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Finding the happiness in the messiness

Holly Aprecio Photography

Seattle-area mom Asia Citro is not only the brilliantly creative blogger behind FunAtHomeWithKids.com, she’s also releasing her first book this November. 150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids collects some of the blog’s best ideas for fun playtime activities for kids under 10, along with dozens of new ways for kids to get lost in imaginative play.

We caught up with the busy mom to chat about life as a blogger and author, and her best tips for getting kids to play happily without a screen in sight.

How did you get started blogging?

As a stay-at-home-mom I know how hard it is to keep kiddos entertained all day long, so I thought I'd share some things [on Facebook] that worked for us. A handful of close friends urging me to start a blog gave me the inspiration to start it.

How do you fit it all in a day?

Planning and prepping activities doesn't take too much time; we have a whole pantry full of necessary supplies. Blogging is basically all I do in my evenings after the kids are in bed.

Writing the book, however, was a massive undertaking. I could not have done it without a lot of help from my family and friends and a lot of patience from my kiddos.

Did you find it difficult to embrace the messiness of creative play?

I used to, absolutely. At this point, though, we are involved in messy play nearly every day. The kids are very, very good about keeping the mess contained. My kids find such joy in messy play, it easily outweighs any effort I have to put forth in cleanup.

Do you have any tips for parents who are struggling to get their kids excited for screen-free time?

Yes! Play with them.

When my son was first born he had a lot of health problems, and my daughter got extra iPad time while we addressed his needs. She really had a hard time putting it down. Rather than confiscating it, I took a sneakier approach. I'd set up something within her line of sight and start playing with it myself. She'd come see what it was and end up involved in whatever activity for hours.

Once you get the ball rolling [with] engaging alternatives and are ready to sit down and play with your kids, getting them interested in screen-free time is much easier. 

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