Laura, mom to
My son's activities are completely dependent on mood. There are plenty of times where I'm bruised and we're yelling at each other all day.
Thanks everyone for all the ideas.
Other than computer games, nothing ever really held my kids' attention very long. Even still at 11 & 15yo, they need help figuring out how to occupy themselves. My 6yo NT dd is similar. Fortunately my 13yo ds can find things to occupy himself, though sometimes that just means bugging his siblings which means I still have to intervene!
Depending on what your bathroom is like (my bathroom has tiles halfway up the walls), you can try filling the sink with shaving cream and let your ds play in it, incl fingerpainting the counter and walls. Then, let him play in water as he washes it down the drain.
Tape contact paper or packing tape upside down (sticky side up) on the rug. Your kids can walk on it in bare feet, or just put their fingers on it. The first few times it occupied my kids for awhile, but then they got bored with it.
Let your ds make an obstacle course in the living room or bedroom, using a variety of textures such as stools, sofa cushions, aluminum foil "rivers", etc. He can climb over, under, through, jump, etc. You might have to create the original obstacle course for him, but he can create a new version after playing with yours. You can give your ds a paper and crayon to write a line every time he accomplishes the obstacle course, and you can count how many times he did it when he's through.
Can you install an indoor swing (order from a catalog like Abilitations.com or Therapro.com) to keep him occupied?
Get a big bag of biodegradable packing peanuts (made of cornstarch) from a place like U-Haul. Put a wet paper towel on a plate. Lightly dampen the peanut on the paper towel, then stick it to another peanut. Can create/build whatever you want. When you're through, you can dissolve it in water in the bathroom sink. You can get colored peanuts in some toy stores, but I don't remember what they're called, and they're more expensive that way.
My kids liked to bounce, so over time we've used the hopper balls (sit on to bounce), mini moon bounce, and mini trampoline. We also got a "dizzy disk" from one of the therapy catalogs. It's like a sit-n-spin but without the center post. When my kids were young, they'd lie down on their tummies to spin on it. When they got older, they could kneel, sit, or stand. It also has a lever to make it tilt slightly to make the ride feel more like a roller-coaster.
My kids love books. They could do the "I Spy" picture books on their own before they learned to read.
I let my kids make necklaces and bracelets by stringing beads on pipe cleaners. You can get a big bag of beads for not too much money at Walmart or Michaels. For a little more money you can get ABC beads or glow-in-the-dark beads. You can get jumbo beads if you don't want them to be a choking hazard.
I use the $1 store or the $1 aisle at Target to get stickers or small activities to temporarily occupy them.
Dress up activities can be fun -- cheap hats or costumes from the $1 store, esp around Halloween. You can also try the thrift store to get hats, neckties, scarfs, etc. Similarly, you can let your ds make puppets (stick puppets with popsicle sticks or paper bag puppets), and then he can put on a show. Have him perform for his baby sister.
With us activities were always hit-or-miss -- even if it was something the kids loved on a different day. Good luck!
Bakugan are huge for our 9 year old daughter! In fact, we're currently having the mother of all meltdowns because her favorite Bakugan, a Pryus Stinglash, went through the washer and dryer and now the arm is irreparably damaged. (We're talking hyperventilating, and nearly vomiting because she's so upset.)
She's always been overly independent-because she prefers to not be bother by other people, but honestly, she can spend HOURS playing with these things.
Good luck finding something that works for you.
My son is 6 now, but he has always