Do your kids ever annoy you incessantly really need your attention when you are trying to get something done? For example:
You’re attempting to cook dinner and your toddler wants to “help”.
You’re watching your favorite TV show (having already paused and rewound your Tivo five times) when your preschooler wants you to read her a book?
You’re trying to post an entry on your blog when your kids decide they no longer want to be related to each other, loudly.
That’s the time to pull out your secret weapon – your gadgets that they see you “playing” with, but that they never get to play! No, no, not your iPod or your iPhone ( though those can work, too, if you’re not concerned about them being destroyed ) – something much less expensive and a lot easier to replace.
I’m talking about your kitchen gadgets, the safe ones! I’m listing my three favorite kitchen gadgets to give the kids when I need them to occupy themselves for a while.
Maybe every household doesn’t have one, but I believe everyone should! ) My mother is French, so we grew up with a lot of garlic in our food (yes, even escargot). It’s a rare day that I don’t cook with it. This little gadget is very handy for people who don’t have the time (or willingness) to chop each clove of garlic into tiny pieces. Wondering how your kids can play with it? First of all, make sure you have a one-piece press; don’t want any pieces going missing. Then hand them some things they can try squeezing through the little holes. My kids have tried hard candy, soft candy, different vegetables, and other household objects that were about the size of a clove of garlic. Got some homemade play dough? Set them up at the kitchen table and they’ll have fun squeezing that through for hours!
This one might require a bit more attendance on your part, particularly if you’re letting your kids play with water. I bet you can even remember how much fun you had playing with your mom’s (or dad’s) turkey baster, can’t you? There’s no doubt it’s fun to squeeze that bulb. Show them that part first, without showing what the effect of it is. When they get tired of that, show them that you can gently blow air on their faces when you squeeze the bulb. During their play, they may discover that the bulb can be removed, and play with putting it on and taking it off for a while. If you need more time, that’s when you pull out the water. Make sure you set things up safely – if you’re letting them play at the table with a bowl of water, place the bowl on a towel, so it doesn’t slip around, and only give them as little water as necessary. A quick warning: my bulb becomes separated from the tube every single time I let the kids play with it, and it’s often a week or more before it’s found again. Good thing I only use it about four times a year.
I saved my most favorite for last. It is the gadget that entertains my kids for days on end! And even better – they can play with this one pretty much unsupervised (not that I’m saying to ignore them, I’m just saying that you don’t have to be as intent in your supervision as with the others). First, they’ll be happy just making the thing spin. Depending on each kid, they’ll eventually have the idea to put something inside and spin it around. With older children, you can suggest they experiment with the objects they put inside (and you can help make their experiments elaborate here, if appropriate). Heck, you’ve got another lesson in physics right there in your salad spinner!
You’ll be surprised at how long your kids will be able to entertain themselves with these. It will usually be long enough for you to get the task done ( or the show watched ), and it may even be for the next few days. Who knows, you might find yourself trying to wrestle it away from them so you can use it again!
Or it might just become a permanent part of their toy collection.