In the past six weeks, we’ve moved three times, not including hotels. Surviving temporary housing with two small boys and no childcare has been a challenge. I mean, wonderful opportunity to bond with my energetic little mons…monkeys.

Having tested numerous strategies to pass time and keep sane in small spaces with children, I thought I would share some of the most effective of these with you.

1. Buy them stuff. Promising a toy from the dollar section at Target can provide you with literally minutes of good behavior.

2. Do things you all enjoy. Like buying them stuff.

3. Portable crafts. Bendaroos! Fun to say, fun to use. Hours of fun (for mom). You will painstakingly make adorable animals. They will dismantle your work and fashion tiny machine guns and ninja swords.

4. Try to sing Katie Perry’s Baby You’re a Firework with your three-year old until he gets tired of it, or until you want to stuff bubblegum into your temporal lobe to make the noise stop. Actually, it’s a sweet song, and the video has a lovely message, which my kids interpreted as “be yourself and you’ll most likely catch fire.”

5. Decrease your nutritional standards to the point where a pickle counts as your vegetable for the week. I mean day. (I meant week.)

6. Movies. For only $10 each ($67 each with snacks) take the family to a matinee. Only your five-year old will stay awake. Except during Kung Fu Panda 2 which, of course, is the best movie since the first Kung Fu Panda.

7. Never overestimate what the kids need to have a good time. My boys can take a 6 X 6 empty room, and turn it into the Power Rangers Samurai Dojo. An unoccupied strip of grass or sidewalk is even better. Just like with dogs, you need a “boy run.”

8. Take full advantage of the temporary aspect of your housing. Don’t bother putting things away. Take turns clearing a path from the front door to the fridge.

How do you entertain your kiddos in small, temporary living spaces? Your suggestion may just make our day.