My mom adventures in Fort Collins


A really long list of fun things to do with your kids
April 5, 2012, 2:04 am
Filed under: Family, Parenting | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Just a few of my crazy ideas. For the record, before you judge me, I haven’t done near all of these with my kids (who are 4 and 2). This is something I’m hoping will motivate me!

These are the two recipients of my wacky ideas

In the kitchen:

  1. Get out a stool, and make granola together at the counter.
  2. Make homemade playdough together.
  3. Do the dishes together. Or just let the kids play in the soapy water. It can be fun to discover what’s down in the bottom of the sink (as long as it’s not sharp knives).
  4. Make chocolate chip cookies together.
  5. Grate some cheese or carrots. Graters are fun.
  6. Play inventory going through the cupboards and pantry. (Very helpful prior to shopping trips prior to places like Costco or Sam’s Club.)
  7. Play restaurant, and someone can be the server and take one another’s order. This is made even more fun by wearing a dishtowel as an apron.
  8. Prepare different teas and have a taste test.
  9. Select a random array of items (ketchup, orange juice, jelly, A-1 sauce, etc) and allow some experimenting. Offer rewards for anyone willing to sample the experiment (for instance, I offer to make your bed if you try this, or I offer to make your favorite dessert if you try this, etc.).
  10. Walk around the kitchen and show your kids where everything goes, and how things work. Act like a tour guide, and if you have time, make a map of the kitchen, and add assorted things for them to find and act surprised about: “What, toilet paper in the blender? That doesn’t belong here!” “Applesauce in the dishwasher, that’s not right!”

In the bathroom:

  1. Paint your toes.
  2. Use a hairdryer to dry hair, hands, toes, or anything that needs drying. It’s fun to make the kids’ hair fly back and take pictures, too. Just saying.
  3. Fill up a basin, or just use the tub, to create a soothing foot bath, and soak some feet while just chatting. (This can be followed by a pedicure, or just a nail clip, for added enjoyment.)
  4. Play with make up.
  5. Do each other’s hair.
  6. Have fun sniffing different shampoos, lotions, scented balms or other fun products.
  7. Grab some glass cleaner and some dry erase markers, and draw faces on the mirror that your own heads can fit into: add mustaches, wild hair, fun earrings, big eyebrows, etc.
  8. Clean your toothbrushes with peroxide. Kids like the bubbles.

At the computer:

  1. Go to different kid friendly sites (PBSkids.org, nickelodeon, disney, etc) and find coloring pages to print off.
  2. Google different things. (Be mindful of anything with the word “girl” in it, as some unsavory things might pop up.)
  3. Find a map and plot different adventures. It’s fun to get directions overseas just to see what google will say.
  4. Watch videos on youtube together.
  5. Show your kids some family photos on facebook or a blog.
  6. Go through your stored music and play deejay.
  7. Go through your stored photos. Print off photos using your home pirnter, or use a photo website like snapfish or the Costco photocenter to buy prints.
  8. Use the “paint” page, or find a similar page on the web. Let your artist show you how it’s done.
  9. Create e-cards, and send friends or family members a random greeting.
  10. Take goofy photos with your webcam and use the options to distort them—funhouse mirror, sepia tones, psychedelic black-light poster, etc.

In the living room:

  1. Play hot lava, scattering couch cushions all over the floor and jumping to safety on all the furniture.
  2. Make a fort with blankets and furniture.
  3. Pop some popcorn, and sit down to a movie together.
  4. Watch an exercise video on the tv together and get down.
  5. Have a dance party. Use pandora or satellite radio to facilitate this. I’d also highly recommend Laurie Berkner Band, Kids Bop, or a Broadway musical soundtrack.
  6. Make a fire in the fireplace and turn off all the lights to enjoy.
  7. If the kids have a favorite TV show, sit down and watch it with them. Only, decide ahead of time of a fun add-on to make the program more interesting for everyone. For instance, if your kids like Dora, decide that you will get up and run around the house everytime they say “Swiper, no swiping.”

In the yard:

  1. Do some yardwork together: rake, weed, trim bushes, pick up branches, water the flowers, plant some vegetables, etc.
  2. Using a book, the internet, or your noggin, go around your yard (or neighborhood) identifying plants, trees, birds or butterflies.
  3. Wash the car together.
  4. Play hide and seek.
  5. Play hide and seek at night with flashlights.
  6. Create an Easter egg hunt. If Easter eggs are unseasonable, or unavailable, find something else to hide and find, like baseballs, ping pong balls, shoes, cups, etc.
  7. Create a step-by-step treasure hunt with picture or word clues, depending on the age-appropriateness. Make the final treasure a fun prize or a coupon for a fun prize.

In the bedroom:

  1. Go through the closet and drawers and do a fashion show. (This can also be very helpful in determining if there are things that no longer fit.)
  2. Put away laundry together.
  3. Make the bed together.
  4. Rearrange furniture and “redecorate” by adding throw pillows, rugs, blankets, artwork, posters or other accessories. (I like to swap and steal items from different areas of the house.)
  5. Snuggle in bed together, and tell each other stories.

In the neighborhood:

  1. Walk the dog (or just yourselves, if you have no dog).
  2. Ride bikes, scooters, tricycles, rollerskates, skateboards or anything else that you find fun.
  3. Use sidewalk chalk to write fun messages for others to find. “Have a splendid day.” “You are my sunshine.” “Walk like an Egyptian.” Really, the possibilities are endless.
  4. Prepare a scavenger hunt ahead of time with a list (or, for non-readers, a photo/image inspired list). Ask kids to find things like: mail box, red truck, bunny, black cat, tulips, aspen tree, ants, robin, etc.
  5. Do something nice for a neighbor. Place the three newspapers lying on the driveway up by their front door, pick up trash, bring them some cookies, roll the garbage cart back into place, etc.

Take an adventure:

  1. Make a picnic lunch and take it to a local park.
  2. Find a fun walking trail through a nature preserve, park, reservoir, wetland, wildlife refuge, lake, etc.
  3. Bring a blanket and some books to the park and have fun lounging and reading in the sunshine.
  4. Take a family bike ride.
  5. Go to a public pool and go for a swim.
  6. Go to an art museum, science museum, zoo, children’s museum, gallery, history museum, etc.
  7. Go out for ice cream.
  8. Go out for hot chocolate.
  9. Go to the library.
  10. Run an errand. Or run an errand, but pretend you are someone else while running the errand. Use disguises, fake accents, or simply deny the use of language between one another at all (only sign language, or pantomime).

Depending on the weather:

  1. For a rainy day, get out your umbrella and go for a walk. Return home and make hot chocolate or tea.
  2. For a rainy day, make soup together.
  3. For snow, go outside and make snow angels and a snowman.
  4. For snow, go outside and collect some snow (fresh, unblemished snow) for tasting.
  5. For hot weather, set up an experiment to place ice cubes outside, a little dish of water, and a little dish of something else (rubbing alcohol, vinegar, salt water, etc) and try to guess how long it will take for the substances to melt or evaporate.
  6. For hot weather, set up the sprinklers. You can also save things like squeezie bottles (of ketchup, dishsoap, etc) to be used as squirt bottles.

In the office:

  1. Write a letter or a card to someone.
  2. Make some stationery using blank computer paper and your creative genius.
  3. Show kids the different office supplies and what they do: punch holes, staple things, make them lick and taste an envelope.
  4. Go through your office supplies and give the kids the things you no longer need—the self-addressed envelopes for the bills you pay online, the 2011 desk calendar you never used, the post-its you have with an advertisement for some prescription drug, etc. These make for great toys, especially if accompanied by a calculator and a deceased cellphone.

Crafting:

  1. Color something: coloring books, blank paper, cardstock, construction paper, or whatever.
  2. Create a collage with the cut outs from magazines, newspapers, Scholastic book order flyers, old greeting cards, etc.
  3. Use tissue paper, some popsicle sticks, glue and yarn to create a mock-up of a kite.
  4. Arm kids with scissors, glue, maybe some thread and a needle if you’re feeling adventuresome. Now, give kids random scraps: leftover fabric, scrapbooking paper, yarn, the lids to your containers that have no mate (Sidenote: why does this happen?), socks that have no mate (See previous sidenote), buttons, stickers, magazines, etc. Let them come up with something. We can call this “Upcycling.”
  5. Do caricatures of each other. (Use the term “caricatures” loosely.) Ask, “What color do you want your head/hair/ears/nose/lips/etc?” It can also be super fun to add elements—funky hats, holding a tennis racket, with a mustache or beard.
  6. Using the bajillions of random magnets that you have hanging around (or get delivered with your yellow book, get dropped off with the carpet cleaner’s information, etc), and glue fun photos to them.
  7. Make window decorations pertinent to the upcoming holiday.
  8. Using 16 x 20 construction paper and some contact paper, turn a collage into a placemat.
  9. Make snacktime necklaces using string (or dental floss, if all else fails) and some snacky-type food (fruit loops, cheerios, pretzels, those awesome Keebler cookies with the fudge on one-side and big hole in the middle, or whatever else has a hole in it!).
  10. Color something that wouldn’t ordinarily be colored: Using sharpies, turn a plain white coffee mug into something more interesting, personalize the plastic step-stool in the bathroom with stickers and markers.

With books:

  1. Read a book, in run-of-the-mill-fashion.
  2. Read a book like this: Pick a picture book, cover the words and make your little one tell you the story by the pictures.
  3. Change names in a familiar story to include your child or other people that you know. It’s also really fun to change the story. I especially like to introduce quotes by the characters that pertain to utter silliness.
  4. Using photos (or computer print-offs), some tape or gluestick, and an loved-but-expendable paperback book, and put some fun in your favorite story by reinventing the characters as your kids or familiar faces.
  5. Get an art book or coffee table book and page through it together.
  6. Get out a dictionary and find new words together.

Okay, okay, I’m sure this is the most hodgepodge list of things to do with your kids ever. And did you see how I snuck in a few chores? Pretty clever, eh? What are your favorite things to do with your kids?

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