Taking time out from the phone and tablet and TV and computer is always a good idea. Here are some ideas for easy activities that’ll get them connecting with the world IRL.
Let’s start with the obvious. Kids need to be outdoors. They need to connect with nature, breathe all that fresh air and be physically active. Even better if they get to do all of this with you.
- Break out the chalk and get creative with some sidewalk or driveway art.
- If you live in a neighborhood that allows for it, a bike ride is a fantastic way to show your kids the world from a different perspective.
- Have a picnic in your backyard.
- Set up an outdoor reading nook – simply throw down a blanket and comfy cushions, provide some shade, keep refreshments close by, and settle in to read a book with your kiddo.
Play isn’t just for kids. In fact, you’ll not only delight your young ones by playing with them, we guarantee you’ll love it too. Give them your undivided attention and get a little quirky… They’ll remember it forever.
- Hold a family game night.
- Build the ultimate domino run together.
- Get competitive with a card game like Go Fish or Memory.
Remember the street games of your childhood? Well we’re all for bringing them back. That’s right, break out the jump rope and watch an entirely new generation of neighborhood kids fall in love with games like:
- Double Dutch. Start slowly with one rope, getting everyone into the swing of things, then make it more challenging with Double Dutch.
- Hopscotch, a classic that belongs in everyone’s childhood!
- Marbles (for 3 years+). All you need is a buddy, a bag of marbles and some chalk. Check out how to play here.
- Red Rover, another playground standard that needs a larger group of players, but will quickly become a neighborhood fave.
- Then there are the classic backyard games, like ring toss, the horseshoe game, croquet and lawn bowling, as well as giant versions of games like Jenga, tic tac toe, and Connect Four… all a hit right across the age groups.
No matter where you live, there’s bound to be someplace close by that’s perfect for a few hours of quality family time. Head to the local park – take the bikes, a ball, or just head off on a long walk.
Speaking of walks, if you’re fortunate to live close to an area of natural beauty, a hike is hard to beat. Pack plenty of water, make sure everyone is wearing comfy shoes, sunscreen and hats, and explore. Make sure you stop often to enjoy the sheer beauty of your surroundings.
If the weather is little chilly and you’re looking for indoor activities, seek out a local library, museum or aquarium, all excellent choices for rainy days.
Invest in play sets
We’re huge advocates of toys that aren’t plastic, gimmicky and/or branded, and don’t need to be charged or use batteries. Wooden play sets allow for plenty of imaginative play and can occupy kids of all ages. Here are a few of our faves:
1 Crime Busters Police Station, 3 years+ ($59.99) 2. Noah’s Ark Playset, 18 months+ ($19.99) 3. Tabletop Cookware Kitchenette Set, 3 years+ ($32.99) 4. 30-Piece Figure 8 Train Set, 3 years+ ($24.99) 5. Rise ‘n Shine Pod Coffee Maker Playset, 3 years+ ($24.99) 6. Helping Hands Hospital, 3 years+ ($59.99)
Do stuff together
Sometimes you want quiet me-time, and sometimes you want to do something fun at home together with your kids. If you’re in the mood for the latter, we recommend:
- Getting into the kitchen with the kids. Even toddlers love helping out with cupcakes – yeah, we know, eggshells in the batter, flour all over the place – but it’s so important to let go of perfection, and focus on connection, so play away!
- Turning the music up for a dance party. Break out the disco tunes, the songs from their favorite movies, or Bruno Mars (every kid loves him, right?), clear an area and get boogying.
- If you’re creative, why not do a crafty project together? Pinterest is jam-packed with fantastic ideas for kids of all ages. Check out our boards, Arts and Crafts, Pretend Play, and Indoor Play, and pick out something you and your little one will love tackling together.