Happy “Helpers”: Bread Dough Edition

I’m sorry for my absence the last few days! Baby Meg has been cutting four molars and needing extra loving and we’ve been really busy! 

There is nothing wrong entertaining the kids with a good movie when you’re busy, but this advice from The Well-Trained Mind has come to mind frequently:

Before you turn on a movie to occupy the children, “always ask yourself: What am I giving up? If I didn’t put this on, would the kids go play basketball out back, or drag out Chutes and Ladders out of sheer boredom? Would they read a book?…”

My children aren’t quite old enough for basketball yet, but there are countless other ways to keep them happily busy, without setting them in front of a screen… or hiring a babysitter.

Making bread shapes with their friend Esther

One of their favorite ways to keep occupied while I work? Helping in the kitchen! (Helping here used quite loosely.)

My children absolutely love to “make bread.”

When the bread is ready to shape, I give them a big lump of dough, a rolling pin, cinnamon sugar, and raisins. For the next hour or so, their imagination has free reign.

Maybe it’s because I’m not naturally creative, but I was quite proud of Will’s bread caterpillar 

…and his bread turtle. (He definitely got his Daddy’s creative genes!) 

While the children are happily occupied, I have plenty of time to shape my own loaves of bread and clean up the kitchen.

What are your favorite frugal ways to keep your children occupied without a screen? 


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  1. says

    Great blog post! It bothers me when parents use media as a cop out. I see many children obsessed with entertaining themselves with smartphones, tablets, etc, and I mourn for them, as they are missing out on so many things.

  2. says

    I was just talking with Stephen about this subject last night. 🙂 I’m going to start writing down ideas for keeping kids busy, because I really don’t like the idea of an electronic babysitter. Thank you for being such a good mommy to your little ones. 🙂

    • anna says

      Awww, thanks for the encouragement Amber! “Electronic babysitter”–love that! There are times when it really is a blessing, but like you, I’d so much rather have my children playing creatively than sitting in front of a screen. 🙂


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