Fun activities to do with your children
- Instant Story
Tell your child that you're going to create a story about anything he wants -- and he can make it as outrageous or funny as he wishes. One of you then provides the opening line, and you take turns adding new sentences. Write the sentences on paper so you can read the story out loud afterward. You can also create instant stories while riding in the car or preparing dinner.
- Movie Maker
Have your child write a video script and then videotape it. Play whatever characters he or she needs and enlist the help of other family members (including the dog!) and friends. The video could be a mini movie, a commercial, or even a music video.
- Mini Museum
Give your child a space in the basement or garage where he can create an exhibit. Let him choose the theme and have him change it often. The display could either hang from the ceiling or be on a table. It could be all about school and include test papers and artwork, or it could be about dinosaurs, cars, jungle animals -- whatever he's interested in. When he's done creating each exhibit, have a "show" where he presents his creation to you.
- Pretend Play
Let your child pretend to be whoever she wants to be. Fill a box with a variety of clothing and accessories. Let her change outfits as many times as she wants, and put on some makeup and do her hair by herself. After she dresses up, ask her to play the part. You can extend the activities by suggesting she put on a backyard performance or a play in the garage. Help set the stage with props and a background.
- Scavenger Hunt
Make a list of items for your child to find throughout the house. Or make a list if simple questions that he needs answer by either researching them online, in books or magazines, or by talking to other family members. When your child has completed a hunt, present him with a small prize
- Remember When...
Play a silly game of 'Remember When...'. For example, "Remember when Daddy went to the store and brought back an elephant?" The other person continues the story with "And Remember When...", incorporating something from the last sentence: "And Remember When Jeffery taught the elephant to play the piano?" And so on. This can get really silly, especially if you write the story down and read it later.
- Food Pyramid
Post a copy of the Food Guide Pyramid on your refrigerator, and invite kids to help plan family meals that include the recommended servings from each of the food groups. This way they'll learn how to make sound nutritional choices and eat a balanced diet.
- Cultural Food Night
Together with your kids, plan and make a meal from another country, such as Mexico, Italy, or Japan. Bring out a globe or look at a picture of the country and its people, and discuss how the geography and climate determine the types of food people eat and the ingredients they use.
- Shopping Challenge
Instead of simply dragging children along to the market, involve them in the shopping process. Ask children to weigh produce, so they can learn about weights and measures. Let kids practice math skills by counting out the money at the register. When kids help pick out foods to cook, they tend to eat them more readily. Let them choose a new healthy food to try each week, such as a fruit, vegetable, cheese, or bread (not a new cookie or candy!).
- Kitchen Classroom
Think of creative ways to use your kitchen as a classroom. For instance, play the spice cabinet ABCs (A is for allspice, B is for basil, C is for curry, etc.). Explain how to set the table using a clock drawn on a paper plate (glasses go at the 2:00 position, forks are placed at 9:00, and so on).
- Shampoo Fun
Try the new shampoos and conditioners or "bath crayons" made of soap. These often have kid-friendly scents like strawberry and watermelon (but make sure your child understands they're not for eating!).
- Whacky Hair
Sculpt your child's shampooed hair into different shapes. Let her peek in a handheld mirror to see how funny she looks.
- Zoo Trip
Most kids love the zoo and admission is usually very inexpensive. Read a book about zoo animals before you go. You can also have the kids draw pictures of the animals before going to the zoo. Bring the drawings and have the kids compare the pictures to the animal.
- Nostalgia Night
Try some of the childhood favorite games like 'Go Fish' or 'Parcheesi'. Dominoes can be used for mix and match by a five-year old and most eight-year olds enjoy dominoes.
- Card Games
Most children love card games, and there are plenty of easy ones for younger kids, too. If all else fails, show them how to play '52-Card Pickup'. :)
- Balloon Basketball
Inflate a balloon. Make a simple hoop out of a coat hanger and hang it low enough so the child can almost reach it. Using one finger, keep the balloon floating in the air, and try to get it through the hoop. At the end of the game, the player with the highest score gets to pop the balloon.
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