Or, what works for us Wednesday :) When your homeschooling 3 children at different grade levels, "give me 5 minutes please," is something I would say quite frequently to my kids. My oldest is pretty independent, and thanks to our work strips, they always know what their supposed to be doing. My younger 2 however, need a lot of direction. I try my best to stay organized, and set things up ahead of time, so that everything runs smoothly. It just doesn't always happen like that. There's days when certain lessons run longer or shorter than I account for, which then leaves someone sitting there waiting for my help.
My kids were getting into trouble playing fetch with the dogs (using their pencils), so I came up with activity bags. These have been a huge help to us all! The kids love them, and they've actually become more productive (they look forward to the bags).
Each bag has a different activity in it, to keep them occupied for a few minutes. I put simple activities in them, that can be cleaned up quickly and easily, and are inexpensive. Each bag has everything in it needed for that activity. Here's a few of the activities in our bags
pattern blocks w/ patterns
water color w/ paper and water container (clean empty pudding cup)
how to draw books w/ paper
make a sign w/ neon cutouts and foam shapes and letters
noodle jewelry making (dyed pasta and yarn)
search and find containers (dyed rice in clear containers w/ small toys and buttons
The best part, is that everything in our bags came from the dollar tree (including the gallon ziplock bags), or around the house. Super easy, and super affordable way to occupy the kids, to buy yourself those few minutes you need. These have become so popular in my house, that my kids ask to use them during their free time now, instead of playing video games. Yay!