One of the things parents hate hearing the most is “I’m bored”. When my kids come and say this to me, I feel like, on top of being the cleaner, the accountant, the teacher, the gardener and many other titles that I carry, I also have the wonderful title of Entertainer. But when I get rid of the fear I have of all of this, it can actually be quite fun.
Keeping the kids busy is something many parents struggle with. Parents are very busy nowadays and feel they need money to give their kids what they want, when in fact, there are many fun things you can do with your kids with little or no money at all.
Weekends and holidays are the main stressful times for parents and many of us need a holiday after the holidays to recover, because keeping the kids busy can be hard work.
To avoid this stress, try to think about activities you can do ahead of time. Getting up on Saturday morning and asking, “So, what are we doing today?” will definitely start you off on the wrong track.
It is also better to think about school holidays and family vacations in advance. If you leave this to the last minute, I can assure you that most places will be fully booked and expensive, very expensive.
This week, I will share with you some of my ideas for keeping your kids active and happy, ideas that will also contribute to family bonding and even teach your kids some great lessons about life.
Just keep this list handy and use it when you are stuck. Remember, kids are fun: you do not really need to spend a lot of money to make them happy. They need your presence more than your presents.
Every day of the week, I will post 20 new ideas. Make sure you are here every day to learn about the 100 things you can do with your kids (or subscribe via email or RSS, if you haven’t already).
First 20 fun things you can do with your kids (1-20)
- Kids love books and most libraries in the world are free. Go to the library with your kids on a regular basis. Libraries make for 2 good hours of fun and excitement.
- Check your local paper or the city library web site for holiday programs. Most of them are free and if you need to pay something, the cost is usually minimal.
- Most families have bikes at home. Take your kids for a bike ride. If you have littlies, buy a chair for them and take them too. The exercise is good for the whole family and you can use the opportunity to teach them about safety on the road.
- Read books. You can have reading time for the whole family. Make it easy for your kids to read books. Have books at your kids’ reading levels and show them you read too, if you want them to be readers. When you are on holidays, make sure everyone takes a book for a bit of quiet time while you are away.
- Take your kids to the local zoo. Kids love animals and most zoos are reasonably priced. If it is expensive, aim to go once every year or two. Kids like different animals at different stages of their life and will always find something exciting.
- Stay tuned for local festivals and go with the kids. Most festivals are free or charge a small entrance free. Festivals can teach kids about other cultures, about music, about art or about any other topic. Set a budget for the day and teach your kids how to handle a budget.
- Use the Internet to learn something together. If you all learn something together, you can keep an eye on what your kids do on the Internet and share a common experience with them.
- Take your kids to a fireworks display. It is exciting and some local events have a free fireworks display at the end. Kids are always excited and can watch them again and again (I am a still a kid when it comes to fireworks).
- Swimming is a wonderful activity that kids can do for a whole day. I remember as young kids, we used to stay in freezing water for hours, never wanting to come out. Find a local beach, a lake or, if you are far from any water source, a local pool. Water can keep kids busy for hours.
- And while we are on the topic of water, take balloons, get your kids to fill them with water, and throw the water balloons to each other. 10 balloons and some tap water can keep a group of kids busy for quite a while. If you are afraid that they will all pop after only 2 minutes, make it a team competition – “Who can keep the balloon whole the longest while passing them”.
I prefer the tiny water balloons, because they are good for throwing, although they are a bit harder to fill (well, actually filling them is not hard part, the hard bit is tying them).
Teach the kids to pick up the popped balloons at the end of the game.
- If you go to the beach, build sand castles. You can use small containers, covers and sticks to do any sculpture you want (wet sand is the cheapest sculpting material available).
- If your kids have roller blades, take them to a skating park with ramps and small slides and a smooth concrete surface. Make sure they have a helmet and knee and elbow pads.
- Scooters can also be used in such places.
- And skateboards.
- And (BMX) bikes.
- Make a puzzle together. Rainy days are wonderful puzzle days. If your kids love puzzles, get a big wooden board and make big puzzles over a week or two. Puzzles can teach kids a lot about persistence, teamwork, strategy and can help develop their visual perception.
- Play basketball at a local park. You just need to start playing and you will find that many kids around will see you and come to play with you.
- Learn a new language to have a secret language for the family. We once brought a Spanish teacher home to learn Spanish together. It was a great bonding experience for us (we do not know much Spanish now, but we already have 3 secret languages).
- Some city councils have free concerts in the park. Many local bands and ensembles look for opportunities to perform and you can take a picnic basket, sit on the grass and watch the performances. It will teach your kids to appreciate music.
- Some city councils have movie screenings on school holidays. Stay tuned and find out where and when the next screening is. Even if your kids have seen a movie, they will not mind watching it again, while having a picnic.
As you can see from this list, there are many things you can do with your kids to keep them busy and happy. Join me tomorrow for another 20 ideas to make sure your kids will never be bored.
Happy and joyous time with your kids,
If you have more ideas of what to do with kids, please share them in the comment box below.