by Teresa Cowan

Have you ever examined the back seat of a parent’s car or the inside of a mom’s purse? Chances are, you’ll discover an odd assortment of seemingly related items. Videos on route for renewal, magic markers without caps or Baggies filled with crushed crackers and mouldy cheese.

Whether it be crackers and cheese to stave off hunger pains while waiting for the bus home, or crayons and paper for drawing at the doctor’s office, these have all served a similar purpose in our house­hold. To keep children in a state of equilibrium and thereby out of mischief.

Many a mom and dad has realized, albeit the hard way, that if one doesn’t initiate some safe and meaningful activity, children will find their own form of entertainment. Unfortunately, their choice of amusement might be more like polishing their father’s shoes with toothpaste!

Needless to say, parents are continually search­ing for individual activities to add to their repertoire. Below are a few I have found to relieve boredom and maintain my sanity.


2 cups flour
1 cup salt
4 tsp. Cream of Tartar
2 Tbsp. oil
2 cups water (with food coloring)

Combine dry ingredients. Add oil and water with color. Stir constantly over medium heat about 5 min­utes (the dough will become thick and come away from the sides of the pan).

When cool enough to handle, roll into balls. Al­ways store in an airtight container after use. Should last for a couple of weeks. It’s really a fail-safe recipe and it will work if you halve the recipe. However, it’s a good idea to soak the pot immediately after use, to loosen what’s stuck to the bottom.


Combine I tablespoon of liquid detergent with 2 tablespoons of water. Mix together gently. The ad­dition of 4 drops of corn syrup to the solution will create “piggyback” bubbles. If you do include the syrup, use the mixture outdoors because it’s sticky.


This is great for parties or just when you want to do something with all those ¥1 pieces you’ve col­lected.

Have the kids stand behind a starting line and, one at a time, toss the coins into a wide-mouthed container such as a waste paper basket or a cookie tin (if you don’t mind the noise). A 2-year-old might have success with a distance of two feet, and a 6-year-old with six feet. If it proves too difficult, move the container closer. As always with parties, every­one is a winner.