The frustration and a noticeable lack of productivity in an unfocussed child is not hard to spot. If you find yourself struggling trying to juggle your own errands and chores with some sort of playful or educational “distraction” for your children that have nowhere to go, here are three types of activities that can keep them busy while you go about your business.

This solar robot set can be used to build 12 different robots, encouraging kids to learn about mechanics and engineering. Sillbird

If you’re like many parents, you’d prefer you kids be doing something more productive than just watching television or playing video games. Educational activities and toys can be just the ticket for keeping them busy and helping them learn important skills at the same time. For educational toys and tools, be sure you carefully read the age group an activity is recommended for before purchasing. Get an activity for kids younger than yours, and they’ll become bored very quickly. Get one that is too advanced, and they’ll likely be knocking on your office door with question after question. Remember that kids learn in more ways than just solving math problems, reading and writing. Building things from kits teaches them many skills from simple logic to patience to persistence. Shy away from those activities that look boring, as they also need to be fun for kids, not just educational.

This kit provides kids with hours of fun creating their own window art. Made By Me

Kids of all ages love arts and crafts—especially if they have something cool to show for it at the end. In fact, making something is a pleasurable activity for all ages, and many arts and crafts kits are available commercially that will keep your children busier than just handing them a coloring book and a package of crayons. Consider letting your kids make crafts or decorations for elderly relatives who they might not have been able to visit recently. As with educational activities, match crafts to your kids’ age group or you’ll likely have more trouble than you would without the activity.

This U.S. map floor puzzle helps teach kids American geography while they enjoy putting the pieces in place. Melissa & Doug

Puzzles have been popular with all ages for many years, and there’s little doubt that the right puzzle will keep your kids busy and content longer than the average conference call lasts. While age ranges on boxes are important, picking the right puzzle for your children is better based on the difficulty of the puzzle. In a nutshell, difficulty is based on the number of pieces, how large or small the pieces are, the thickness or material used in making the pieces and even how much past experience your child has at making puzzles. It’s good to pick a puzzle that the picture on the finished project will hold their interest, and if you get one that teaches them something in the process, that’s even better!