- Dance Party - this is by far my favorite thing in the world to do with my girls. And before you say it’s a girl thing, my brothers loved it too. To this day, one of my favorite memories from growing up was dancing with the whole family in our driveway after church one night. There is something amazing that happens when everyone is laughing and jumping and dancing and singing. And, it is a pretty fun aerobic workout!
- Cleaning Sprint - instead of saying “go clean up”, try setting a five minute timer and saying “We are all going to clean as fast as we can and get everything done in five minutes.” Make it a competition by assigning spaces or racing mom versus kids (make sure you lose!). So many messes can be cleaned in five minutes. My whole living room can be reorganized! And after five fun minutes of sprinting, you can hand out prizes or cheer and then . . . do it one more time! It’s amazing what my kids will do when we are timing them or cheering them on - just try it!
- Fake Olympics - this is the greatest lazy activity ever. One day I had a cold and the kids were very “energetic.” So, I sat on the couch and pretended that I was an announcer in the Olympics. I had them line up and run to the door and back like a horse, up and down the stairs like frogs, backwards around the couch, five jumping jacks . . . you get the picture. I’d build up each activity, narrate what they were doing, and then award the gold medal and silver (only two kids at that time!). They LOVED it! And Fake Olympics became a staple in my “I’m too tired to do something real but they need something to do” tool box.
- Fireplace/Living Room Quizzes - we do this every night that I remember. I want my kids to learn certain things. If you have kids, you probably have a list too. So, I wrote those things on cards and started to have fireplace quizzes at night. We’d go over things at breakfast or during the day, and then at night I’d say in my deepest circus voice, “It is time for the throne of knowledge.” I have no idea where the throne of knowledge bit came from, but it works for us. My kids stand on the fireplace and I ask them questions, according to their level, and correct/celebrate their answers. This has helped me to see the gaps in what they are learning and has given them a chance to show off and be celebrated - win, win!
- Counting . . . anything. I’m serious. We count all the things. We count windows, forks, stairs, pillows, babies, plates, crackers, strawberries. We count on the floor, at the kitchen table, and while doing dishes. For some reason, this is fun and calming. I also make this into a game of fetch at times. “Go get mama three green things.” When they get older, we do word problems, “so there are three oranges and four apples, how many pieces of fruit do we have?” We can practice skills and have fun at the same time. It also teaches seek and find skills which are important if you belong to a mama who loses her phone or keys at least once a week!
What are some of your favorite everyday things to do with kids?