I'ts a rainy or subzero day. You just need fifteen minutes in the kitchen, on the computer, or if it's a really bad day, in the closet. But every time you step out of the room all heck breaks loose. Ok, here's a few ways to get fifteen minutes of less chaos. Not no chaos cuz that, my friend, is not possible.
#1 - Humongous Playdough
Some kids are happy with playdough anytime, but if your kids are bored with those little cans of dough, do something a little different. It will take a few minutes but provide about a year's worth of play. Make a playdough recipe and let them play with the entire thing in one big, squishy ball. I find that letting the younger ones sit at a highchair with the dough on the tray is helpful in controlling any mess. For older kids, I use a black lawn bag, unfolded onto the table. Spritz the table with water or run a very damp cloth over it before laying the bag down, and the bag won't slide off the table.
#2 - BubbleMania
Lay a large blanket or sheet out on the floor. Make a big sinkful of bubbles with dishsoap, and give the kids the biggest bowl you have, full of bubbles. Make sure they have plenty of spoons, cups, whisks etc. I have had great results with this for kids from ages 2 up to 7. If the kids are able, you might also let them blow bubbles with bubble solution in the blanket zone.
#3 Indoor "Pool"
Do you have one of those kids who will spend 45 minutes in the tub playing & never get a single hair wet? At 6:30 pm this is a highly stressful trait. Any other time, this is an ace up your sleeve. Use it to your advantage, then, and let your little one put on a swimsuit, take out a beach towel (or a whole bunch of beach towels, depending on your kid's play style) and fill the tub with toys. I leave the bathroom door open so I can monitor my seven year old while he's in there creating tidal waves & whirlpools. I learned when I left a squeegee in the tub once that he will scrub the walls and shower door as part of his play! (hey, it's worth a try) Assume there will be water flying, and lay out old towels so you don't have a mopping job afterward.