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Busy Activities for Kids So You Can Cook Dinner


The witching hour: anyone who’s been through it with kids knows how hard it can be. It’s the hour before dinner when the kids have saved up all of their fighting, whining, crying, and let it all go at once.

When you have little kids, it can be incredibly hard to make dinner – let alone a healthy dinner! So we’re sharing some simple busy activities for kids so you can cook in peace.

Activities Kids Can Do While You Cook

1) Create a Busy Bag.  This can really be any activities that keep your kids busy.  Click on the link to see some of our favorites for our busy bag.

2) Quiet Book.  Let them play with a quiet book.  We found one that we love on Amazon.  It is a cooking quiet book and so your kids can feel involved in the kitchen right along with you!   My kids love playing with theirs.  They can bake cookies, flip and egg and more fun cooking actions!

3) Create a craft that builds something.  When kids come over to my house whether it is girls or boys, they all love to string beads.  My kids will literally bead for over an hour and not even bat an eye.  You definitely have to use discretion when beading with small children.  If your kids are young enough to still put things in their mouths, you will want to consider a larger size, and always supervise.

Girls and Beads.jpg

For older kids these beads are great.

For younger kids these are great.

4) For babies and young toddlers.  For children this age it is all about the sensory experience to keep them busy.  They like to touch, taste, put things in their mouths, listen to noises and see how things work.  One simple activity my baby loves is to bang things together.  I give him a tupperware with canning rings and he loves to dump them out and bang them together.

Graham and rings.jpg

For other fun sensory ideas, check out this page from Learn to Play at Home. 

We hope this gives you that third hand you have always been wanting so that you can get dinner on the table for your family!

Busy Activities for Kids So You Can Cook Dinner

Natalie Monson

I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.

Learn More about Natalie

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Would love one of these! I have my 21 month old grandson quite a bit! This would keep him so busy! He is already trying to zip and button things!

Thank you for including a link to my blog. 🙂 That quiet book looks great! I have a busy box and a quiet box idea on my blog as well that often work well at this time. Thanks for a useful article 🙂

we would love to when those are so cute and useful! We love books, but we don’t really have any they can use by themselves, this would be great for dinner time, and nice to get them away from the tv!!

Pick me! Pick me! I am in desperate need of one of these quiet books for my on the move toddler 🙂

got 3 girls who will surely love it .One of them will turning 4on May 10- she will really aplreciate it as a bday gift:)

I am a grandma that spends a lot of time with her grandchildren. I really appreciate all of your healthy foods and great ideas.

I am a grandma that spends a lot of time with her grandchildren. I appreciate all of your healthy food recipes and great ideas.

Just saw these squares at thanksgiving point and had to get some my little boy at 5 months loves them and even more so when my almost 10 year old plays with him

Just saw these squares at thanksgiving point and had to get some my little boy at 5 months loves them and even more so when my almost 10 year old plays with him

Thanks for all the info Natalie, although I’m commenting on this post, your site is filled with some great information for new parents as well as “experienced” parents. Keep up the great work..

When we went for a trip we rented some toys from Bebe Gear (New York) for my DD. She was too busy playing with her new toy car that she refused to leave the suite when we called her to move out for site seeing!



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Educational toys are best for kids. They can keep them occupied for hours and also helps them to develop fine motor skills. Also, the ideas which you have shared are great and useful. Especially, the one with the beads. It would bring out their creativity as well. Thanks for sharing!