This week, inspiration came from my 7 year old nephew, Con-man. He's such a creative kid :) All the grown-ups were busy, so Con-man pulled out some 16 oz paper cups and a playground ball. He stacked the cups up-side-down in a pyramid shape, with five cups on the bottom, four in the next row, three in the next, and so on. Kind of like the way regular bowling pins are set up, but vertically, and with 5 extra pins.
I was a little skeptical that this would keep the kids occupied for long, but all five of them played for almost an hour, and I'm sure they would have continued for much longer had we not insisted they go to bed.
Try this the next time you need a quick and easy way to keep the kids occupied--you might be surprised by how much fun the kids (and you) will have.