Big Fun for Brief Moments

Eliza Clark
April 24, 2017

“You’ve got twenty minutes left until Sarah’s babysitter comes to pick her up,” I call into the other room. The girls have finished with their sticker trading and they are casting about for what to do next. “Twenty minutes: what can we do?” I offer painting, they consider beading, but are those good uses for the last twenty precious minutes of a play date? Then Sarah says, “Let’s make a fort!” High wattage smiles light up their faces. “I love forts!” Caroline exclaims, and races off to grab the pillows from every bed in the house.

What is the perfect activity when you’ve got just twenty, fifteen, or ten minutes at your disposal?  A lot of life with our kids is lived in those small intervals of time: the twenty minutes between bath and bedtime; the fifteen minutes between breakfast and departing for preschool; the ten minutes spent waiting in the doctor’s office; the five-minute warning period at the playground before it’s time to go home.

It’s easy to let such moments flit by, thinking that there isn’t enough time to do anything worthwhile. But as the seven-year-old playdate pals at my house today reminded me, those last twenty minutes can be the best twenty minutes of the day.

So back to our question: What are great things to do together when you’ve only got a sliver of time? I asked my resourceful kiddos, and here’s what they said:

Read a story. (Always a good one.)

Help me read a new Bob book. (This from my five-year-old who really wants to learn to read.)

Play hangman.

Play tic-tac-toe.

Play hide-and-seek.

Play tag.

Hula-hoop. (I wish I could! But I’m good at cheering the kids.)

Add a tower to our Lego castle.

Play show-and-tell.

Draw a picture.

Give a massage.

Write a story.

Or, best of all, build a fort.  Which is the perfect place to hide from that babysitter when she arrives to pick you up.

In other words, friends and fellow parents, a great deal of fun can be had in five, ten, or twenty minutes, so don’t think you can get away with something boring like doing the dishes! 

From the Parents

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