That's right, water.
About a year ago a good friend reached out to me wanting to sell her children to the gypsies. I told her flat out..."You need water".
My mother taught me a valuable lesson when my twins were little. Grumpy, stir crazy, bored or hot children need water. Make sure they are hydrated, dehydration can make anyone grumpy without knowing why. Then,let them have age appropriate fun with water.
"But we don't have a little pool in our tiny 'yard'"...
Be creative. This friend gathered plastic bowls, cups and straws and gave her then 2 and 4 year olds a big bowl of ice, they played happily for over an hour, AN HOUR PEOPLE! And sure, the patio was wet, but nothing to clean up! Kids were happy, mommy was happy, HAPPY! HAPPY! HAPPY!...ahhhhh. :)
Some ideas to try:**
Small bucket(never the big 5 gallon ones, too dangerous for kids)
Big plastic cups
Measuring cups and spoons
Ping pong balls
A barely turned on hose (teach them to NOT drink from the hose)
When it was a bit too chilly to get wet we'd play the "Will it Float?" game. A big mixing bowl of water and water safe items to test, kids love it (And it's science too, shhhh).*
Ping pong ball
Plastic spoon vs stainless steel spoon
Jelly bean, or any left over holiday candy getting stale and yucky.
A Ziplock snack baggy filled with air, then add something, like rice, how much rice before it sinks?
If you have a clear glass bowl letting them watch as few drops of food color drop in is fun too...and you can play "What color's next?"
A bath merely to play works too. No pressure to get clean, just water and toys, and maybe some bubbles if you desire. **
For more What Works For Me Wens. Ideas go to Rocks In My Dryer !
*Reminder, please teach children this game is only to be played in the "special bowl" so they don't use the toilet to test if something will float...oh, you laugh, but you know they will.
**Please!Make sure all young children are properly supervised at all times around water, safety first!