Surviving Arsenic Hour: Part 4 Sanity Saving Play Materials

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Some nights it's all I can do to plop something in front of my kids and ask them to play, trying to keep the desperation out of my voice.  Thankfully, we've got a pretty well stocked arsenal of materials to keep them busy.

Note: to contain the inevitable mess, I own several of these IKEA trays.  They are fantastic and create a designated, easily washable space to keep the materials on.  And for $2, you'll have no problem stocking up.






1. Kinetic Sand
I know, I know.  So messy.  But still so fun.  I host a rotating play date for my 3 year old daughter and a few of her friends every other week and I usually start by setting out a tray for each of them with one of these materials on.  I got a bulk package of pink kinetic sand (and these toys for them to play with in it- HUGELY popular) and the girls will play for an hour or more.  (My son loves his blue sand and having battles with his army figures- and they'll mix and match their toys or trade sand, depending on the afternoon)

2. Aaron's Thinking Putty
This is another item that we ONLY play with on our IKEA trays, a huge caveat here is that this stuff sticks to everything and stains fabrics if you leave it there.  I am militant about this being kept in the kitchen.  But we have it because my kids absolutely love it.  It is stretchy, squishy, perfectly malleable, and never dries out.  I love watching them incorporate this into their play and all the different scenarios that unfold.

3.  Play-Doh
I don't feel like a lot needs to be said about this.  Fantastic fun for the under 5 or so crowd.  These are a few of our Play Doh sets that get the most use:


4. Waterbeads
As a mom who doesn't enjoy stepping on slimy balls and cleaning them off the floor for days, I kind of hate these.  As a mom who is desperate for my kids to be engaged with an activity so I can cook dinner and put my screaming baby down for a nap, I'm a big fan.  These are sensory wonder.  Inexpensive and easy to set up, these are a great toy for completely open ended play.

5. Magnatiles
If you don't own these yet, you should.  You really should.  All of my children, from 1 year old to the 6 year old play, and play, and play with these.  Definitely start with the 100 piece set and add on from with different types (glow-in-the dark, clear, black),  bases with wheelsexpansion packs.  If I'm feeling a little extra superstar Mom, I'll throw out a building challenge or prompt to see what they come up with.

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