Hand them over to grandma (if you can of course). Both side grandmas in our family are known for telling great stories, playing board games and enjoying make believe tea parties. That failing ...... with my nieces I had made up a sort of club when they were around 5 and 9 years old respectively. Every week we would get together, wear our badges, pay our club dues, and start the meeting. Each week one person picks a topic and each member gets a week to express that theme in any way they like. Our topics were stuff like...
- If I could invent any product I would design a.....
- If I were the principal of a school
- If I could run my own country
- If I could design my own kingdom
- If there was no gravity in the world
- If I could have any kind of room I wished for
- If I lived in a jungle
The older one could logically think out the criteria and write about it, write a poem about it, make a model of it etc. The younger one usually drew her interpretation of it. Because there were 2 of them they had a little competition with it. I would do my bit too (although I was an adult) and it just inspired them to do better then me. It would really keep them busy for hours on end. All on their own ... only asking for spellings once in a while. The whole exercise was lots of fun and the stuff they came up with was hilarious. Points to be remembered were that no one cared about what was right or wrong, it was a flight of fantasy, spellings didn't matter and no one was really better than the other. It was just a place to express yourself.
The money we collected was distributed in 3 ways. a third went to the poor, a third for a treat for themselves and a third went into the club to buy better stationary. Good memories and time well spent. The point of it was basically to let them make executive decisions.
Alternatetively with my younger niece we used to build models of cities ... using trash. Once we designed our own playground. We took a large piece of cardboard and collected old boxes, different textured paper, basically all packaging from the food we bought and some toilet rolls and colorful paper. Just look at the shape of the material and make it into apparatus for the playground. Great for promoting engineering skills. Give them lots of space to come up with things the way they want it. The last thing to do was to paint the whole thing. She loved it so much she kept it under her bed and wouldn't part with it for years.
If you don't want to play with them any more and don't want them watching telly .... then you could invest in some audio c.d.'s. It helps them develop language skills, listening skills and encourages imagination.
Other then that ... go for really good classics in cartoons. My reccos. Aristocats, Lady and the Tramp, Bambi, Cinderella and Mary Poppins.