Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sharing the fun with your kids - 10 ideas for things to do with your kids #TheHub.

Kids are only young once and we, as parents, really have only a short time to prepare them for their life as an adult when you think about it.  While we sometimes can get caught up in our own lives and interests, it is so important to carve out a time to have fun with your kids, even if it is just playing the license plate game in your car.  Kids remember the fun times (I sure do!) and having fun times that create memories for a life time don't always have to include a big, expensive trip to Disney.

Here are 10 ideas for incorporating fun (and play!) into your child's daily activities
    1. When it is clean up time, set a timer and encourage your kids to beat the timer.  This makes cleaning up a game of sorts and everyone has to participate.  The kids can be putting their toys away while you hustle to fill the dishwasher (careful of those knives!).  At the end, come together and congratulate everyone on a job well done.

    2. Make the time for family game night.  Kids love games and it can be a lot of fun playing both the updated and the older versions of games.  Take for instance Monopoly.  Back when I was a kid, we played til we ran out of money and then made our own!  Now, there's a Monopoly game without money, with transactions done electronically.  Talk about keeping up with the times!

    3. Grocery store shopping is such a chore, but asking your kids to help you is something that can make it a little easier.  If you are looking for a particular brand of cereal, play a game of I Spy to see who can find it first.

    4. Yard work is also a huge chore!  I personally hate doing it, but many hands make a light load.  Ask your kids to help you with clean up and offer to pay them a penny a stick.  This is particularly fun with little ones who haven't yet learned to ask for more.  The kids will get some exercise while you save your aching back. 

    5. Starts with B:  This is a game we sometimes play at the dinner table when we are winding down our meal.  We ask our son who his 'Alpha Friend' is this week and whatever letter it happens to be, we ask him to name words that start with that letter.  This week it is B, so we'll be asking him to name some things that start with B.

    6. What's ?:  This is something that my daughter asks from time to time.  She'll ask me what a word means or why something in the world is the way it is (why the sky is blue, for example.)  Rather than tell her (I really do know the answer to why the sky is blue!) I encourage her to Google for the answer.  It is nice to have someone tell you, but it can also be fun to explore and find the answer yourself.

    7. Paper, Rock, Scissors:  Paper, rock, scissors has solved many problems in our household.  Who gets the dirty diaper?  We would shoot for it to make it more fair, knowing you had a 50-50 shot of getting out of diaper duty.  We do this now even with the kids because it helps to solve arguments when it comes down to who gets to watch their show on TV or who gets to sit next to Daddy at the restaurant. 

    8. Play with the kids and the cats!  Family play time should include your pets.  The kids enjoy throwing play mice or noisy balls for the cats to chase.  Sometimes the cats are very playful and will jump high for toys, which is always fun to watch.  Taking the time for the whole family to play together with our animals teaches the kids that while it is nice to pet kitty, kitty enjoys good, clean fun too!

    9. Cooking with the kids is also a fun thing to do because it is both educational and family time spent together.  When I allow our 9 year old to bake cookies, I encourage her to read the instructions thoroughly, measure properly and observe clean kitchen standards.  While cookies are nice to eat when someone else bakes them, there's a certain pride that goes with having made a yummy treat for the whole family to share.  Who doesn't love cookies? 

    10. Sharing TV time with your kids - As a parent, I have found that I need to be very proactive in what my kids watch.  Some shows my 9 year old likes to watch include characters with traits that I do not want her to emulate (Sam on iCarly, who lies a lot, comes to mind.)  Perhaps my parents felt the same, but the TV of my generation was so much better.  Sex and drugs were not as prominently displayed on prime time and try to show our kids the shows that we grew up on.  We stream old TV on our Netflix and plan to check out a new channel that I recently found, the Hub.  Last night The Wonder Years was on, followed by Doogie Howser, M.D.  Good times!  I remember watching old Star Trek episodes with my dad.  It was something we shared together that I've never forgotten.

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