In a follow-up to my post yesterday on life without cable I thought I would give you my list of 10 things you can do with your kiddos that are not electronically based. Trust me, your kiddos will have fun and so will you because I feel many adults get so wrapped up in life that they forget to stop and smell the roses.
- Bake/Cook - This is a means to get two things done at once - sometimes. Getting your kids in meal preparation not only teaches them valuable life skills but also increases the odds that they will eat the veggies, etc. in their meals as they have a vested interest. Baking may be a add-in to your daily list of things to do but trust me, it is worth it to see the smile on your kiddos face as they learn to measure ingredients, stir it all together, and have something homemade to eat. This past month I have even "surprised" darling daughter by starting a batch of cookies after dinner so she could have fresh, out of the oven, warm cookies for afters.
- Pull out a board game - What happened to board games? When I was a kid I was always getting together with my friends, or siblings, to play a game but now kids have all these electronic gadgets in their hands and I wonder if it really is good. Don't get me wrong, darling daughter has games on my phone and computer she plays. I strive for educational games but some are just for fun games but we still have a good selection of board games in our hall closet. We have a couple of cooperative games that she really loves and that I bought years ago when winning the game was the big focus for her. It isn't about winning but having fun. We also have Monopoly, Chutes and Ladders, Candy Land, Scrabble, Rummikub, Dominoes, Clue and Operation. Lots to choose from!
- Be creative and get artistic - Darling daughter LOVES art and we have lots of supplies that allow us to scrapbook, color, paint, and we recently added in air dry clay. She also has play dough, beads, and foam art supplies. Sometimes we do a two-in-one and turn an art project (card making) into a note to be sent to a loved one to keep handwritten notes alive.
- Take a trip down memory lane - Every year I make darling daughter a memory book of her life thanks to Shutterfly. I have also made a few other random books over the years and this makes trips down memory lane possible with a visual element. The memory books always include notes from me, quotes from her, or other stories so they are more than pictures but a tale of our life.
- Garden - We love to garden and start many things from seeds in a small greenhouse in our house. Darling daughter gets to pick what she grows with my final okay. I only steer her away from things less than likely to grow in our neck of the woods or things we may not have space for. For example, I don't see a field of corn growing in our backyard due to limited space. We then transplant the plants outside together and have lots of gardens around our home. The veggie garden, my serenity garden, her blooming blossoms, and our happy trails. Yes, we have named our garden plots.
- Watch the birds or other wildlife - This can be done from inside or outside our home due to where we placed our bird feeder and sometimes we go outside on the porch with our binoculars to get a closer look. I can't even explain how relaxing it is to stop and watch nature and it is so good for the kiddos.
- Clean up - You heard me, clean up. Yes, I am listing house cleaning as something to do and who is going to argue with Mary Poppins and a spoonful of sugar does helping the medicine go down? When chores aren't a punishment but something you do together, they can become fun. We don't do this all the time but I will involve darling daughter in changing bed sheets, she gets to play in them and helps make the bed. She is also eager to help vacuum, dust, or mop the floors but you need to remember to relax. A 7 year old isn't going to vacuum like me but why discourage her help and every little bit helps. And how else will our kiddos learn to do these things if they are not given the opportunity? P.S. She does a much better job of using attachments and vacuuming chairs than I ever do!
- Take care of pets - I know this won't work if you don't have pets but perhaps you can get a fish! We have had pet fish since darling daughter was 2 and as of now, our last fish went to Heaven and we are a fishless family but that is okay. We have a bunny outside, a parakeet inside, and a guinea pig inside. We have plenty of pets to take care of and after darling daughter proved she could help take care of a fish, other pets were added. But having a pet is a cost and responsibility but I see the pro's in it. Darling daughter is learning that sometimes she needs to feed the pets before playing and she gets the joy of playing with them. P.S. The guinea pig is the easiest pet to play and interact with. He is a charm and I am completely in love with him!
- Play spontaneously - Have no plan and play! This can be inside or outside and can help build imagination. Darling daughter loves to pull out ALL of her dolls and play school or to go outside and play in the playhouse serving up meals to all her willing participants. I have even mixed this in with chores that I have to do and turn my laundry folding, cooking, etc. into a lesson for her students as she takes them on a field trip to see me! But it is also important to sometimes let go of all I have to do and just play with her giving her 100% of my attention. At the end, I always feel more relaxed and energized!
- Study the bible - My faith is important to me and darling daughter sees that. She asked for her own bible and bible study book to be "just like mom" and I gladly got her what she needed. She also has some bible study coloring books and story books. We have a whole assortment of supplies we can turn to when we want to be together and explore our faith. The secret is to make it fun and engaging!
Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the opportunities in my life.
Daily Bible Verse: You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. ~ Deuteronomy 6:7