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5 ways to bust family boredom...fast

Sometimes, you just need a way to keep your little ones entertained for half an hour, and these days there are so many more options than just crayons and paper. Here, we've got five ideas that require little to no tools, they foster good bonding experiences while shaping kids' intellect, and they ensure you'll have fun too! Card Games Aside from your basic card games, like Go Fish, check out Spot It!

Although this card game was likely designed especially for kids, with the benefit of sharpening cognitive skills, my friends and I had a blast playing this at a friend's Super Bowl Party. There are five mini games to choose from and the rounds go quickly. Recommended for ages 7+, this is a game that can pit child against parents, with the child often winning!

Game Apps

Technology has come so far. Smart phone games are especially handy if you're stuck in a waiting room at an appointment with your children - open up a game and let them play solo if they prefer, or buddy-up with them against a random opponent. Since these games often let you pause or break it down round by round, they're perfect for playing in short snippets when you want to kill time. Some fun ones that work well for kids are Scramble with Friends, Drawing with Friends, Words with Friends, Hanging with Friends, Math Bingo, Word Bingo and, of course, Angry Birds.

Crafts Choose a simple craft to help improve eye-hand coordination and spark creativity. Make paper fortune tellers and tell each other's fortunes - all you'll need is a piece of paper, pen or marker and a little imagination. Let your child get creative with decorating the fortune teller. This is also something they can make and do with their friends, so you'll be the cool mom for showing them how to make it! It's the activity that keeps on giving, since you can play it over and over again.

Tip: Turn this into an eco-friendly activity by using an old piece of paper, newspaper or magazine page instead of a new piece of computer paper. Take this opportunity to teach your child about reducing, reusing and recycling.

Hand Games There are so many hand games that are passed down from generation to generation, and they're the simplest form of entertainment since all you need are your hands! Aside from the classics like rock, paper, scissors and patty-cake, see if you and your kids can use your imagination and make up one of your own.

Word Games These will never get old since they're free to play and different every time. Keep games like I Spy, 20 Questions and Going on a Picnic in your back pocket no matter where you are. They can be played with kids both young and old, and they are educational as well as fun.

Now, if you find yourself waiting for your guests to trickle in at your next House Party and little Tommy is tugging at your leg, whip out one of these activities to fill the gap! What types of activities do you like to do to bust boredom?

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