Five Activities to do with Children (that will make you want to sterilise yourself)

Pinterest loves to tell me all of the beautiful things I should be doing with my children. From homemade silly putty, to baking soda volcanoes and gorgeous, photogenic activities that you too can do with your lovely offspring. None of this has worked for us. Not ever. Here are some of the highlights.

1. Baking

Pinterest tells us that cooking is a fantastic way to teach your child about all sorts of things – taste, texture, smell, weighing, measuring, literacy, plus it increases their likelihood of trying and enjoying different foods. We made pizza dough and toppings.

Me: So that’s two hundred grammes…

EldestGirl tries to smile whilst trying not to vomit at something she has cooked. Herself.

EldestGirl: Two hundred centimetres.

Me: No, grammes.

EldestGirl: Two hundred nogrammes.

Me: Never mind. Right, let’s… oh God, how did you get dough in your hair? And on the cat?

<Ten minutes of nail scissors later>

Me: Oh God, we’ve got hair in the dough! Never mind, Daddy won’t notice.

<Toppings done, pizza cooked>

EldestGirl: I hate tomato. I hate this pizza. It doesn’t taste like the one we have at nursery.

<YoungestGirl throws pizza at cat>


2. Painting

Just… no. And anyway, their efforts are always rubbish. Leaving their creations “to dry”, as there is always a massive blobby bit with too much paint on,

it is almost inevitable you will put your elbow in their crappy picture once they’re in bed, and ruin your shirt. Washable poster paint, my arse.


3. Play Doh

We all love the idea of Play Doh. The problem is, the cool Play Doh kits, the ones the kids nag and nag for (in our case, multiple variations of My Little Bastarding Pony Hair Studio), can only be operated successfully to produce decent results by an adult with a degree in fine arts. Even then, most of the ponies look like they should have a tent erected around them and a caring vet to put them out of their misery. Most of Play Doh time will be spent shouting at EldestGirl, “Don’t mix the colours!” and trying (albeit halfheartedly) to stop YoungestGirl from eating it. Meh, it’s non-toxic.


4. Games where there is a clear winner and loser

Listen, I know it’s important that kids need to learn to lose. I get that. But really, can you be arsed to argue the toss about who won the most pairs in snap before bedtime? (It was me, but I was willing to let EldestGirl think she had won.) Would you rather deal with a slightly smug, gloating four year-old, or one who sobs herself to sleep after ruining everyone’s evening? Let’s just say competitiveness might run in the family. (I won fair and square, OK?)


5. Make-believe games

“Oh, aren’t little children just so imaginative?” simper other parents. “Just last week, little Jacinta pretended we were going on an Arctic adventure, and she’d learned so many facts about polar bears and Arctic foxes, and she was just so lost in the game; it was fabulous!”

No. EldestGirl likes to play New York, which involves arriving at a hotel with a buggy (but no baby), lots of shopping bags and a coin purse. She then likes to spend the holiday paying for things, whilst I put on a crap American accent. I mean, yes, NYC is an expensive place, but all she does when she gets there is have a shower (extra cost), eat breakfast (extra cost), then go back to bed (extra cost for sheets). If I introduce any new ideas like going to an art gallery or the theatre, she looks at me witheringly and says, “It’s only pretend.” After more than six minutes of this, I am usually found sneakily browsing my mobile for an actual ticket to NYC. One-way.

Now I can’t offer – sadly – tickets to NYC (one-way or otherwise), but I have been given the opportunity to give away to one lucky(ish) reader some wet wipes and some bubble bath. Good news is, I’m guessing your chances of winning this might actually be higher than if I were offering a holiday abroad.

I am trying something called Rafflecopter. Have a go at this. You get more entries for following me on Twitter, and a standard entry for visiting my Facebook page.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Johnson’s extra-sensitive Baby Wipes and their Top to Toe Baby Bath products are now both supported by the Royal College of Midwives’ logo, meaning that evidence has shown they are just as gentle as water on newborns’ skin. In case you are expecting a newborn by the way, water is absolutely sodding useless at prising off that horrid black shit they do for the first few days. I suggest a chef’s blow torch. Anyway, these Johnson’s wipes are just as good for skin as water is, and definitely better for it than a blow torch. Whether they are equally good at cleaning up poster paint and/or removing pizza dough from a cat remains to be seen. You can let me know if you win.


  1. Sara

    My kid has no interest in helping make food. He just wants the finished product! Paint is similar to your explanation. I used to hate play doh, but Now that I’ve realized my 3.5yr old will play with it for over an hour and be totally entertained, while I get stuff done, I’m all for it. The mixing colors used to give me an anxiety attack, so I try not to look anymore ?
    My kid loves make believe. It mostly involves dinosaurs and farting, fun times!

    • I also find Play Doh leaves a lot more mess than you’d expect though. Little tiny crumbs all over the table and floor. The table crumbs always manage to get wedged in the grooves on the table, so our lovely solid oak table is now a mess of primary colours. And glitter, but that’s another story.

      L x

      • Sara

        Thankfully, Oliver is a bit OCD like me, so most of the mess stays on the table (which is smooth), otherwise there’s no way I’d let him do it ?

    • Unfortunately EldestGirl is not technically competent enough yet to avoid accidentally coming out of the app / selecting the wrong thing and then needing my input to put it right again.

      YoungestGirl just tries to eat the screen.

      L x

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