Finding Fun Activities For Kids When They Can’t Find Any Themselves!

Why are you reading an article on finding fun activities for kids?

Perhaps you were attracted by the short, snappy title and the promise of many pearls of wisdom contained within?!

Was it just another way to waste time you really should be spending working?!

Finding Fun Activities For Kids When They Can’t Find Any Themselves!

Or, possibly, you are the same as most of us… With children to entertain, the simplest of daily activities – a car journey, a shopping trip – suddenly becomes much more stressful. You need ideas. And you need them fast. This magical promise of ideas has lured you in… Ideas to transform the most mundane of tasks into an activity fun for kids too.

A quick Internet search will show you that there’s a lot out there (‘bored kids’ yields over 3 million sites!). Be honest, this is not the first article you’ve read that claims to have all the answers to the age-old problem of keeping your kids busy.

A correction : this article doesn’t claim to have all the answers. However, with any luck you might find one or two ideas here that will stop your nerves from being frazzled just yet…

Be a spin-doctor.
In today’s political environment, the ‘spin-doctor’ is widely regarded as someone pretty low on the popularity scale. Putting a positive ‘spin’ on otherwise negative looking unemployment statistics or election results can often look like thinly disguised dishonesty.

Parents? Teachers? It’s time to reclaim the role of spin-doctor for ourselves. That’s right; we’ve been doing it for centuries. Of course, kids can often see through the old “It’s not broccoli, it’s a mini-tree… Now eat it up!” But that doesn’t mean the ancient art of spin is dead. Keep at it.

Laying the table can be turned into a game where someone plays the role of an extremely discerning guest and your child has to lay the table as a posh waiter possible. Give it a catchy title (Sack the Waiter? Posh Nosh?) and you’ll soon see your kids having fun whilst doing the most menial chore.

Use humour.
I once knew a teacher who, before a test of any sort, said to his class, “I’ve got a fun activity for you today. I just can’t wait to see your excited faces…” The kids, of course, knew exactly what this meant and groaned on cue; but they loved the way it was dealt with. Recognise that going grocery shopping isn’t going to be number one on your kid’s ‘Fun Activity List’ and use this to your advantage. “Guess where I’ve planned for us to go today. Your favourite place?” Cue groans. “I was only planning to be quick, but seeing as you enjoy it so much… We can take all morning if you like?!” Before you know it, you’ll have a child begging you to do a quick shop. You may even have a pair of hands to speed things up!

Do your research.
As mentioned already, there are plenty of websites in existence that claim to provide ‘fun’ activities for kids. Be careful, however. Many of these charge a join-up fee and don’t provide a great deal in return. Your best bet is to search for articles that simply promise ideas. Keep a notebook of what you find. Having done your research, you will be less likely to be stumped when crunch-time comes.

And on the subject of ideas…  

Here are one or two to start you off. All of them stem from possible boredom hotspots and I hope that they prove to be as useful as you hope they will be!

- YOU’RE THE DJ! (for the long car journey) Using a CD or a local radio station, it can be fun for your kids if you let them play the role of DJ. They have to rate each track a Hit, Miss or Maybe and even predict what you think of each one.

- RECONNAISANCE MAN/WOMAN (for the nature walk) If going on a walk instils boredom in your kids, fun can be established by having a ‘rekky’ beforehand. What unique sights are on the route? Then when you return, instead of telling your children they are going for a walk, invite them on a voyage of discovery. “Do you want to see a sheep’s skull?” “Have you ever seen a flower that looks like a man’s face?”

- THE FORGETFUL WAITER (for the meal-table) Someone closes their eyes after studying the table carefully. An object is taken and hidden. What’s missing? What did the waiter forget? A good test of observation skills.

- MAKING A ROUGHIE (for time spent in the kitchen) A roughie is like a smoothie… but far more delicious. You will need a banana, some yoghurt, a variety of squashable fruit and a big bowl. Although you may not find this activity much fun, for kids to squidge, squash and smudge the ingredients between their fingers is a feeling second to none! Let them drink (eat?) the resulting mess!

There are more ideas where those came from. And you can think of them yourself. Think of the times you most need a series of fun activities for your kids…

Do some research with a reliable site, add a little spin, a catchy title, use humour and you’ll be surprised what results.

The art of the spin doctor is not dead yet.

Ivana Katz of Kids Universe says she is old enough to know better, but young enough to do it again, as she rides camels, swims with dolphins and often embarrasses her son. If you want to join her on adventures and find things to do with kids, join her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/KidsUniverse

Fun Activities for Kids: Exploring Through The Senses

Every child loves to have fun. As a parent you can motivate, teach and empower children through the use of fun activities for kids. For children under the age of 10, there are many things that are fun for kids but at the same time teach them something useful or help them to explore their surroundings. A good way to do this is through using their senses.

Kids Activities - Exploring Through The Senses

The following activities are interesting, unique ways to help your child of any age to learn about their senses.

Exploring the Sense of Smell

For younger children, the sense of smell can be an amazing thing, something that they don’t think about. The sense of smell is not just a simple sense. There are many ways to have fun exploring it. For example, blind fold a child and ask them to find a specific scent within a room. Place strong smelling items in various corners throughout the room. Let their nose guide them from place to place.

For younger children, it can also be fun to have a smelling contest where parents give each blind folded child something to smell and they have to guess what it is. Exploring the sense of smell can be a lot of fun and educational, too.

Using Your Eyes

For children, being able to see is something they take for granted. Take this away and your child is in a world that is completely foreign to them. After removing all of the harmful objects from a room, have the child close their eyes and identify certain objects. The other senses are heightened when they can’t see.

For older children, purchase or find online a book of optical illusions. From moving surfaces to objects that look like others, this is a fantastic way to explain how the inner eye works and why the brain and eyes have to work together to understand the image.

Feeling Something New

There is nothing more fun than getting dirty and for this activity kids can get a bit messy. To teach them about the sense of touch, take an empty shoe box and turn it upside down, open side down. Cut out just a large enough hole in one end to allow the child’s arm to reach in. Then, secretly put different items under the box and have them guess what they are. Try cold spaghetti, homemade slime and cold, round ice cubes. They are sure to be wondering just what you having them touch. This is a great way to get children to learn through play.

Hearing Something Fun

Kids learn through creative play. You can teach your child about their sense of hearing fairly easily. A fun kids game to play is to simply have them close their eyes and listen to sounds over various areas of the room. Or, head outside in a very safe area. Blind fold them and take turns calling the individual to come towards your voice. See how long it takes until they find you! Keep an eye on them to be sure they are safe, of course.

For younger children, boys and girls play can be as simple as guessing what sounds are from a recording. For older children, even teens, have the child listen to a chord of music and try to mimic the sound with their voice. Ba…ba.ba.ba….

Tasting They Will Love

Since children learn through play, a great way to help them learn the sense of taste is trying new foods. But, how do you get a child that is picky willing to taste new foods? There are several things to do here. First, invite them into the kitchen. Allow the child to help peel and cut (age appropriate and safe) and have them help with any other method of preparing meals. Encourage them to make their own foods, too. Perhaps they would like to make something with you, that they create. Good or bad tasting, they still get to see the transformation of taste in their mouths.

With older children, explore textures, too. The crunch of a carrot mixed with the softness of bread creates a unique texture in the mouth. What happens when vegetables are cooked instead of eaten raw? Explore each of these areas thoroughly with them.

Fun activities for kids can fall into that learning category, too. Kids love to explore new things and play games, especially when mom or dad gets to help them with it. Best of all, you will want to spend your time explaining why things happen the way they do. These kids fun games and projects are something you can do with your child!

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Ivana Katz of Kids Universe says she is old enough to know better, but young enough to do it again, as she rides camels, swims with dolphins and often embarrasses her son. If you want to join her on adventures and find things to do with kids, join her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/KidsUniverse

5 Ways To Make Parenting Fun

Making parenting fun can be a challenge sometimes - the endless hours, the stress and of course those less than perfect times when no one is cooperating. But, how can you make even these times more enjoyable? There is a variety of ways that you can give kids fun without making everything child’s play. In other words, you can definitely help your children to enjoy themselves, learn and grow, while still following the rules.

Before you read these methods for making parenting fun, keep in mind that you should have some ground rules in place. There should always be a rule about respecting each other. Lay down the rules about safety. Even in the most fun games, there are rules to follow. The same thing is true for parenting. You need to establish what the rules will be, then you can have fun within them. Here are some ideas for making learning fun.

Making Parenting Fun

#1: Sing a Song
Most parents will want children to learn responsibility and how to care for their things. Even children as young as two and three can be taught to put their things away. But, chores are no fun. They can lead to temper tantrums too. A good way to overcome this is to introduce some music. Talk to your child about the reasons that they do have to help out and contribute to the family by doing their chores. Then, make it fun.
Let them know that they have until the song ends to clean up all the toys on the floor. · Give them the chance to sing their favorite song while they put their clothing away. · Have your kids dance away their toys: they pick up the toys, do a few twirls and put them right into the toys box!

Making music part of the process relaxes everyone and still gets the job done. It can be one of the best ways to motivate your child.

#2: Get Down There With Them
Children want to know that mom and dad are people that they love to be around. If you are the type of parent that just tells your kids what to do, let loose. Get down on the floor and play with them. Get out the board games or play a game of charades. You are still being a parent, but, you are spending quality time with your children that they will remember for the long term. This is one of the best ways to teach kids to act, too. They will follow your lead over anyone else’s.

#3: Invite Them Into The Kitchen
Cooking, cleaning, homework…the kitchen is a place where a lot of things happen. Get your kids involved with what you do in the kitchen, too. Older children can even learn to cook, or at least help to make cookies. You are making parenting fun by instilling these skills into your child, but also you are doing something with them.

#4: Tell Stories
There will be times when parenting is not fun. It could be a time when you just can’t find the right words to say, such as when someone gets hurt or when there is an argument. In these times, you can still make parenting fun by explaining through story telling. It can be hard to understand, for example, why the family pet passed away, but when you explain how you felt, what you did, and what happened to you when you were a child and lost your first pet, then your children will understand too. Sure, the topic is not fun, but the way you give the lesson can be. Children latch on to these memories and educational bits far more than the lessons they learn at school.

#5: Be Flexible
Physically, it is important to be flexible with the kids (nothing like fighting with a child that seems to have more limbs than he should.) At the same time, be flexible with your child on a daily basis. Kids have fun when you incorporate fun activities into their day. Bend the rules. Be a little late if it means doing something fun. Here are some ideas.
Ride a bike to school with the kids once a week. · Have a picnic in the backyard if you can’t make it to the park. · Play a game of football with the kids in the yard: you versus all of them. · Help them with their homework instead of hounding them to get it done. · Take the family to the park you used to play at. · Get in a water gun fight with them or a water balloon fight. · Play tag. · Let them stay up late if they don’t have to get up in the morning and tell ghost stories together.

The more creative you can be as a parent, the more fun kids will have. Making parenting fun is not only fun for your child, but it can be fun for you. Imagine the memories you are creating with each one of these fun activities for kids. Chances are good these things will stick with your child.  The rules are followed, but the kids are also having fun.

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Ivana Katz of Kids Universe says she is old enough to know better, but young enough to do it again, as she rides camels, swims with dolphins and often embarrasses her son. If you want to join her on adventures and find things to do with kids, join her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/KidsUniverse

How Children Learn Through Play

Lessons from books are great, but children learn through play far better than they do in other forms. There are several reasons for this. At the heart of it is their desire to learn. When learning is not so much work but is fun, children are more willing to participate. They want to jump in and have a good time. As a parent, the more that you can teach through play, the more that your child will retain later on. While some skills need to be taught formally, such as math facts and reading, there are still great ways to teach through play.

How Kids Learn Through Play

Children learn through various methods, but often their physical and social world teaches them the most. Even small infants learn this way. Parents can enhance a young child’s learning process by giving them a variety of ways to learn through sight, touch, taste and smell. For infants, play the games that children love, such as peek a boo and other interactions that teach cause and effect. It also teaches them how to interact socially with their families.

As children grow older, they still need stimulation. Remember, kids having fun gives them an added incentive to do the activity you want them to. Pretend play is one of the core elements of the development of imagination. Pack up a truck full of great costumes (you can pick these up very inexpensively after Halloween) and encourage both boys and girls to play. What you will find is that many of the role playing games they play now are direct reflections of the experiences they have had. For example, a child who may be going to daycare for the first time, may practice leaving her baby doll at a pretend daycare. The act is helpful, but the conversations they have of telling the doll that “mommy will be back very soon” will help them later to deal with their fears of being left. Encourage this type of play.

Child’s play through the years changes even more so. During preschool and kindergarten, one of the best ways to teach a child is through stories and pictures. They learn to interact with each other as well as with the outside world. For example, set the stage for a great adventure story. Read them the story during the morning hours. Then, give them a few ideas and let them act out the story in their own way. You can teach many of the fundamentals in this manner, everything from manners to helping those in need.

Other activities to encourage helping children learn through play include:

  • Craft projects: they explore their talents and explore texture, dimension, color and shapes
  • Dance: They explore their physical bodies and stay physically fit
  • Building with blocks: Everything from wooden blocks to Lego’s helps children to learn structure, dimension, balance, and help them to grow their imagination.
  • Drawing: Use various types of mediums from paints to pencil to help them to learn numbers, letters, shapes and much more

These activities can incorporate other skills, too. For example, perhaps an art project can center around a specific letter of the alphabet. Do not be elaborate, but do be dramatic.

Kids having fun is something you definitely want to consider for the long term. For example, children who are nine years old and up need to develop great reasoning skills and need to learn to think strategically. They also need to develop good social skills. Great ways for kids having fun through these lessons can be anything from fun science projects to advanced building sets done in teams and even 3-D puzzles. Encourage computer projects and video games as well. Unbelievably, the video game they love to play is teaching them great hand eye coordination (assuming that the content within it is appropriate.)

How children learn through play is really up to you, their parent. Encouraging them to play, pretend, and learn all go hand in hand. The skills most children learn at these early ages are not just their math facts and their ABC’s, but they are the foundations of how to learn, how to interact with other people, and how to explore, reason and strategize. These items will carry on with them throughout their lives.

Ivana Katz of Kids Universe says she is old enough to know better, but young enough to do it again, as she rides camels, swims with dolphins and often embarrasses her son. If you want to join her on adventures and find things to do with kids, join her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/KidsUniverse

Fun Activities for Kids – Birthday Craft Activities

Planning your child’s birthday party doesn’t have to be stressful. Here are some great ideas for their party.  It’s amazing how much fun one can have with just a few simple ingredients.

Fun Activities for Kids - Birthday Craft Activities

Spider Snacks
Age suitability: 2+

You will need (per spider): two cheese biscuits, a spoonful of cream cheese, 8 Twiglets or chipsticks, two sultanas

A fun way to eat a birthday tea – your kids can prepare their own! Take two round cheese biscuits and, using a dollop of cream cheese, sandwich them together, leaving a 1cm gap. Use the Twiglets (or chipsticks) to represent legs by sticking them into the cheese. Sultanas should be added for eyes, after which you can all gobble up your spiders together.

Fairy Cake Mountain
Age suitability: 2+

You will need: plain ready-cooked fairy cakes (the higher the number, the taller your mountain!), a selection of edible cake-decorations (icing, sprinkles, chocolate shavings, chopped strawberries etc)

If you provide your child with a certain amount of freedom here, it can be tremendously enjoyable to build one of these. Give them free rein to decorate about 20 plain cakes with coloured icing, sprinkles and chopped strawberries. Pile them high on a plate; stick the candle on the mountain’s peak.

Secret Rice Jar
Age suitability: 4+

You will need: a jam jar, rice, a cardboard tube and a birthday treat (chocolate or sweets work well)

If your child enjoys playing tricks on adults, they will enjoy making a Secret Rice Jar. Find a jam jar with lid and pour in a thin layer of rice. Take a cardboard tube, place it inside the jar on top of the rice, then cut it down in size so that the top is level with the rim of the jar. Holding the tube steady and central, carefully pour in more rice around the outside of the tube. When you look through the glass from any angle, you shouldn’t be able to see the tube. Now for the secret treat. Place something delicious inside the tube, such as chocolate coins or cubes of fudge, then screw on the lid and attach a note along the lines of “Dear Uncle, I thought you would like a nice jar of rice”. Wrap up the jar and keep the joke hush-hush until his birthday!.

Pancakes!
Age suitability: 3+ (with adult guidance)

You will need: (For the pancakes) 2 eggs, 200g plain flour, 600ml milk, orange segments, a lemon, (For the decorations) cress seed, cotton wool

When making your pancake batter, break the eggs in half carefully and save the eggshells after giving them a quick rinse. The above ingredients make around 10 pancakes. Beat together the flour and eggs, then slowly blend in the milk. If you like like to squeeze orange juice as well as lemon on to pancakes, it will give you lots of orange-peel quarters to cut into fantastic teeth shapes and slip inside your lips. Award the last pancake to the most grotesque smile. Finally, everyone must have a go at flipping a pancake. Let it cook well on one side, shake the pan to loosen it, then give it a whirl.

When finished, fill the eggshell halves with damp cotton wool and sprinkle with cress seed that you cleverly remembered to buy beforehand. Paint faces on to the shells and stand in egg cups on a windowsill, checking occasionally that the cotton wool doesn’t dry out. In a few days, your eggheads will be sprouting green hair. Very popular with those under six.

Floury Faces
Age suitability: 6+

You will need: plain flour, a bowl and spoon per person, a chocolate button

Older family members will love playing Floury Faces. Pile a mound of flour on a plate and hide a button inside. Be sure to cover your tracks, so it’s impossible to know where the button is. In turn, each person holds a spoon and scoops out a small amount of the flour mound into a bowl. When a player uncovers the button, they must stick their face into the flour and pull it out using only their mouth. Don’t breathe in whatever you do, as flour up the nose is tickly. Keep re-heaping the flour and hiding the button until everyone has been floured.

Ivana Katz of Kids Universe says she is old enough to know better, but young enough to do it again, as she rides camels, swims with dolphins and often embarrasses her son. If you want to join her on adventures and find things to do with kids, join her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/KidsUniverse