When was the last time that you spent some quality time outdoors with your children? According to research, only 51% of children go outside to walk or play once a day with either parent. Moreover, the study showed that boys were more likely to be taken outside than girls. As too much time spent indoors can be bad for children’s health, the American Heart Association recommends that kids aged 2 and older should participate in at least 60 minutes of enjoyable, moderate-intensity physical activities—such as a friendly game of soccer or gardening—every day. To encourage your family to spend more time outdoors, consider creating a garden that your loved ones will enjoy. Not only do you get to benefit from the fresh air, but you also get to spend a lot of quality, gadget-free time with your little ones. Here are several ways to create a family-friendly garden that everyone will love.
Work out what you want in a garden
The first thing that you need to do when planning a garden is to work out what you want in it. Sit down with your family and talk about what activities you want to do in the space. Do you plan to grow flowers or vegetables? Do you want an area for active play? How about a sitting area? Once you’ve decided on what things you want to include in your garden, break up your space into different zones and go from there.
Create a sitting area
A sitting area gives your family a place where you can have meaningful conversations or spend time together doing crafts or playing board games. There are so many options for your garden sitting area—you can have wicker furniture with cushions for added comfort in your patio, or wooden benches under a big tree. You can also create hidden sitting areas throughout your garden for some quiet reading time or a moment of reflection.
Add water elements
Adding water elements gives life and freshness to any garden. You can have a koi pond, a swimming pool, a reflection pool, or an outdoor water fountain in your garden. Whatever you choose to have, make sure not to leave very young children unsupervised when in the garden, and clean your pond, pool, or fountain regularly to avoid algae build up. If you don’t have much room for a water feature, try including a tabletop water fountain in your patio.
Group play equipment in one zone
It’s a good idea to have all your child’s play equipment in one zone in the garden for a more cohesive look. As for the type of play equipment that you can have in the garden, you can have a playhouse, a sand pit, a plastic swing or a tire swing, an in-ground trampoline, slides, and a see-saw.
Spending some time outdoors is beneficial for your family’s health. Try these tips to create a family-friendly garden that you and your loved ones will enjoy for a long time.
As a family, we like nothing better than day outs. They give us a chance to catch up and have some fun.
So, even in the winter, we still make the effort to get out and about. At this time of the year, most venues are far less crowded and sometimes they reduce their entrance fees during the winter months.
However, you do need to prepare properly for winter days out. If you do not you run the risk of having to cope with cold and miserable kids.
The right coat for everyone
At the very top of the list of what you need, has to be a good winter coat for Mum, Dad and each of the kids. Without one it is practically impossible to stay sufficiently warm and dry.
The ideal coat will be versatile, robust and practical. It is no good choosing one that looks fantastic, but lets the wind whistle up under it, leaving you shivering. This year there are quite a few nice 3-in-1 coats available. These are a particularly practical option because they can be worn in different configurations. You can wear the entire coat in the morning when it is cold and potentially shed the outer shell later in the day when, hopefully, it warms up a bit.
Layers of clothing
Try to get everyone to dress in layers. That way each person can change what they are wearing to fit in with the temperature and conditions at that moment.
A big enough bag
Be sure to get everyone to carry a bigger than usual bag. In all likelihood, you will need the extra space to stow items of clothing when they are not in use.
Hats gloves and scarves
Everyone needs to have a pair of gloves, a hat and a scarf. That way if you have to queue for a ride you can stay warm.
The right footwear
Speaking of queuing, the right footwear is essential in this situation. It is not enough to simply buy something that is waterproof and comfortable. A good pair of winter shoes or boots needs to have relatively thick soles. This will ensure your feet stay warmer if you have to stand still on a cold surface for any period of time.
Snacks and a warm drink
It is a good idea to take a few snacks and a small flask of something warm with you. That way if you arrive at the cafe and discover that they actually close in the winter you will all have something warming to tide you over until you find somewhere to eat.
Prepare the car for inclement weather
Naturally, if the forecast is for snow, strong winds or heavy rain you will stay at home and plan your trip for another day. However, even if you are careful to look at the forecast before going out it is all too easy to get caught out. Therefore, it is always wise to prepare your car for inclement weather. This in-depth article explains the basics of how to do it. I know that this sounds like a lot of hassle, but it really does not take long to put together a ´go kit´ that you can just grab and put in the boot.
I am always having trouble when I have to figure out some fun things to do with kids at home for a rainy day. Well, I decided to make it easier for me and asked fellow mom bloggers for their favorite indoor activities for kids.
And here are the fun things to do with kids at home – recommended by mom bloggers!
Fun Things To Do With Kids At Home For Age: 1 month – 1,5 years
“Some of my favorite things to do with kids at home are reading books, playing in the floor with his toys and helping him learn, playing peek a boo and pat a cake, and singing to him! We also get lots of cuddle time in while watching Sesame Street. He has learned so much from all of our play time already, the newest being clapping. It makes me feel so accomplished seeing him happy, healthy, and learning!!”
Brittany @ “Stay at Home Momma Life”
Baby E. is playing with water
“Right now, our favorite indoor activities for kids are books, trying to learn to walk and going out on the patio to swing or play in sand. Around four months, I introduced water play to Baby E. Now, most people assume that water play should only be limited to outdoor play. BUT, that simply is not true. I filled a glass pie pan half-way with water and gave her a spoon, a small cup and a rubber ducky and allowed her to explore. At first, she wasn’t so sure that it was ok to play in it. Then once she confirmed it was ok to proceed, she began to splash and mix the water around with the spoon.”
Marcia @ Our Eggcellent Adventure
“Our favourite indoor activities for kids are playing with bubbles (bit messy!). Just a small bottle, I’ll blow them in the air and Archie runs around trying to pop/eat them.”
Kaye @ Hello Archie
Fun Things To Do With Kids At Home For Age: 1,5 – 5 years
Little princess likes to wash dishes!
“One of our favorite things to do with kids at home is “washing dishes.” I am usually doing something in the kitchen, and she just wants to participate as well. She doesn’t really wash a thing. We get her stool and set up the sink with bubbles and a few plastic cups, containers and she gets some good water sensory play in.”
Krystal @ Fit Frugal Mom
“A road made of masking tape is a smart way to engage a toddler. Prep time is way shorter than play time: you’ll only need a minute or two to stick the masking tape onto the floor. No need to be precise, your toddler will enjoy any version! It’s my son favorite indoor activity. He is quite fond of the road in the middle of the living room.”
Damjana @ Apple Green Cottage
“My 2 1/2 year old is becoming very curious and independent. Matching Bingo is a perfect activity for us both. Not only is it fun, but it helps with learning shapes, colors, and matching. It’s a perfect family game, but he also loves to play it on his own. He gets very excited when he fills the whole board all on his own.”
Adreanna @ Life in Our Nomad
“My son, Dallas, is almost three and his favorite indoor activities are puzzles and bubbles! We have a Frozen puzzle that he is obsessed with and is really fun to do together. It’s cool to watch him get better and better with it. Blowing bubbles in our living room is so much fun too. He likes to hold the wand and then chase them down. Hours of fun!”
Regan @ One and Done
She is having fun with Playdough!
“For my two year old toddler, we enjoy stacking blocks and then knocking them down… rinse and repeat.
Also, she really loves play-doh and water color painting. My daughter loves to put some sea shells, sticks, blocks, wiggly eyes, and buttons in her play-doh and that makes it even more interesting for her.
With water color painting, she has all the freedom to use a brush and paint in anyway that she feels compelled to do. There is no method except freedom! That is the best way to do it!”
Erin @ Nourishing My Scholar
Baby N loves to draw!
“Baby N. likes to go out and play with other kids, but sometimes we’re just forced to stay in. What to do then? Her most favorite activity is reading and drawing. She only knows few letters but it’s fun for her anyway and she is learning in the same time.
Also, we enjoy playing with our cat (or better to say, she is driving him crazy). He runs around the apartment and we are trying to catch him. He usually wins in playing catch with her, but she never gives up trying!
We also like to play with playdough but we will try to make our own next week, so we will see how will that work out!”
Marina @ Parental Journey
“My favorite things to do with kids at home is painting with watercolors. Once they have their watercolor papers, their watercolors, their paintbrushes and some water, they immediately explore their creativity by mixing different colors and putting them on paper without thinking but just feeling. When they have finished their paintings, they are so happy and proud of their work. Of course, it is a messy thing but I don’t mind because watercolors are washable and their happy faces will more than make up for it!”
Janet @ Writing Webworking Mom
“Indoor activities for kids… We have what we call book picnics. My daughter & I will lay out a blanket and some pillows on the floor in our living room. Set out a plate of snacks & some juice and spread out a pile of books. What she likes to read varies by week. She is really big recently into reading (High Five) Highlights magazine. This week Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs is a favorite. Do Princesses Scrape Their Knees & Steam Train Dream Train are big ones. This is a great rainy day activity that we can enjoy together.”
“My favorite things to do with kids at home are making bracelets and necklaces. They’re getting into beading jewelry and I love it! It’s great to see what a 3 and 5 year-old can create with just some beads and string.”
Kristina @ The Mommy Rundown
“My 2,5 year old loves when we take all the cushions from the sofa and create a fort out of them. She calls it her “house” and brings all her favorite toys in there and we have such a good time. Sometimes, we even share a snack together in her “house” “
Vicki @ Diary of an Imperfect Mom
Fun Things To Do With Kids At Home For Age: 5 – 10 years
caterpillar diy project
Our top 3 things to do with kids at home are: Painting:
I went to my local dollar tree and grabbed some paint…paint brushes …and a project board and was able to create a fun project for the kids for under $4 (I cut the project paper so we could get more use out of it ) Crafts:
Pinterest had this cute little caterpillar diy project …and while it only took a few minutes to make …the kids had fun playing with it for awhile. All you need is some Popsicles Stick … little puff balls (which I also found at the dollar tree )…and we found the fuzzy sticks and googly eyes at Walmart. Glue the puffs to the stick and I found it easier to wrap the fuzzy sticks(which we used for ears) around one of the puffs Reading books:
My kids have always loved reading…so cuddling up with a good book is a daily activity in our house. I hope you have enjoyed reading some of our indoor activities!
Tonisha @ A little of this and a sprinkle of that!
“Our favorite indoor activity right now is nerf dart guns. It’s a safer version of playing darts. We just draw a dart board and use suction cup nerf bullets.”
Natalie @ Messy Mom
“Our family enjoys completing puzzles together. My kids are three and almost seven so I try to get puzzles that are in the 200 piece range. That way it’s a bit of a challenge for the kids, but I’m there to help.”
Melissa @ Wading through Motherhood
“Quiet boxes are boxes you make that are perfect during quiet time or a fun rainy day/inside day activity. I used them when my daughter was out of naps but I had a sleeping baby at home. We always had some ‘quiet’ time and these were perfect. I traded the boxes out so she wouldn’t get bored with the material. I ONLY let her have them during this special quiet time too. Also, moon Sand is a fun and easy project you can do in minutes. It’s perfect for a rainy day or on a nice day too. Kids of all ages would love this! Gak is another fun and simple thing to make at home with just a few ingredients.”
Shannon @ Daily Momtivity
“For my 7 year old son, our favorite indoor activities are building with Legos, Reading out loud to him, and watching documentaries on prehistoric creatures.
He also loves Story Cubes. Story Cubes are like dice with a picture on each side.
The game is played by rolling a dice and beginning a story based on the picture. Then the next person rolls a dice and continues the story based on that picture.
You can continue the game for as long as you like. We have the prehistoric story cubes which contain pictures of dinosaurs, volcanoes, meteors, mammoths, swamps, cavemen, ect. It is a really fun game of story telling and imagination.”
Erin @ Nourishing My Scholar
“My favorite thing to do with my kids at home is arts and crafts. We keep a “craft box” in the house that is filled with supplies and many of those easy craft kits that you buy from Michael’s or Hobby Lobby. On bad weather days I say, “Go get the craft box!” and he’ll run and pull it off the shelf. Sometimes it’s even fun to play board games. Our favorite is a game called Blokus. We also sometimes play Uno.”
@ The Jersey Momma
“One of the games I used to play with my kids when they were small was Hot and Cold. It was really just a take off on the old “you’re getting warmer” thing. We would take turns hiding something, sometimes a toy, or if I had a
treat for them, I would hide that. Then, they would look for it while I would prompt them with “You’re getting warmer” or “You’re so cold you are turning into ice!” I used all kinds of hot and cold sentences to guide
them to where the treasure was hidden. You are going to catch on fire! You have cold feet. Don’t burn your hand! If you are going over there, you better put on your mittens! The kids had a lot of fun playing this and love to re-hide the treasure over and over. It was a great way to pass a rainy afternoon, with everyone getting a chance to hide and find.
My kids also loved to build forts. And one of their favourite thing to build forts with were the couch cushions! They would stand them up as walls, add a blanket over top for the roof and make tunnels around the living room. They would gather all the furniture cushions from around the house and make bigger forts. Now my younger kids show their niece and nephews how to build them! Using a blanket over a table also makes a great fort or hideout!”
Sue @ The Little Shack on the Hill
Happy Jar With Activities
“My six-year-old daughter loves to pick happy activities from our happy jar.
We created it together when she was going through a rough patch (she has anxiety).
It’s full of all of her favorite activities she likes to do with Mommy and things that elicit happy feelings. Its purpose is to help her focus on the positive and manage her anxiety in a healthy positive way.
She’s come a long way since we started the “happy jar,” but it remains one of OUR favorite indoor activities.”
Elle @ Tuned In Parents
Fun Things To Do With Kids At Home For Age: 10+ years.
Kids Can Even Make Sushi
“I like to involve kids in kitchen activities. One project that my son and I love doing is making sushi! This is a great supervised activity for kids ages 10 and up. New to sushi making? The Sushi Making Kit from Mud Puddle is a great place to start – it includes a recipe book, rolling mat, rice paddle and two sets of chopsticks. We made California Rolls – no raw fish involved! But you can get really creative and use just about any ingredient that can be rolled up!”
@ Mom Meets Blog
“My 10 year old loves arts and crafts, so we do lots of DIY projects we find on Pinterest. We choose the 1st craft project that catches our eye, as long as we have all the materials or sometimes we just improvise with what’s around the house then we have a go at it. It keeps our creative juices flowing.”
Anne @ Stretch Your Pesos
Fun Things To Do With Kids At Home For Age: everyone!
“Because my children range in age from 1 to 10, I’ve tried to come up with a few fun indoor activities that we can all participate in when the weather is just not cooperating. Here are some recent picks: – Put on a play: Everyone can take part! The oldest can write and direct, while the youngest can have their own little “role” or be a part of the audience with mommy. – Have a dance party: Let everyone take turns picking out songs or create your own family playlist. It’s a great way to burn off some energy (and a few calories!). – Write a book: My sons are really enjoying this project right now, and even my littlest guy can color on some folded white paper that has been stapled to create a booklet. Give everyone 15-30 minutes to work and then take turns sharing the finished products. They key for our family in each of these ideas is that they are not competitive but harmonious projects that build cooperation and listening skills – and help keep the peace!”
@ Overwhelmed Mom
“My favorite indoor activity with my kids is to create treasure hunts for them. I leave clues all over the house leading them to the next clue, ending at a prize (usually some cookies or stuff I keep in a stash from the dollar store). When I don’t have time to make up clues, but want to keep the kids busy, I send them on a scavenger hunt. Here’s a sample of one. This activity works best for school-aged children. If you have older kids too (tweens and teens), they love to help make up the clues.”
Corinne @ Wondermom Wannabe
Do you have some indoor activities for kids you would like to share? Just send me an email and I will add your things to do with kids at home to the list
As most of us are finding it increasingly difficult to cope with everyday obligations, working long hours and devoting enough time to our families, kids are, unfortunately, those who often suffer the most. Sometimes we simply forget that they grow up quickly and that we’ll never have a second chance to be the best parents we possibly can or we simply don’ have the time and energy to invest in creating stronger relationships with our kids.
Still, even if that’s the case with you, you shouldn’t despair or consider yourself a bad parent. Instead, you can focus on introducing some changes to your behaviour and create some rituals that would mean a lot to your kids and that would make you feel so much better. So, let’s take a look at some activities which are not very time-consuming, but which can have great benefits to both you and your kids.
Try to introduce a routine of having a short walk with your kids after dinner. If you have more than one kid, you could organise individual walks around the neighbourhood. Every Monday, my seven-year-old son and I walk to a nearby park and spend some time sitting on a bench, looking at the ducks swimming in the lake. He tells me about what’s happening at his school and I tell him about my day. On the other hand, my 11-year-old daughter is more preoccupied with her relations with friends and I try to help her establish healthier relations with them.
Another thing we like to do as a family is go for a bike ride. The time we spend together is equally important as the health benefits of riding a bike. I really feel satisfied and fulfilled when I look at my kids on their bikes, wearing their helmets and other Shimano safety accessories. We rarely go on long rides, because the younger one is still not strong enough, but no matter how long the ride is, we all feel great afterwards.
Helping around the kitchen
Cooking is a regular activity for most of us with children and I often ask my kids to help me with it. Not that I wouldn’t be able to do it without them, but since I have to spend some time in the kitchen, I like to use the opportunity to involve them as well. Though tiring, cooking is a creative activity and most kids react positively to a chance to be creative. Sometimes I ask them to stir or pour something, or simply help by bringing and taking away the ingredients. When we’re done, we enjoy the fruits of a joint effort and they really appreciate it. Also, they tend to be less picky when it comes to eating the food they’ve prepared.
Taking dogs for a walk
Another regular activity that could be done with kids is taking your dog for a walk. Not only do we spend more time together, but they also feel very proud and “grown-up” when I let them hold the leash for a minute or two. They also learn to look after someone, which is an excellent preparation for their future lives.
I love a good cup of black tea with a few drops of milk every afternoon. Some time ago I started preparing some fruit tea infusions for my kids and invited them to join me if they feel like it. Much more often than not, they are happy to sit with me outside our home and sip their tea and talk about whatever they want. We usually make some plans for future activities and by the time we’re finished with our drinks, we’re ready to resume with our daily routine.
Card and board games
Like most kids, mine enjoy playing card and board games. I asked them to teach me their favourite ones and they were only too happy to oblige. Every Friday afternoon we sit at our dinner table and play a game or two and have some great time, usually while the dinner is being cooked in the kitchen. It’s all about time management, after all.
The advantages of reading to kids are well-known, but I can confirm that it’ great for adults, too. It’s really comforting and soothing and a great way to unwind after a busy day. Naturally, it’s hard to find a book that is equally interesting for all of us, but we usually manage to reach a compromise, although I feel that I’ve learned some stories by heart already. Still, it feels good and I recommend it.
Letting kids stay up late sometimes
This is something that I started practicing with my daughter a few years ago. I let her stay up past her usual bedtime and do whatever she felt like doing. Sometimes she would play alone, but very often she would join me in watching TV or we would simply have a chat. She really appreciated it which is why I’ve just started the same routine with my son. The trick with two kids is not to let them stay up late on the same day in order to make them feel special.
Creating a shopping list and shopping
Some chores are more fun when done together. As soon as my kids learned to write, I started dictating them our shopping list. It would take them some time to complete the task, but they felt involved and important. We would then go to a local supermarket and they would be in charge of checking if we’ve got everything we needed. This is also a great activity you can do as a family, plus your kids practice reading and writing.
No matter how small garden your garden is, you can always do with a little help from your kids. Filling the buckets, watering the plants or simply holding the hose are all activities that most kids like and make them feel like they’re contributing.
As you can see, most of these routines are not so time-consuming, but they all mean the world to your kids. The secret is to allocate that time and involve your kids in whatever they want to be part of. The result will be rewarding both for them and yourself.
My daughter loves to eat cookies. Well, to be honest, her mother loves them too. We didn’t have a tradition to bake them ourselves, but I decided to change that. That is why I collected the list of awesome healthy cookie recipes your kids will love.
We are going to bake them all! Yum!
Stacey made this cookie dough from white beans. White beans are good at boosting energy and calming the mind. They can help improve your memory and can lower your cholesterol. They are also a great source of protein.
Would you ever think of putting chickpeas in cookies? Nope, neither would Vicki until she started investigating healthy cookies and how to make them so they are still delicious cookies. And she made it!
These cookies are quick and easy, plus they’re pretty healthy, especially if you leave out or substitute the chocolate chips.
*And just for full disclosure, there are affiliate links in this post about healthy cookie recipes. That means that I’m sharing something that I think is helpful, and if you make a purchase through the link, I earn a little bit back. No extra cost to you, and just a little help for me to pay for the blog expenses.
How many foreign languages does your kid speak? None? Why is that?
My daughter is still learning to speak her native language, but I plan to teach all my kids foreign languages as soon as possible. And here is why.
Three simple reasons everyone should teach their kids foreign languages.
1. It is easier to learn languages when you are young.
A very important thing to remember here is that languages are much easier to learn when you are younger. Linguists agree that it’s a period before turning 12, and some say that children can start learning foreign languages as early as age 5. After this period of childhood, learning a second language can be a real struggle.
2. The more languages you know, the easier is for you to learn more languages.
That might sound weird, but that is, in fact, a general rule. Teaching your child any second language will make it easier for them to learn a third (and fourth and fifth) down the line.
3. Your kid will be grateful for this later in life.
No matter which second language you choose, your child will without any doubt be very grateful for this. A second language will give them a leg up in life, that’s for sure.
This is why I will teach my kids foreign languages.
That decision was easy to make. But how to choose the right language to teach your kids?
You have to consider what particular goal you have in mind for this second language.
Some parents teach kids foreign languages for cultural reasons because they want to pass on their native language while others do so because it is common in the area they live. These languages are the easiest for a child to learn because they are surrounded by them.
If you pick a language that is supported by the surrounding culture, it will be easier for your kid to learn that foreign language. If there’s a language that you are a native speaker of or one that is spoken in your area, I would highly recommend teaching that language to your child. It will be easy to learn and at the same time useful to them.
But don’t get so frustrated trying to choose the “perfect” language – you really cannot make a wrong decision.