Game you can play lying down: Tattoo Parlor

Amazon: Crayola 12ct Washable Markers Merrill's a brave, creative mom who has hopefully hidden the Sharpies:

I was a mom of a 4 year old and an infant.  I was tired.  My 4 year old had long since given up her nap and my baby was a great napper – during the day.  Did I mention how tired I was?

One day after Baby was down for a nap, I gave my 4 year old a box of washable markers and I stripped down to my undies.  I grabbed a pillow and lay on the floor and we played Tattoo Parlor.  She covered my entire back (legs and arms too) with a work of art and I got a much needed 20 minute nap.  It washed off with no problem.

I love it. Other possibilities:

  • Hair salon: You sit in a comfy chair while your kid brushes your hair
  • Massage Parlor: You lie on the floor while your kid give you a backrub
  • Pet store: You're a sleepy doggy your kid gets to "pet"
  • Mummy: You lie on the floor, the kids wrap you in a sheet, you occasionally make scary noises but otherwise remain motionless

Other ideas?

Related: How to find downtime when your kid won't nap


  1. Rob says

    That must be dog tired, because I personally wouldn’t be able to sleep with all that writing being done on me, LOL.

  2. Lyn Never says

    Aw, my mom had me draw on her legs so she could nap when I was little. I loved it.

  3. M'Lynn says

    I can sleep no matter what. I will definitely keep this hack filed away in my mental rolodex!

  4. none says

    I wonder if I could trust my toddler to not wander off and find the one surface the markers wouldn’t wash out of?

  5. Kimberly says

    Tried this during a 4-day snowstorm when cabin fever struck. Not only were my legs colorfully decorated, my toes got a “pedicure” too! Whoever invented washable markers should be nominated for sainthood.

  6. Zed says

    This is a fabulous hack, and I plan to use it, except that I would call it “Draw on Mommy Time” or something like that. I oppose permanent tattoos, so I’m not so inclined to call it playing “tattoo parlor.” I know, I know…it’s not going to scar their little psyches, but it’s the principle of the thing. There are other parallels. For instance, you wouldn’t play “animal poacher” if you opposed animal poaching, would you?

  7. Chris says

    Water table/bathtub is another good way to combine the parent relaxes/takes care of essential functions and the toddler plays happily, especially if you can be temporarily indifferent to spilled water out of the tub.

  8. Nedra Zeall says

    Washable markers! Man I had makings for days. I had just grabbed any marker the last time I let her write all over me. It actually started because she said she wanted tattoos like Mama so I drew a bunch on her. Our tats lasted for a couple of days. I never said I was a smart parent.

  9. scurvyann says

    Can’t wait to try this one! THANKS! Maybe we’ll use the scented washable markers for an aromatherapy treatment!

  10. fidget says

    excellent idea, though knowing my kid I’d peel myself off the floor to find a body outline CSI style on my new floors

  11. DaveX says

    “Haircut” (involving only combs, brushes, hairties, NO SCISSORS) works equally well for me. I usually wouldn’t want to actually fall asleep, but some down-time laying about is equally nice.