’s favorite, but whatever. The kids are moving, laughing, and not noticing that I’ve snuck away for 30 to 45 minutes to write.
Productivity Rating: 10/10
We’re looking at at least another month of this here, team. So keep being creative, keep sharing your ideas, and keep doing your best.
And remember, as working moms and working dads, we’ve already figured out how to juggle. Now we’re simply throwing in a flaming baton!
No problem, easy peasy, it’s fine…
Hang in there.