101 Independent Activities for Kids by Mary Ellen Bream: A Book Review

By Melissa Batai, Momsplans.com

Any mom is familiar with this scenario—your kids are bored, can’t find anything to do, and get into mischief. If you’re a homeschooling mom or work at home mom, you may need to find more ways to keep your kids occupied so that you can work with younger children or complete your own work.

Mary Ellen Bream, a mom of four and creator of the blog, The Imperfect Homemaker, knows what you’re going through. She’s written an eBook, 101 Independent Activities for Kids , ($9.99), best for kids in kindergarten through 3rd grade, full of ideas to keep your kids occupied in meaningful ways. (If you have younger kids, she has also created 101 Independent Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers .)

The book is divided into ten different types of activities:

Crafty Fun

This section lists 20 potential crafts for kids from easy ones like building a paper airplane to more difficult ones like string games. What I appreciate about this section is that there are links to tutorials for the more challenging crafts, saving parents time not having to search for a good tutorial.


This section has 12 chores listed, which can be a spring board for even more crafts.

Something Useful

The eight activities in this section are productive ones that could help the person doing them or the entire family, such as, “Plan a family game night, including food and games.”

Something Kind

This is my favorite section of the book! It encourages kids to reach out in meaningful ways to others and to generate a servant heart.

Just Plain Fun

This section gives fun, free things your kids can do for fun such as watch a movie or set up cups and shoot them down with rubber bands.

Imaginative Play

There are only five suggestions here; I wish there were more as imaginative play is so important to young children.

Release Some Energy

Again, the six activities listed are good, but I’d like to see some more!

Play Outside

All of the suggestions here make for fun childhood memories, and most importantly, get kids outside.

Something Creative

I loved these suggestions as they will spark your kids’ creativity and potentially could keep them occupied for hours!

Brain Builders

At just four activities, this is the smallest section and could definitely be expanded.

What I Liked About This Book

As you can tell from the description above, there are a few sections I would have liked to have seen expanded further. However, I loved that the crafts section had links to tutorials, and I especially enjoyed that the last page of the book has a resources link. At the link are recipes and buying guides for completing the activities listed.

I could see parents using this guide after school or during the summer, i.e., complete one brain builder activity and one something kind activity for the day or before getting screen time.

Is This Book for You?

If you’ve run out of ideas for ways to keep your kids occupied, or if you sometimes are too busy to think of ideas, this may be the book for you. Even better, it may serve as a springboard to help you come up with even more ways to keep your kids engaged in meaningful ways.