1) An empty cardboard box - provides endless fun and imagination. Add some washable markers or crayons to make a space-ship, or some blankets and pillows for a slumber party!
2) An inflatable ball pit/pool/bounce house - with or without the balls can be super fun. These don't last long in our house so I never buy anything too terribly expensive, and be prepared...if you do add balls, you'll be picking them up quite often. I like to think of it as my daily aerobic activity and the children really enjoy throwing them around (they're too soft to hurt anyone or anything).
3) Inexpensive toys - cheap toys from the dollar store (hard hats, Dr kits, etc...) can be a lot of fun. Even though they break easily, I don't usually care much since they're super cheap and instead of expecting the toddlers to share a pricier item, they can each have their own.
4) Old clothing - not sure what to do with that old prom dress, fancy blouse with the stain on it? Fill a box with those old items and allow the toddlers to play dress up. Just prepare yourself as some adventurous kiddos may attempt to take off all their clothing before putting on the dress clothes. I like to supervise this activity by asking them to show me each outfit after they've put it on and before they role-play.
5) Television - it's okay if sometimes you turn on a children's program so you can get some work done. My current favorite is Beat Bugs on Netflix because the songs are enjoyable as opposed to being annoying or just tolerable. I'm not a huge fan of television, but sometimes a mom has to do what a mom has to do, right?
As a mom with toddlers as well as older children, some of the best advice I can offer is that this too in time shall pass. It's not always possible to write from home with the children around. Sometimes I wait until they're in bed, sometimes I wait until someone else can watch them and I sneak off to a coffee shop, and other times I grab a notebook and we head outdoors or to the park where they can play a little more freely and I can jot down ideas.
Parenting isn't easy and neither is writing. Be forgiving of yourself and your children. I have a quote on my bathroom mirror reminding me::
I will hold myself to a standard of grace, not perfection
What has worked for you? What advice can you offer to others? We love hearing from you and thanks in advance for your comments and support!
mama (aka crunchy mama), business owner, active journaler, writer and blogger, Blog Tour Manager with WOW! Women on Writing, Publicist with Dream of Things Publishing, Press Corp teammate for the DairyGirl Network, Unicorn Mom Ambassador, as well as a dairy farmer. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband, four young children (Carmen 10, Andre 9, Breccan 3, Delphine 2, and baby Eudora due this fall), two dogs, four little piggies, a handful of cats and kittens, and over 230 Holsteins.
You can find Crystal riding unicorns, taking the ordinary and giving it a little extra (making it extraordinary), blogging and reviewing books, baby carriers, cloth diapers, and all sorts of other stuff here, and at her personal blog - Crystal is dedicated to turning life's lemons into lemonade!