41 activities to conquer boredom

I need my days at home .. even more so now that Ive got two boys that run in different directions! Last year I made a ‘busy box’ for MiniMalik, the idea being that I had inspiration for fun activities he could do, that I usually just forget about.

Sometimes its the simple things he wants to do, sometimes he wants more involvment from me, but we got to decide that together.

P_20140201_145523It works like this, he brings me the busy box, and asks if we can pick one. I quickly flick through and remove all the activities that we cant to do for whatever reason, or I just cant face doing! He then still has a MASSIVE choice to pick from.

With any luck what he’s chosen will keep him busy for days … or not!

Some of these you wont have in your house, some will require a trip to the shops. If you have everything you need already (Everything is store cupboard ingredients, I dont rush off to the shops unless its an EMERGENCY!) then it means more choice for your Mini.

Its all in pictoral form, with suggestions and hints for me. I often write on the cards new ideas that i’ve had for next time!


As the boys and I work through our busy box, I’ll be posting here with pictures and then will update the downloadable file, to make it a bit more aesthetic!


1) superhero city. MiniMalik loves to fight the bad guys and throw them ‘into the lava’, so we get out the blocks and build a mini city for the bad guys to rampage in! You could create any kind of scenario for your mini, the key is to spark their imagination and then let them take over.

2) puzzles! Who doesn’t love a good puzzle, even a fidget like MiniMalik easily gets engaged, and loves the success of having conquered the challenge.


Download a printable version of all 41 ideas here!  busy box


Eden: Paradise

Eden had been on my to-do list since I was 14, so to finally get a chance to go was amazing! It lived up to all my expectations, my only regret was that we went so late in the day, that we didnt get to see as much as I wanted to.2013-12-28 14.34.05 The car parking was really acessible and easy, but it also looked very easy to get to by public transport too. We took my elderly granny with us, and hired an electric wheelchair (Pre-book!), so we were able to move around really easily. Our first stop was the rainforest. It was AMAZING! Ive been to a few indoor butterfly farms, so I was familiar with the concept, but to see such mature plants in their (almost!) natural habitat was fabulous. We got to go right up to the roof and look down from a lookout tower, its well worth the queue, but my legs were a little wobbly for a while afterwards, so allow yourself some time to recover from the altitude and humidity! There is lots of walking involved, so bring drinks and a picnic. There is a big food court on the ground level of the domes, with lunch, hot drinks and ice cream. Make sure you try the ice cream, its made from ingredients growing inside the domes, its delicious! 2013-12-28 17.26.33 There is a free cloakroom for coats and bags, but its unattended. There is also a center devoted to hands on activities for the little ones, but we didnt make it that far.

The whole site is buggy & wheelchair friendly and unacessible routes are marked out on the map. The only thing that you CANT do with a buggy was go right up to the roof top in the rainforest dome.

The British Library: Storytelling at its best

This was a special half term excursion for us, as they had a special storytelling event with craft. It had a Peter Pan theme which was perfect for us, as MiniMalik LOVES Peter Pan.

So off we trundled to see Peter Pan, not in costume as I struggled to whip something up in that short a time (pajamas had not occurred to me, despite how obvious!), and followed various costumed children in the walk from the underground station to the library.

On arrival we immediately went to listen the story telling, the story of Peter Pan  told by a magnificent story teller (Kevin Graal), all the children were completely captivated. After the story was finished, some of the children stayed upstairs to add to the crocodile and do other Peter Pan related crafts, but we followed the story teller downstairs.

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In a room downstairs the story continued with some riddles and participation, again all children were completely captivated!

The thing that impressed me the most was that the staff admitted that they were expecting perhaps 20 children, not the 60 or so, but they responded quickly and found a room and more activities for the children to do, without us parents noticing that it wasnt planned!

We didn’t get to see much of the rest of the library, although the toilets were great!

Crystal Palace park – The maze

Despite having been to this park more times than I can count, we only made it to the maze very recently. Possibly only because we set out specifically to find it, and im glad we did!

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There are markers set out around the paths that you find to help you on your way – the different symbols of the girl guides. Not that it stopped us running round in circles!

I was on the verge of giving up, and was trying to find a way out, when I discovered a new path that (finally!) took us into the heart of the maze.

Its great fun! Mini Malik and I raced round the different paths, taking turns to find dead ends and find the right way, while MrMalik trailed behind as MicroMalik was in the buggy.

DONT take your buggy! The paths are loose pebbles, so it’s a pain in the bum!

When you finally get to the center, the maze is mapped out on the floor with the different marker stones and is a great place for a picnic.

Alternatively, you could go straight to the center of the maze first, through a special gate that you’ll see as you enter the maze. The center is a lovely place, very peaceful and quiet.

V&A: Childhood Museum

This was the Malik family’s second visit to the museum this year. The first time we came for the ‘Great cloth diaper change’ and this time the main reason for the visit was to drop off some milk for a mummy in need. (Find out more about that here!)


Both times MiniMalik had LOTS of fun in the sandpit (despite barely touching his sandpit at home!) and generally running around trying to find all his favourite toys in the different displays.

MicroMalik was big enough to join in a little this time, he sat in the corner of the lights for ages just watching them change!

We indulged in the cafe, which is a little more expensive than we usually go for, but still quite reasonable. MiniMalik had a fish finger sandwich and I had pumpkin soup, both of which were lovely. There is a picnic area downstairs, so next time that’s what i’ll be doing!

I had dressed MiniMalik in a yellow t-shirt, which usually makes him highly visible … not so much in amongst the crowds of school children wearing yellow tabards!

Oh Canada!


MicroMalik and I headed off to Canada for two weeks to celebrate my little brother getting married! It was really hard leaving MrMalik and MiniMalik behind, but we had some great adventures.

Blue Mountain

We werent actually staying in the resort, but my brother and his new wife both previously worked in the resort and so I managed to visit parts of the site. The ‘village’ itself is a bit like butlins goes to Canada, lots of shops and family pubs with a man made lake in the center, it was really lovely to wander around at night with all the lights. On Labour day, which we were there for, they had a massive free fireworks show which was fabulous!

Niagra Falls


FB download

We drove 4 hours each way to get to Niagra from where we were, but it was worth it! The falls itself are amazing, tv and film never do it justice. We stood at the top and worked our way along the side to where we could catch the ‘Maid of the Mist’. The boat is expensive, but totally worth it. They give you the rain macs included in the price and you’ll need them because it is wet and wild at the bottom of the falls! I was wearing MicroMalik on my front during the trip, so put the mac over both of us and made a hole for his head to pop out. Then I put a waterproof hat on him to keep the worst of the wet off. The water was dripping down his face but he didnt seem to mind! He got a bit scared when we first pulled up the falls as it is very wild, so we ducked behind the cab. There is a lull just after that which is great for the kids who are a bit nervous. As the boat pulls away it got wild again, so we hid!

The cottage

My sister-in-law is very lucky also that her family own a patch of land further north in the wilderness. They even have their own lake, and within 10 minutes of fishing I had caught my first fish! It was amazing being so far from cilvilisation and being able to actually see the stars, I have never seen so many in my life. We were quite near to Huntsville, which was another beautiful little town with some fabulous art.


This is the town that my new sister-in-law grew up in, its really lovely. They have a little craft and food market, the usual big chain shops and some independent gift shops. You can see the history in the buildings, just like in a western and if I shut my eyes very tightly I could almost see the cowboys riding down the street! They also have the most beautiful public library I have ever seen!  It is very close to Wasaga beach which is very well known as the longest fresh water beach in the world.

The details

There is NO public transport, so if you dont want to stay put, then you’ll need to hire a car.

Food is really quite expensive here, especially bread, milk & cheese, but its not too difficult to eat cheaply if you are creative


I think this post is mostly going to come in picture form. Several thousand words couldn’t describe this wonder. The idea of Colourscape is simplistic:  a giant tent maze with rooms lit with different colours, mostly blue, red and green, but the effect creates a profound experience. Even while chasing after my wonderfully mobile children I was amazed at the ways the different rooms made me feel.

Beans, MiniMalik and Sprout had a great time running/crawling through the different rooms. Beans and MiniMalik favoured the red rooms, while Sprout was keen to crawl towards the blue.

It was fascinating the way the different rooms felt. The red seemed hotter, and almost violent to me. While the blue was calming and cool. MrsMalik liked the natural light room in the centre of the maze the best, and stated she could have spent hours there.

Colourscape ended it’s most recent run in London on September 22nd, but look for it’s return next summer. Details can be found at their website.

Some tips (MrsMalik additions)

You cant take your buggy inside! Most parents carried their children in their arms and left the pram outside, but for littlies it is worth taking a carrier of some sort! Neither MicroMalik or Sprout wanted to be in their carrier, they were both desperate to explore, so pop on a pair of scruffy trousers if you mind the crawlers getting dirty!

We were only in there for half an hour, but that is more than enough time for under 5s! It does feel like you’re wandering round in an undending maze and after a while I got a bit claustraphobic.

There is music at the weekend, but when we went on a week day there was a school group playing recorders as they went round the different colours. I can just imagine how amazing the professional music would be!