I confess: I struggle with allowing too much screen time for my kids. Currently being pregnant it has become bad. Bad, bad, bad. Just like my cooking schedule, where I don't often have the energy to make awesome from-scratch meals that three out of four kids will just refuse, I simply don't have the desire to deal with referring little people constantly. Now that I'm feeling better most days (first trimester, I thought I was dying) I'm trying to do better with limiting the screen but, it's a challenge for other reasons as well.
I have a tight budget as a mom of four, so going out to entertain them at a museum or in classes isn't always feasible. Sure, we hit up the dollar store for cheap craft supplies and Pinterest ideas occasionally of cute foot print turkeys, but then there's the issue of mess. Oh, the mess of crafts. I currently have glitter scattered all over my downstairs after a crafting session that went awry. Those little sparkly flakes just don't want to let go of my kitchen floor even after mopping three times, or my children's scalps despite baths since they dumped it upon themselves like pixie dust. I love crafts, I do, but I can only take so much of them before our fun turns into stress — and you don't want to see me stressed. Mess stress plus hormonal-sleep-deprived-pregnant-mom equals a lethal combination.
Desperate for something cheap, fun, but not messy, I discovered painter’s type. Why tape? For starters, it has endless possibilities of things to create with it! Plus, along with being easy on the budget, it is super simple to pick back up, so that's a big win in this momma's book.
What can you do with simple painter’s tape, you ask? Here's a few ideas of what we've tried (and loved):
Use the tape to map out streets and parking lots for all those cars your kids have collected. We also included my girl's various playhouses to make houses within neighborhoods, a school, and shopping centers. We even had a pirate ship theme park! With the same concept, you can make railroads for trains instead. Making bridges with tape between chairs is also fun!
Some days we've pulled out flat sheets and used painters tape to keep them in place when attached to chairs, the fire place mantel, etc., for a fun hide away to play in. Or, use it to attach all those empty Amazon boxes from Christmas orders and pizza boxes into an awesome tiny home.
Our kids had a blast pretending to be spies in training, dodging the “laser beams” to get to the other side. Just connect strips of tape at various angles in a hallway or between chairs and let the laughter begin! Of course, the one-year-old couldn't quite grasp the concept and tore right through them like a marathon finish line. So, this may be best for older kids or when the youngest is down for a nap!
Apply tape in random lines mimicking a sticky spider web in your doorway and throw paper “bugs” at it. If your child loves Spider Man like mine does, this will be a huge hit.
Create a maze on the floor and challenge your little ones to get through it with cars, trains, or even blowing through a straw to move pom poms. Make a competition out of it!
Remember those squares we jumped back and forth on as kids with chalk outside? Bring the fun inside! You can use a small stuffed animal, bean bag, or whatever you'd like to mark the spot to skip over.
For the smaller ones, tape an empty toilet paper or paper towel roll to the wall and show them how to throw small items down it like a slide. Pom poms, small toys, cars, etc., all are fun and exciting to little hands.
If you feel brave enough to pull out the paint, there are tons of designs you can create with the tape, such as your little one's name, and have them go crazy with their inevitably mixed up paint colors on canvas. Once the paint is done, peel off the tape to reveal a unique painting all their own that surprisingly you'll want to hang. I'm telling you, this simple hardware store item should be kept on hand for everyday imagination uses, not just for once in a blue moon wall décor painting!