Activities for Kids – 30 Minute Challenge

July 19, 2011

Lego Challenge

When things are going to hell in a hand basket, or when you just have a little snip of time between one thing and another, or when you just need everyone to stop running around the house and leaping off the couches… that’s when you need a 30 Minute Challenge!

It’s a new game I’ve invented (well ok, someone else probably thought of it first, but I invented it in our house!) and it works a treat to break the crazy cycle, at least for 30 minutes! Here’s how it works..

Challenge your kids to create something in 30 minutes.

Yep, it’s that simple!

You may need to vary the challenges and make the time longer or shorter depending on the activity or the age of the child, but the idea is the same. Make it sound special and tricky by announcing in your best ring masters voice that it’s… “Time for a 30 minute challenge!!!”

Here are some ideas for 30 Minute Challenges.

The Lego Challenge.

lego challenge

This our current favourite challenge. Challenge your kids to build something out of Lego. It might be a house, a garden, a vehicle…

There is a cool blog called Lego Challenge but I only found it after I’d wracked my brains trying to come up with ideas, but sadly, it hasn’t been updated for a while. Maybe they’ll be back after the US summer holidays are over?

The Play Dough Challenge.
Similar to the Lego challenge but with more mess, so this one is not good if you don’t have much time! Challenge your kids to make a play dough animal, or monster, or how about their favourite food?

The Drawing Challenge.

drawing challenge
Challenge your kids to draw something. Perhaps a picture of themselves, or a family member, their favourite food, favourite animal. Or challenge them to draw using red, orange and green only, or only using triangles…

The Dancing Challenge.
Of course my girls came up with this challenge – make up a dance and perform it. I added the extra challenge of making sure everyone who wants to be in it can be in it!

The Cleaning Challenge.
So far this challenge has worked far better than I could ever had hoped, though I did shorten the time frame. I challenged the kids to make the living room as tidy as they could in 10 minutes and my goodness it was tidy!

Has anyone got any ideas for new challenges? Maybe I just need to challenge myself to get up and hang the washing!

Check out and link up to It’s Play Time at Let the Children Play – lots of great ideas!

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Kylie July 19, 2011 at 5:48 pm

hehe we do a 5 minute cleanup .. or a 10 minute cleanup on a focus room .. put the timer on and go … works so much better than when Dad says, ok we need to clean the house which is met with groans from all of us.

Martine July 19, 2011 at 6:26 pm

Great idea Kate….. And based on my favorite and most used parenting tool to control unruly, tantruming, fighting or loud kids…….distraction! We just need to remember to use it first as it is always so much more effective than yelling!

katesaysstuff July 19, 2011 at 8:01 pm

You are a deadset genius Kate.


Mandi July 19, 2011 at 9:18 pm

Seriously, I think I just fell in love with you. What an awesome idea!! Our house turns into a scene from a horror movie around 5pm, every night. I love these ideas (ok, all except the playdough, that just scares me lol) and will definitely be putting the boys to a challenge tomorrow.

Love it!

sarah July 20, 2011 at 7:21 am

what an awesome idea! dragging out the timer…

se7en July 20, 2011 at 9:28 am

We do a 30 minute nature challenge from time to time… We just kind of get stuck inside…So I head everyone outdoors with a 30 minute challenge, it’s like an invitation outdoors and breaks the monotony!!! Inevitably we stay outdoors a whole lot longer… Here’s a thirty minute nature challenge we blogged:

Susan, Mum to Molly July 20, 2011 at 11:09 pm

I fear the kids may turn the tables and challenge me not to yell for 30 minutes…

Jamie @ hands on : as we grow July 22, 2011 at 12:51 pm

Love these challenges! Hope my kid goes for it!

Bron66 August 2, 2011 at 12:32 am

We have the “Get dressed before Mummy” challenge or “how fast can we get dressed” challenge. The second one is with the stop watch and part of the challenge is helping each other and includes putting away the pjs. I like your ideas too though. I think I will try them!

Allison August 7, 2011 at 1:32 am

We do the cleanup challenge quite a bit. Using the phone with the latest favourite song as the alarm sound works a treat and ensures we end in a great mood.

We do the quiet game challenge in the car sometimes when the volume gets a bit high and see who can last the longest without talking. Always brings the noise back down but invariably doesn’t last that long!!

Think we might check out the Lego challenge idea tomorrow!!

margaret August 17, 2011 at 1:02 pm

How about Create a New Game challenge? Basically, give the children a few items. For example, a bean bag, wooden spoon, pot and an eraser. They have to use all the items to create a new game. You can read more details here

Jane August 17, 2011 at 8:45 pm

I have read about your 30 minute challenge several times and thought how great it sounded. Today I actually tried it! I have a 4 year old and a 2 year old who were running around the house like maniacs while I tried to cook the tea. Given their ages and attention span and how much time I needed to finish cooking the tea, I announced “TIME FOR THE 10 MINUTE CHALLENGE!” They stopped immediately and I had their full attention. I tipped the blocks out onto the lounge room floor, said lets see who can build a beautiful tower and set the timer for 10 minutes. MAGIC. They stayed focussed, added toy animals, discussed whose was tallest and whose was widest and were so excited when the timer went that I announced one to be the tallest and one the widest and gave them both a sticker. Then I set them the challenge of setting the table and it was tea time! Thanks for the inspiration and for restoring a bit of calm into the craziness!

Jill @ a mom with a lesson plan September 28, 2011 at 2:41 pm

This post could not have caught my eye on a better night!!! I needed this challenge about 10 times today.

Maggie Farquhar October 5, 2011 at 10:47 am

OOh! thats a neat idea.. im not a parent but its a nice strategy..
We are going on a family roadtrip and looking for some ideas-thanks!!

Eric at A Lego a Day September 12, 2012 at 2:36 am

I love these ideas! We’ve used the cleaning challenge successfully when our children were younger. Now they’ve figured that one out. :-(

LOVE the Lego challenge. I might try it myself next time I have a case of builders block!

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