From homemade playdough to DIY crayons, here are a few easy but awesome ideas for keeping the kids entertained. 

By Ashley Kappel
May 06, 2020
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If your kids are like mine, they love being in the kitchen. They want to peel, prep, chop, slice, measure basically anything so long as it doesn’t require them actually completing a recipe. So this week, I decided we’d make the most of our stocked kitchen by using what we had without leaving me with half-stirred muffin batter. 

Use Your Blender to Make Foam

Grab your blender. Combine one cup of water and about two tablespoons, or seven pumps, of no-tears baby shampoo. You know, the yellow bottles you bought in bulk and now don’t need? Those. Blend the mixture on high for about 30 seconds until you have stiff peaks. Then, grab any flat-bottomed container you can find. We used a plastic shoe bin and a toy wagon. Dump the whipped soap into one, fill the other with an inch or so of water, and enjoy your Car Wash, Animal Bath, Baby Doll Salon, or—as I like to call it at our house—45 Minutes of Sanity. If your foam starts to go flat, grab your hand mixer, head to the back porch (this is an outdoor activity at our house), and go crazy whipping it back up. If you feel like getting real raves, add a drop of food coloring to the blender before you mix it. There’s nothing like the victory walk of hearing your five year old scream, “SHE MADE GREEN FOAM! SHE DID IT! SHE DID IT!” You can use dish soap for this, but I find it’s more drying on my kids’ hands.

Still love baking with your kids? Keep it simple with Double-Chocolate Blender Muffins.

DIY Microwave Crayons

It can’t be just me that’s discovered endless bags and boxes of ancient, broken crayons lurking in corners of my house. Grab that bag of castoffs and head to the kitchen. Use your silicone cupcake liners to make custom crayons by filling them with any mix of crayon pieces (minus the wrapper). The colors melt but don’t really combine, so you end up with fun tie-dye crayons that feel like new, which everyone knows is the secret to bringing them back into the play rotation. If you plan ahead, grab letter and number shaped silicone molds online so you can spell their names. If your wrappers are stubborn, soak the crayons for a few minutes to loosen them. Chop the crayons into smaller pieces to shorten their melt time. Mine melted in about two minutes, but this is not a recipe to walk away from; check yours every 30 seconds to avoid tie-dying your microwave, or use a plate cover

While you’re at it, show them how to make eggs in the microwave, so they can make knock-off McDonalds breakfast sandwiches. 

 

Make Peanut Butter In Your Food Processor

If your kids insist on making, you know, food in the kitchen, then start with a winner. Grab your food processor, add peanuts, a pinch of salt, and a squeeze of honey (that’s our secret ingredient) and let them take turns (fighting over) pushing the buttons. This is my go-to snacktivity after rest time because it checks two boxes immediately: snack and (you guessed it) activity. Serve with apple and celery slices. Want to incorporate a little biology? Add raisins and introduce them to ants on a log. 

Don’t own a food processor and are now inspired to buy? Remember that size matters and pick performance over cuteness. 

Make Playdough In Your Stand Mixer

For this recipe, I went to the source. I’m not messing around with my beloved stand mixer unless KitchenAid says I can do it. Once they gave their blessing, I was in! Their simple recipe of flour, cream of tartar, salt, olive oil, and water couldn’t be easier, which left me lots of time to consider if I was going to let them add the glitter Kitchen Aid suggested. I decided to stick with food coloring, but it’s your funeral, so go right ahead and introduce them to glitter playdough, or as I call it, Slime 2.0. 

If you’re considering purchasing a stand mixer, see why we think Kitchen Aid is the best, and check out our favorite hacks

Make Raisins In Your Oven

Kids are fascinated by where things come from. Just today I’ve explained the origin of paper, how countries pick their flags, and where our souls go when we die (this is a completely average day). When mine realized that raisins are just dried grapes, they didn’t believe me. So we grabbed a bunch, sliced them in half (to speed up the process!), then popped them in a 200 degree oven for two hours, rotating them half way through. If you search the internet, many people will tell you to do this same process on the dashboard of your vehicle for 4-5 days, but I have neither the patience nor the ability to spare my cookie sheets for nearly a week, so the oven was our obvious choice. Plus, while I believe in delayed gratification, waiting five days for raisins is not going to have the payoff for my toddler that two hours with the oven light on will.