We live in a very busy world. And by busy I mean always busy. Everyone is always busy.
We have to make time somewhere in our busy schedule for the things we want to do which please us. We also, as parents, have to make time in our very busy lives for our children. It does not have to be 3 hours a day.
But whatever amount of time you decide to dedicate to your child/children, it must be exactly that. Dedicated.
Small doses of fun time and selective doses of ‘special time’ make the world of difference in your child’s life. Create suspense, don’t tell them exactly what is planned, get them to build up the anticipation of a surprise. Remember, it is something you want your child to look forward to.
It can be a little more challenging when you have more than one child. However, it still remains of the utmost importance to remind them how much they mean to you. This time that you are spending with each child individually not only allows them to be uniquely themselves with you, but also tells them that they are that important that you will make everyone and everything around you wait so that you can be with them.
This is a time that should be blocked out in your diary or calendar as private time. If, like most stay home moms of more than one child, you have time between pickups or sport, make use of this time. Take them to the nearest park for play time, or stick them for a milkshake or “baby-chino” (frothed cream and chocolate powder sprinkled on top).
There are so many things you can do in this in-between time. You can also make this constructive time, whereby this is the time used to get the homework done for the day or something which needs practicing, is practiced. This will also make things run a lot smoother when you do finally get home and need to start with the next routine – dinner, bathing etc. It also frees up some time later to perhaps do other things with your child or their sibling(s).
We all want top achievers, socially adapted and mentally stable kids who are going to lead the world to higher ground right? Or something close to that anyway… Reality is we are not all going to get that. But by dedicating time to them and making them feel like they are your everything, you will get really happy kids who can take on the world.
Remember, kids learn through play.
I have put together a list of 30 things which should spark new enthusiasm if you are needing a little fun time inspiration:
A visit to the library
One free resource, and frequently overlooked is your local library. Set aside time for your library visit. It can’t be rushed. Be patient and let them explore the books in their own environment, and show interest in the stories your child discovers. You’ll learn a lot about and understand your child better. Find out what some of the other benefits of a trip to the library are here.
Bake something together
There is so much fun to be had when baking. The benefits for your child are countless and will help develop skills you’re not even aware are being developed. The fun and memories made should be enough, but you can find out more about why baking is good for your child here.
Colour in together
Colouring is important in the life of your child. It gives a child the chance to express themselves. Concentration and focus is another lesson that is learned from colouring in. Read this to find out more about why you should colour in with you child.
Did you know that ten-pin bowling can increase your child’s confidence? That’s right. Along with a long list of other great benefits. Click here to read more about these. We love bowling, it’s a great activity for rainy days and something where you can also encourage healthy competition between you two.
Visit a museum
Museums make you smarter. They provide a lifelong process whereby your child will acquire attitudes, values, skills and knowledge from daily experiences. You and your child will treasure the memories from your trip. If you’re still not convinced, check this out.
Write and mail a letter
Encourage your child to write letters. It will improve their communication, social and handwriting skills. There is something magical in receiving a handwritten letter in the mail. Here are more reasons why you should write a letter with your child.
Take a walk with your 8 year child
Walking is an activity that allows your child to be free and spontaneous. It’s one of the easiest ways to be physically active. Click here to learn about more of the benefits of walking with kids.
My 8 year old loves this! I was quite taken aback by how much “fun” she perceived walking to be.
Play a card or board game
Playing games is an easy and excellent way to spend unhurried, enjoyable time together. Check this out if you’re wondering why it is good for them. Games can help your child weave their wild and erratic side into a more organized, mature, and socially acceptable personality. Here are more reasons to take on this insanely fun task!
Gardening is a great opportunity to teach your child about work and patience and spend quality time together. Involve them in the entire process- including the messy part. Allowing your child to feel and experience dirt between their fingers is a great sensory activity. Let go of perfection or any expectations. Learn more about why this is not only fun, but also good for your child.
Sidewalk Chalk games
This is something almost any kid will enjoy! You can do this on the sidewalk outside your home or your driveway or anywhere that allows it! It is a great memory builder and a fun photo taking opportunity. Click here for more fun games of drawing on the ground!
This is something that never really grows old. The level of ‘competition’ grows with the child. Engaging in a game of ‘soccer’ or ‘basketball’ or ‘netball’ utilising your household and garden items for goals, is both fun and stimulating for your child. And the bonus of a little workout for you too. Here are more reasons why this is a great activity!
Make and create
Engaging in a craft project teaches your child many things; planning, preparation, following instructions, etc. It also teaches them responsibility when it comes to clean up time. They will also have an incredible amount of pleasure in showing off their made craft when you stick it up or put it on show. There are countless easy to do ideas available online.
Jump rope games
This is something that will not only help your child burn off excess energy but is also great for stimulating their coordination and balance, listening and remembering skills and developing their stamina. For more on why this should be done more often, simply click here.
Wash the car
This is fun, and again something that requires patience. Your kids won’t get it right the first time – or even the fifth time – but each time they learn a new step. It is also fun for them to simply help. And what kid doesn’t like playing in water? So, keep it fun and simple for them. Keep the music on and the chat going and you’d be surprised at how much will get done and what you may learn from her! Read this if you need more reasons why this should be attempted.
Hula Hoop games
A great way to get your kids fit and raring for summer, or to warm them up on a cold winters day. This is also an activity which could be encouraged well into teenage years and adopted later on as an exercise more than a fun game. Click here for more on why hula hoops are fun.
Read a book together
This is part of my bed time routine with each of my kids. Parents build strong minds and strong relationships. It will improve their listening skills and build an oral vocabulary. Click here to learn more about the benefits of reading with and to your child.
Bean bag games
Bean bags are always amusing to a child. They love exploring the texture through the materials as well as refining their hand eye coordination with some awesome games. This is a fun way for you to spend some time with your child. For bean bag game ideas click here.
Listen to new music together
Music is the key to de-stressing for so many people. For your kids too, in years to come, they will turn to music for release, identification, expression and so many more countless reasons. I personally LOVE music and it is always on in our house. I make sure my kids are exposed to every kind of music and keep a close ear on what messages are being relayed in the songs. The ones I don’t agree with, get the boot. We love to sing and dance along too. Here are more reasons why you should listen to music with your child.
You may never have thought of this as a special time or bonding activity. But if you have the resources – a lake or river nearby, a simple fishing rod and accessories – then you are all set. And if you have never fished before, do not be afraid to ask for advice or assistance. What an adventure for you both to embark on! Once you have it figured out you can only improve, and then look back at the beginning and enjoy the laughs! Why fishing? Click here.
Go on a date
This could really be the highlight of your childs’ month! I do this once a month with each of my three kids – only because more often would become too costly – and they absolutely love it! Whether it’s a breakfast or lunch or dinner, it’s a special occasion and they cannot wait for their turn. For more on why this rocks, click here.
Go on a pine cone hunt
This is something that always brings so much pleasure to my kids. My 8 year old is now old enough to climb up and pull off some cones if there aren’t that many on the ground, but generally it’s great fun challenging each other to the most cones collected! The uses for the fallen pine cones is endless. To find out more, click here.
Host a play date with their favourite friend
One-on-one play dates are the best way to build close friendships. These play dates help to enhance self-esteem and make your child feel special. Your child is able to see that another child wants to play with him\her exclusively. Play dates help your child improve social skills and assist them in making and keeping friends. Teaching your child to find and keep friends is one of the most important gifts you can give your child in life. Here are more reasons why this is a good idea.
Learn to cook
Another something that will benefit your child for years to come. Keep it simple and fun. Perhaps doing all the hard work and prep beforehand so that she doesn’t get bored with the activity.
Allowing your child to use various kitchen materials – such as a greater, sharp knife, wooden spoon etc, has countless benefits for their development too. Naturally we are all a little nervous with sharp objects, but starting them off with easy to cut items using a blunt/butter knife will ease the nerves. This will give you more insight into the benefits of cooking with your child.
Under Pillow note books
I love this idea. I came across it a while ago looking for inspiration with my 8 year old. This has proven to be quite a fun activity. I recently wrote to tell her how proud I was of her ballet performance, and while she may not respond to everything, she always comes and gives me a secret smile with a ‘thank you’. Check it out here.
Make and play with walkie talkie cans
Not only is this a fun way to spend time with your child by making these, there is also hours of fun to be had for days after making them! More on how-to here.
Make your own selfie props
This is something that can be saved and used a hundred times over at parties, special events or just for fun. It’s always fun for a kid to play around with a camera, and you can add to that with this awesome idea. You can get inspiration from any of their favourite cartoons or show, or characters from their favourite books. Pinterest has some fantastic inspiration for you too. Get inspired here.
Make a tent
Make a tent with whatever you have available, or (if you are able) make a more “permanent” one. Then let it be a special place where you two hang out and have hot chocolate and cookies or juice, or ice cream. For more ideas, click here.
Dress Up together
Dress up play is so much fun. It not only allows your child to be whoever they want to be, but also broadens their imagination. This very simple game has so many hidden life lessons in it, click here to find out more. Create a safe environment where your child can explore with you joining in.
Have a picnic
Whether it be in your back yard or your nearest park or the beach, make sure to include your child in the planning and preparation for the day. Allow them to help you in buying, making or packing the foods for your fun picnic. More picnic ideas here.
Rake leaves and jump in them
I am a firm believer that kids should be taught to work hard and play hard. It’s important that when teaching your 8 year old about chores and responsibility that you make it as fun as possible. Learn more about this important life lesson here.