It’s our first day without the kiddies since before Easter (have your school-agers gone back yet? If not, we deeply feel for you) and we are broken!

Our 5 Minute working mums heaved a giant sigh of relief in the office today as they closed Excel spreadsheets of childcare: grandparents, babysitters, childminders, long lost cousins, random people they could drag in off the street to take care of her dear darling ones. And the stay-at-home mums would have danced with happiness if they hadn’t been so god-damn exhausted, as they packed the small people off to their free babysitting service. But hey, we did it! And now it’s a whole half term until the next one…

Unfortunately, they’ll be home from school later and we’re already plotting how to prepare dinner whilst providing some sort of FUN! COME ON MUMMY, PERFORM! So today’s tip is 5 games using fridge magnets. If you don’t have these in your arsenal, we recommend getting some.

1. Word building

Depending on their age your small people can either build their own words or ones suggested by you. And of course they always love writing their own name. The world revolves around them, you know. We like these traditional letters because they’re lower case and there are plenty of them. Try: Early Learning Centre magnetic letters, £8.00

2. Drawing

This isn’t strictly for kids but a magnetic board with a wipe-clean pen provides a surface for drawing that can be wiped and re-used again and again. Or draw something and challenge your child to write what it is. But be kind: Dog. No silly, it’s an antelope! Try: Magnetic memo board, £3.20

3. Storytelling

Animal magnets are perfect for creating pictures that tell a story. A few questions from you will keep this going a bit longer: “Who’s the lion going to visit? Oh the duck! How lovely. What are they going to do? The lion’s going to bite off his head? Ah. I suppose he would. Very clever darling.” Try: Melissa & Doug wooden animals, £9.99

4. Counting

These numbers look lovely as well as providing the challenge to put them in order. You could combine this with another magnet set and challenge your child to put the right number of animals (headless ducks) next to each number. Try: Vilac number magnets, £11.61

5. Shape pictures

We love this set of shapes with their own magnetic wooden box, so you can play this game on the road as well as on the fridge. Lots and lots of shapes that can be used to build pictures – like fuzzy felt (remember that?) but not fuzzy or felty. Try: Viga magnetic shapes and box £15.99

What your small person just learnt

Aside from the obvious benefits of counting, building words and making pictures, those grabby little hands are going to get a workout, too. Plus, telling you what they’re doing is the beginning of STORYTELLING. That’s quite a lot of learning ticked off in 5 mins.