Keep the kids entertained with a bucket and some string.
You know those days where you get an activity set up for the children, then they spend 5 minutes playing with it and you have that feeling of 'Why did I bother? They just wanted something simple to play with.'
Well this is NOT one of those activities. It's a simple idea, with very little resources and a quick set up time that will give children hours of fun.
The weather has been getting warmer and so we’ve been spending more time outside in the garden. Both Coffee Beans love being in the garden but unfortunately they also like to be entertained and for them that means constantly pestering whichever adult is around to entertain them.
This weekend I decided we needed something new in the garden to try and occupy them. I went for something, which I knew, that as a child would have kept me entertained for quite some time. I built a super easy pulley system and attached a bucket to it.
There are loads of ways you can make a pulley system but the simplest for us was by using what we had, namely the smooth metal poles of the swing set and the slide. This also had the added bonus that these were both heavy and so wouldn’t get pulled over by incredibly 'enthusiastic' children pulling on the string too ferociously.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a swing set or slide in your garden there is another really simple alternative that I will explain later in the post.
Basically I passed a piece of string around the bars of the swing set and the slide in one long loop and tied the ends together securely. Then I attached a light bucket (like a kids seaside sand bucket) to the bottom string with one of those clips that you use on food bags to keep the food fresh. I could have just tied the bucket to the string but for my Coffee Beans I knew that being able to easily attach and detach the bucket would most likely be needed. I preempted they would want to be able to fill the bucket in secret, so taking it with them when they fetch things to send to each other was a necessity. This to them would be like 'top secret spy mission' play...oh the imagination of a child!
The bucket could then be pulled back and forth between them sending toys, messages and anything else they wanted. There was also the added attraction for little Coffee Bean of shouting ‘ding ding post delivery’ when the bucket reached the other side! They spent ages playing with it and Mummy and Daddy spent a good while rejoicing in two occupied children that weren't constantly stuck to their sides pestering them!
If you don’t have something like a swing or slide with horizontal metal poles then don’t worry there is an easy alternative.
You could use a strong cardboard tube, like the one out of the middle of a tinfoil or Clingfilm roll and chop it in half.
Then thread some string through the middle of the tube and tie a knot ensuring that there is enough slack that the roll can still spin round - imagine like how a toilet roll holder works!
Leave some extra string after the knot so that this can then be tied securely onto something. You could attach it to anything as long as its heavy and won't get pulled over e.g. a trampoline side, garden furniture, washing line pole. We have some hooks attached to the side of the house or we have some veg planters that have strong wooden posts in the corners and these would both be great for attaching a pulley to too. What ever you use just make sure that the two ends are opposite each other and preferably not too far away from each other either. Once you have both of the tubes up it's just a case of fixing a big long loop of string around them both as before and attaching on a bucket.
We still currently have our pulley system up and the Coffee Beans keep returning to it time and time again, inventing their own games to play with it. In fact this morning it was the first thing they went to play with. I have to say for a very quick 2 minute setup with very little resources this is one of those activities that just keeps on giving!