(re)capturing the fun & wonder

Tag: Games

Scavenged bow and arrow


I’m always thrilled when the kids take it upon themselves to develop and execute their own creative projects. I’m thinking there must have been and American Indian theme running through our day yesterday, or perhaps my boy’s haircut was inspired by his sister’s Bow and Arrow project.

Miss M spent a good bit of time scrounging for just the right bits of vine and sticks for her creation, bending and knotting until she got it just right.

I have to say I was mightily impressed at how good her aim got with a bit of practice.

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.

Mrs. Pigglewiggy

ballThe kids came up with a simple (and educational!) game yesterday that I thought you might like, too. It goes like this:

They sit on the floor about six feet away from each other, and toss a ball back and forth. (I’m sure I’ve mentioned their genius status before, right?)

While they toss the ball, they sing “Mrs. Pigglewiggy” in a sing-song voice for four tosses. On the fourth toss the kid who has the ball calls out a math problem “9 plus 8 is what?” then tosses the ball. The other kid has to answer before they can toss the ball back again.

This has kept them happily occupied for two days in a row & they love it. My Man B loves it ’cause he gets to show how quick he is at math, and Miss M loves it because it was HER idea.

How to travel with kids so they don’t drive you insane

Best kids on the plane One of the {many} nice things about writing this blog is that it gives me the opportunity to reflect a bit. I often find myself browsing through our photo library, and I feel so lucky to have captured so many wonderful moments (even a few not-so-wonderful ones like this, and this).

An e-mail exchange I had with Maya’s Mom (she does have a real name, it’s Ann) about traveling with kids had me looking up this shot.

In this particular photo we are flying back to the Bay Area from Nice last winter. At the end of the flight we had an older woman stop us, all smiles, to say how great our kids were(!!). They hadn’t been perfect (none of us ever are, on principle), but they had played, and napped, and had fun without anyone throwing any major tantrums or fits.

I think I know why. We were prepared. Simple as that.

When we fly, each kid gets to pack a carry-on backpack with Three of their favorite books, and One special toy.  After they’ve gone to bed I add the Mommy Touches & they aren’t allowed to peek before we get to the boarding area:

  • Decks of cards for playing solitaire, poker, go fish, crazy eights…
  • Dice to play math games. Roll ’em and add, multiply, subtract… depending on the child’s age.
  • Coloring books & new pencils
  • New notebooks to chronicle their trip
  • Assorted craft items that don’t take up a lot of room like origami paper, and scratch papers.
  • A couple snacks they like (raisins for him, granola bars for her)
  • A pack of Starburst candy each. This is for take-off and landing to help with the ear pressure — the last thing we want is to begin, or end, the trip in pain and in tears.
  • Two more books each that they haven’t read before

Each kid gets items that are just-for-them, as well as things to share and play together or with Mom & Dad. The only rule I set for all this is that they can only take one item out at a time (so Mama isn’t on her hands and knees at the end of the flight, searching for some tiny thing that’s probably wedged in a seat where no one will ever find it again).

The point is that travel is a Big Adventure for a kid to go on, and we do our best to keep it that way without letting them go over the edge from happy-excited to over-excited. That is not fun.