No More Witching Hour! 10 Things to Do Between Dinner & Bedtime

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Today, we’re going to say “No” to the witching hour: the hour between dinner and bedtime when things sometimes just get out of hand… Amanda is sharing 10 things do during the witching hour to help make the most of the time with your kids.

Hi! Thanks to Jamie for asking me to write a guest post. I’m Amanda and live in Adelaide, South Australia with my husband, 3.5yr old son Pumpkin and 1.5yr old daughter Koala. Life is busy!

I’m in awe of how much Jamie manages to do with her children, some days feel like we’re just managing the essentials (although I admit that not all my ‘essentials’ are the same as everyone else’s).

Things to do with the kids during the witching hour

We have a loose routine in the evenings; at the moment it includes dinner starting anytime between 5.20pm and 5.45pm, and then bath around 6.30pm followed by stories and bed. My husband arrives home around the time we start eating (hence the more flexible start time), and so we try to have play time between dinner and bath when he can reconnect.

This time has been a great way to add anything we missed – sometimes I use it to get us out the house or burn off any extra energy.

Sometimes we go for a walk, ride around the block or go to the local park, as much if I feel like I’ve been inside all day.

Does anyone else wonder what to do at this time of day?


Here’s my top ten things to do after dinner

During the witching hour, before bath/stories/bedtime routine.

Hide and Seek. An old classic. Sometimes we do this in teams, one adult taking each child. My 1.5 year old daughter Koala loves being found!

Hot and cold. One of us hides a toy or other object and then gives clues to find it (hot means they’re very close, cold they’re far away). Or do it the opposite way and play the What’s Missing? game.

Pin the tail. A new game Pumpkin keeps requesting is pin the tail on the dinosaur. We’ve tried drawing it on cardboard, but the easiest version is drawing a dinosaur (or any other shape) onto our easel with chalk (affiliate link), and sticking on a tail out of cardboard and tape.

Obstacle courses in the backyard (Jamie has so many hints on how to do this I don’t think I need to elaborate).

Gardening. Sometimes (mostly in warmer weather) we pick fruit or water plants. Fruit picking works better in our house with a better adult to child ratio!

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Pretend play. Although I don’t generally start a new structure or activity, this is often a great way for Pumpkin and Koala to show their dad anything new or exciting that they have done during the day.

Cardboard boxes. A favourite all year round.

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Sensory play. Koala was given a sensory rice advent calendar last Christmas, and both children loved having 10-20 minutes playing with this. Each evening we would hide a different object for them to discover. This worked so well that I will try to do it more often.

Find more sensory activities here.

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Books. We read books before bed, but some days Pumpkin and Koala are worn out, and they love lying down and unwinding with us.

Have you tried interactive books for kids?

Cuddles/wrestling/piggy backs or ‘shoulder-bone rides’ (the name Pumpkin has given to a ride over one of dad’s shoulder!

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Enjoy the witching hour from now on!