So we were watching “Super Nanny” on TV the other day, and I realized that some of these parents don’t realize how important it is to play. Isn’t that one of the best parts about being a kid?
Getting to play, whether outside or inside, is related to many of my favorite childhood memories. Of course, along those same lines, getting to make things, or create, is equally important.
Maybe that’s why I became a photographer — I love the process of creating. At any rate, I’ve compiled some ideas for you that might help you in a pinch if you need ways to keep your kids occupied. Some will depend on how messy your kids are, of course — so do plan for that in advance!
Make Your Own Play Dough
If you have flour and salt on hand, then you’re probably equipped for this project. Depending on the age of your kids, why not let them help MAKE the play dough before they play?
Chances are they’ll love it even more than just playing with the store-bought or pre-made stuff. I made play dough with my boys, and we didn’t even bother to put food coloring in it. They like it “plain.”
You can also make store bought play dough colors “stretch” further by taking some of your plain play dough and blending it with those tiny colored packages for even more fun.
Don’t have a recipe? Get play dough recipes here.
This is another easy activity that your kids will probably enjoy. Making popsicles can be as complicated (or simple) as you want it to be. Just make sure you have some popsicle molds! We found a set of silicone popsicle molds ad used them to talk about diversity (the popsicle molds were all different colors, but inside they were all the same).
Anyways, from there, you can let your kids make lemonade popsicles, pineapple-orange juice popsicles, or even yogurt popsicles. My kids enjoyed making applesauce popsicles the other day as well.
If your kids want to make something more creative, why freeze different layers (colors,flavors) into the popsicles!
Make a Map
Get out the crayons or markers and start drawing! Maybe your kids could make a map of the backyard, or if they’re a little older, they could do something a bit more ambitious — like make a map of your neighborhood!
You can even suggest they explore or make “excursions” to the places they’re mapping out — so that they don’t forget the best places!
Make Board Games
If your kids love to play boardgames, why not encourage them to make up their own? It can be based on the traditional board games, or even something more original! Make sure to provide your kids with lots of craft materials, like cardboard, colored paper, and maybe even some clay so that they can sculpt the board game pieces or dice.
An old shirt box, once decorated properly will make a great place to store the new board game and its accessories. Next time you have game night, make sure to pull out the new addition to your collection — your kids will be so proud!
Make a Meal
If your kids are a little older (and responsible), why not teach them how to cook? It could be something simple like a favorite dessert, or they’re ready, even a batch of pancakes (make sure to be careful around the oven and stove).
While it’s up to you to decide what your kids are ready to make, they’ll probably love helping make meals if you can make it fun! Of course, desserts also call for decorations, which most kids particularly enjoy doing.
If you’re looking for some crafty websites, why not try a few of these websites…they look promising! And remember, if you run out of ideas, it can’t hurt to ask your kids’ opinions!!