This is all about the novelty factor. Kids are naturally curious about the unfamiliar, so your job here is to harness their intrigue as a means of keeping them busy and not interrupting you. This is ideal for keeping any aged child busy while you have an online meeting or phone call for work; or if you have multiple kids and need to spend some uninterrupted time with one of them.
So, what is this magic box? It’s a tub or box kept out of reach of the kids, filled with items they find very rewarding and will keep them entertained independently. You can have one tub per child, or one for the family. Ideas for items to keep in the box:
- Activity books that relate to special interests of your child
- Sensory activities like play doh, slime, kinetic sand
- Craft activities
- Old cameras or a polaroid
- Special markers and notebooks
The main thing to remember here is that you present the tub when your uninterrupted time is set to begin, and you remove the tub immediately once your meeting/phone call is finished. Store it out of reach from the kids so they don’t have free access to it (remember, this is what keeps it interesting, which is what gives you the ‘free’ time). The trick is to keep exposure to the Magic Box of Fun short and sweet. If the kids get upset when you remove the tub, then it is working!
A couple of things to remember:
- Ensure the items in the box are safe for your child to have access to independently.
- Check the box occasionally to top it up (i.e., to add more craft supplies)
- Rotate items in the box to keep it fresh
The most important thing we can give our kids is a secure relationship, and to do this we really need to recharge and ‘fill our buckets’. So, if the Magic Box of Fun engages your child while you’re working or tending to your other children, then it is highly likely that it will work for all your kids and might even afford you some quality time to yourself.