(re)capturing the fun & wonder

Tag: activities (page 1 of 2)

52 Boredom busters

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a list keeper. A while ago I put together a list of boredom busters for the kids. My plan was to have it at the ready for those inevitable rainy-day moments when there’s really nothing to do (insert whine). Luckily, the olders are still on their Tintin kick, and have active imaginations, so I haven’t needed to resort to the list these past few weeks.

I’ve considered printing it out & cutting the list into strips, each activity on it’s own piece of paper, but I’m not sure I need to go that extra step just yet (though that might be an activity for them in itself!). Next time they’re bored I’ll send them to pick a task. M & B are 8 and 6 so the list is geared towards stuff they like. Most of the activities do require adult involvement, and a willingness to participate even if your not particularly feeling up to the challenge.

  1. Play ball (soccer, basketball, catch…)
  2. Go for a swim — swim races & games
  3. Go for a bike ride
  4. Skateboarding/scootering
  5. Go fly a kite
  6. Play Bocce
  7. Make a movie
  8. Play a board game
  9. Card Game (M&B are particularly fond of Go Fish & War Uno & Poker)
  10. Family picnic in the living-room
  11. Play with something you haven’t played with in a long time.
  12. Make up a song & record it on the computer
  13. Kids cook the next meal — this includes menu planning, shopping, and prep.
  14. Bake a cake (doesn’t matter if it’s from scratch or mix)
  15. Work on a jigsaw puzzle
  16. Draw a picture that tells a story
  17. Make a toy out of whatever is in the recycling bin
  18. Paint a portrait of someone who inspires you
  19. Draw a picture of someone in your family
  20. Draw a self-portrait
  21. Make an animated flip-book
  22. Paper maché sculpture (I’ve been dreaming of making aper maché fruits & veggies…)
  23. Paper chains using only scraps
  24. Dancing: make up a dance routine & teach it to one other person.
  25. Square dance
  26. Close your eyes, spin three times, draw the first thing you see.
  27. Make a ring
  28. Make beads
  29. Shrinky-dink charms
  30. Make a balcony terrarium (plastic salad box, soil, plantlings)
  31. Plant some mystery seeds or pits
  32. Plan a dream garden
  33. Make a jungle diorama (shoe box, paper, glue)
  34. Make circus paper puppets (paper, Popsicle sticks)
  35. Make a paper flower bouquet (pipe cleaners, colorful tissue paper)
  36. Crochet a coaster
  37. Sew a pillow
  38. Make a doll
  39. Make doll furniture
  40. Write a letter
  41. Write an auto-biography
  42. Write a fictional story
  43. Write a true story
  44. Write a biography
  45. Write a poem
  46. Write a haiku
  47. Make a notebook
  48. Create a photo documentary
  49. Read to each other, or to the baby
  50. Math worksheets ( I like aplusmath.com)
  51. Math games with dice
  52. Handwriting worksheets (if you’ve found a good one online, send me the link)

As we get through the list I’ll add links to projects as appropriate :-)


Go fly a kite!

Go fly a kite!

This winter has be a rough one for us so far. Our house is full of empty tissue boxes, and still-runny noses, empty soup cans (who has the energy to make anything from scratch?), and piles of dirty dishes. Some days we all get so claustrophobic, such mind-numbing cabin fever, that we just need to get out.

These are the days made especially for kite flying. Even when there’s no wind to hoist the kites aloft.


Inspiration: dothis (on del.icio.us)

I’ve been thinking about the many (many) ways I keep lists. I have binders, books, wists, wikis, e-mail, word, excel, stickies, wish-lists, scraps of paper, white boards, cork boards… you name it & it’s probably got a list on it or in it.

Today I remembered another list that you might like. My del.icio.us "dothis" (do this) list. As I run into things I like on the web that I’d like to try out with or for the kids (& sometimes even Just For Me), I tag ’em there. Way easy.

Except for the remembering to go back and check the list part…

Here’s my current sampling (along with my notes… notes I’m rarely good about including, but made an extra effort to do for this post):

  1. Bella Dia: Vintage Vertical Stripe Crocheted Blanket Pattern

    This is perfect for someone like me who has lots of scrap yarn (all those projects I keep starting…)

  2. rostitchery: done is better than perfect

    Ooooh!
    I know exactly who I am going to make a few of this (at least one) for.
    First I have to stop by Goodwill to find some funky pillowcases — ours
    are just too… Ikea…

  3. » How to Make A Inexpensive Light Tent

    The more photos I take of the projects we do, the more I realize that I really, really need a light box.

  4. Cut Out + Keep | Crafty and Creative Blog | Ribbon Labels | by Cat Morley

    I want to make these for my daughter’s sewing projects. How cool to have your own label at eight?

  5. How to Make a 3D Paper Snowflake – WikiHow

    Next year…

  6. atelier v. — Chopstick control

    For my sushi loving kiddos…

  7. Kiddley » Blog Archive » Paper Santa Lucia crowns and hats

    Next year…

  8. My Work with Kids’ Drawings – a photoset on Flickr

    I love the idea of making new things out of children’s drawings. In this case, it’s stuffed toys.

  9. How to Make a Yo-Yo

    Sewing at my level. Even I could do this :-)

  10. craftster.org blog » Freezer Paper — Who Knew!?

    How to use freezer paper to make prints. Very simple.

  11. house on hill road: Flapper Hats

    I’d learn how to knit more than scarves, just so I could make these for my daughter.


Everyone RSVP’d panic (advice)

Milou's hand prints

On a mother’s group I recently joined, someone posted today asking for advice on how to entertain 12 under-fivers during a Super-bowl party. I figured I’d share my edited response here:

This is going to sound uber anal of me, but I write up a list of things to do as a reference. I rarely need to look back at it during the party, but it helps get rid of those "what was I thinking???" jitters. Even worse! For my kids’ birthday parties, I make up a time-line of what will (ideally) happen when.

Babies will be taken care of by their parents, so no need to have anything ready for them other than a quiet place for naps & nursing, and some whole milk.

For the olders:

*** Don’t bring everything out at once, but bring them out slowly, as needed ***

Ask each parent to bring their child’s favorite CD to share with the other kids. It’s also a nice way for parents to discover tunes they haven’t heard a zillion times. I’m in a Very Small Apartment, so I designate bedrooms as play areas. My kids always like to have dance parties in their room (it also helps keep the noise away from the game).

You can recruit the four and five year olds to help "care" for the littler ones — they love the responsibility and take it very seriously.

  • Set up a table with printables. Pre-school aged kids really like doing "homework."
  • Coloring pages (also from the web) are also a good thing to have for kids (who don’t eat crayons anymore). I’ll usually print ’em up following a theme like Jungle, Zoo, Elmo… whatever they’re into these days :-) You’ll need several of each design to prevent water works.
  • Crayons, safety scissors, glue sticks & stickers. Only set out markers if you aren’t worried about ink getting on things. It will.
  • Play D’oh is also a good thing to have handy.

For outside play you can have activities ready to go, but don’t feel you have to lead too much — kids know how to play. They’re pros at it :-)

Bouncy balls & sidewalk chalk are always a hit. Sidewalk chalk is especially fun if you add a bit of water & don’t mind a bit aof mess. Anything you have for your toddler will be just fine for the older kids (they’ll love playing "baby")

You’ll want to have kid friendly snacks like juice boxes, bottled water, mini pizzas, chicken nuggets, fruits & veggies. I bring these out a bit at a time.

Do you have any suggestions I should send this Mom’s way?


Inspiration: Kids’ activity books

These past few weeks have been pretty busy for us. Miss M has signed on to do a school musical, her first ever, and rehearsals are three times a week for two hour stretches. My Man B has taken up piano lessons and spends most of his time practicing or learning as much as he can about his newfound passion — POKEMON. Little T has been napping constantly… which, honestly, has been giving me time to make a small dent in the housekeeping that I’m always behind on.

{update a few hours later: I just re-read that bit & I’m a little freaked out. I’ve only been home with the kids for 4.5 months after working full-time for about 20 years. This is what I wanted, but it’s still odd to read and know this person is me. Oh, and I’m wearing an apron! I’m totally in love with my apron. You should see my mini-van with all the kid crap stuff strewn about…}

Everyone is too wiped out for much crafting or much of anything else outside of that so I don’t have too many new projects to share just now.

Instead, I thought you might be interested to check out some of my all-time Favorite kid activity books. Let me know in the comments if there are others I should check out from the library.

I CAN MAKE A RAINBOW
The copy I have is one my Mom bought me when I was a kid and needed entertaining (it’s dated 1976!). I rediscovered this book when we visited her back East last summer and I have had such fun going though it again for ideas. At eight years old, Miss M is at the perfect age for a book like this. With 300 pages of fun ideas, she’s guaranteed to find a bit of inspiration on her own (leaving Mom a bit of time to chase the youngers).

NATURE’S ART IN A BOX
I bought this one for the kids a year ago for Christmas. I find it fun to give a quick glance through before heading out on a leafy adventure. We’ve made several of the projects described in the book and they are treasured mementos.

DOING ART TOGETHER
This is one for parents and teachers. I find it a bit academic — not especially light-hearted as I like my muses to be. HOWEVER, it is full of very detailed instruction for introducing young ones to Art. My only regret with the edition I have is that the images are in black and white. Color is almost always what catches my attention.