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Let’s get one thing straight…. Your young kids do not care about how cool your car is, how much money you make, what you do for a living, that big sale you made, planning the kitchen remodel, or making the grocery list……these adult topics mean nothing to your kids whether they are little or older. They have one thing in common, they just want to spend time with YOU!
Your time is now, and it is already beginning to dwindle. Think about it. Between all the millions of things you have to do as a mother, wife, cleaner, friend, organizer, chef, volunteer, advisor, and teacher…. spending time with your family members ranks extremely high on your list and even higher on your children’s list. A great thing and easy activity to schedule is a family fun activity or a family night activity.
“But….. I am so busy and just trying to get things done and keep my head above water!!”
Yes! We all are extremely busy. We all have specific battles that we are fighting internally and externally. But, you got this! You only need a few seconds to make a lasting memory for your family, and this article aims to inspire you to create that opportunity. When it comes to making your life easier I thought of a few metrics to help you pick out and schedule one of these activities knowing the amount of effort that they take. I present to you my Level of Preparedness chart to help budget these activities into your busy day.
The chart is simple… how much prep time, how long to expect the activity to last, and then clean-up time. Of course, I am good at scheduling activities and populating our calendars, but then I sometimes forget to purchase the items I need. And then I am scrambling to figure out an alternative and I just get frustrated. My recommendation: have at least one activity at your ready and then one, maybe two activities on deck waiting for the right time.
I hate to say it, but adulting sometimes requires us to schedule fun activities to make sure the fun happens for those young children. Remember when you were a kid? Ouch…. My brain pauses for a second. We all know that every memory is based on feelings. Well, here are some family home activity ideas to have a great time and create memories during a family fun night! I hope this helps you!
Dancing and Good Music!
The first family home activity is a Level 1 on the Preparedness Chart. All you need is a little bit of clear space, some internet, and your phone or computer. If you have popcorn and snacks, even better.
The music of today surely leaves me yearning to listen to the music of the past. But, remember this is the music your children know and will love and remember as they grow up. At our house, we are following the School of Rock approach by exposing our kids to great music (remember that movie?). Seeing their little bodies move to good music is lots of fun and very infectious. Here are some great ideas:
Rick Beato – Rick is a YouTuber and not only a musician, songwriter, record producer, and lecturer, but he also creates fantastic videos such as:
At the time of this article, he has produced over 1,200 videos. Quite prolific. Rick knows how to play the most recognizable snippets of the song and get to the next song focusing on why he picked and ranked the song. Expose your children to music that moved generations and why the music is great. You will surely learn a lot about music you never knew! Don’t thank me… thank Rick and watch his videos.
There are quite a few free music platforms out there easily accessible just by saying “Hey Siri…” “Hey, Alexa…” “Hey, Google…” or you just go back to YouTube. Come to think of it I am not even sure if we have a radio in our house. With so many music choices it is very easy to get overwhelmed and even not choose what you want to listen to or watch (hello… Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+). Some simple requests are:
“Hey Alexa, play happy music.”
“Hey Siri, play Kids Bop.”
“Hey Google, play Don’t Talk About Bruno.”
“Hey Alexa, play Radio Disney.”
“Hey Alexa, play Sing-a-Long Playlist.”
All at the tip of your tongue! Be careful now because little ears are listening and learning how to use those devices! And be sure to set parental controls on those devices so when they do get the hang of it, nothing explicit comes out.
Whatever you do…. do NOT request the Chicken Wing song….thank me later.
Buy a funny costume for each member of the family!
This one is guaranteed to make everyone laugh because for some reason wearing an inflatable costume just brings out the best in people. Level 2 on the Preparedness Chart because you just have to go to Amazon and wait one day. Yes, this is absolutely a fun activity to do, and it is even better if it is impromptu. Just walk into the kitchen wearing an inflatable Shark costume, and the fun will begin. Regardless of the costumes that you pick, make sure you get the correct size and have spare batteries! Get some for the adults too. We had so much fun creating short videos now we have our kid’s friends coming over wanting to wear the costumes!
Let us paint! Ourselves!
Alright…. some of us are neat freaks. We have cleaned up so many messes we are now trained to pre-empt them and avoid them at all costs. I do admit there are a few messes that may have a birthday or two coming up around this house. But…. I digress. Level 3 on the Preparedness Chart as at a minimum you need washable paint and a large piece of plastic, cardboard, or tarp. Yup….. this is gonna get messy, but it is worth it. Remember how we are trained to avoid messes? Well, your young children know you are, and you are going to throw them the coolest mom curve ball ever…. They get to paint themselves, and maybe you.
Order some washable paint and put your kiddos preferably in the bathroom or outside on the porch. Get them down to their diaper or underwear and set out the paint. Then slowly while they are watching you, take your finger, get a healthy dab of paint, and put it on their arm/leg/face…. The awe and surprise you will see in their face is priceless. Depending on how much of a stickler you have been about messes and cleanliness, you may have to do some encouragement to get them started! When things start winding down throw them in the shower or use the garden hose to wash away the mess. Roll up the plastic or tarp and put it in the trash. Done and done.
This video just makes me wanna cry, he had so much fun, and so did I.
Everyone has the goofiest member of the family or the jokester family member. Getting fun games that are simple and easy is the key here. Games build communication skills and unique thinking skills as the kids have to perform on the spot. They have to interact with other team members, and they are learning how to strategize to win. Here are some of our favorites when we schedule game night:
Left Right Center
This has to be one of the easiest games to learn. Each player gets three chips. The youngest player goes first rolling the three dice. Pass a chip to the person on the Left for “L”. Pass a chip to the person on the Right for “R”. Put a chip in the Center for “C”. Keep the chip when you get Circle or Star depending on what set you have. You cannot roll more dice than chips you have, so if you have two chips you roll two dice. If you have one chip you roll one dice. If you have no chips… well you get it. A total game of chance and you cannot tell who is going to win until the final dice roll. Serious…. the final roll. No skill is required.
If you want to put some real money on the table just exchange the chips for coins, and this brings up the interest level. We do quarters, and the winner takes all!
You would never think a simple game of placing game pieces based on squares that come in various patterns could require so much planning and skill. Up to four players (or you can team up) can play and you start simply by placing a piece on the board. As each player gets a turn connecting their pieces via the corners, you quickly learn that you may not be able to get all your pieces on the board. That is when the thinking kicks in and players start getting in the way of others. Be careful this one is extremely addictive and can easily make the adults want to compete to win.
Speed and pattern recognition are the skills for this game. I am not sure how my son can move his hands so quickly (I wish he could move that fast in the morning before school). But wow…he can manipulate the blocks precisely and accurately to get the pattern the same.
A great classic fun game and you will be surprised how quickly your kiddo under 8 can embarrass you with their tricks. Matching colors and symbols is very straightforward. There are many themes of Uno cards such as Minecraft, MarioKart, Star Wars, Batman, etc. to keep the interest of the kids. We have one set where you can write instructions on the Wild Card to shake it up.
If you have not attempted to cook with your child, now is the time to start. This activity spans across all three levels on the Preparedness Chart depending on what you want to do. Of course, their attention span, motor control, and ability to grip spoons and utensils may be very limited. So be ready to help at a moment’s notice. The act of them creating something with their momma is special because they get to eat it. I do cover the benefits of families cooking together in this post, but it is always best to bring this simple activity up. We all have to eat anyway!
Okay, this is the easiest thing to do. Water, pan, box of Jello. Let your little one pick the pan, muffin dish, dinosaur mold, etc. Of course, help them with the boiling water but then let them stir, stir, stir.
We always made cookies from scratch because… that is how you made cookies. But, if you are not skilled at baking or are low on time, you can still get cookie dough from the store and roll it out with your little one use cute-shaped cookie cutters and then decorate them if you want.
My family loves smoothies, and they are a daily practice in my household. Ever since I started working out in college, breastfeeding, to supplementing my diet, smoothies have been here to stay. In this post, you can find some great protein powders, or just get some from Ora Organics. Combine with strawberries, bananas, and ice letting your little ones pick the ingredients leads to nothing but smiles!
Make a Charcuterie Board
If you happen to have your kids with you at the grocery store, take them to pick out some cheese, deli meat, grapes, fruit, chips, crackers… whatever they like. CTC (Cinnamon Toast Crunch) is an option. Extra points if you arrange this before any guests show up, so your little ones can brag about their creation!
Make a Pizza
Pizza ovens have been a rage for almost a decade now. We have the Solo Stove and the Green Mountain Grill Ledge with the pizza attachment. Pizza making is an everyday activity over here, but you can still make a really good pizza with just an oven. If you are really in a pinch, Costco has their pizzas ready to freeze near the meat section (just cut them in half to get them in the standard-sized kitchen oven), or the frozen pizza at the grocery store will do. Remember, kids are not fine connoisseurs of pizza. They just want to make it with you, and it can be as easy as putting a frozen pizza on a tray and sliding it into the oven!
There you go. The world is your oyster and you are flush with ideas to get going. Yes, some of these ideas are pretty basic, but we adults do get caught up in adulting. Sometimes we compare ourselves to others on Facebook and Instagram where you only see the best of the best. Don’t let that stop you from trying. Our little folks again, do not care. They only care that you want to spend time with them. Whatever you have to do make the time, schedule it, bring in a friend to help, and have two or three activities at your ready to have nothing but full attention, fully engaged family home evening games, family home evening ideas, or activities to get nothing but smiles, laughs, and sometimes disbelief that their mother just let them make a mess!!