Do you have children that are bored and you can not find ways to keep them occupied? Children are our lives but keeping them occupied in their free time can sometimes be very challenging. In this article we will give you some ideas that you are welcome to try out. We have listed some activities for Indoor, Outdoor, and Traveling. You may be surprised how much fun you can have yourself.
Tell a story; read a book or a chapter within a book and then tell a story about it making up you own ending. Another technique is have the children set in a ring and have them to add a sentence to support the story. You can get some real funny stories this way.
Buy some leftover rolls of wallpaper from a charity store or wallpaper shop. Cover a wall with the wallpaper (back side out) using tape, pins, etc. Give the children paints, crayons, chalk pens, whatever, and let them create their own drawings. The little ones can work on the bottom while the large kids can work on the top.
Take some old wax crayon stubs and let the kids make shavings from them with a butter knife onto a piece of wax paper. After they are done, carefully take their wax paper with their shavings to an ironing board, lay another piece of wax paper on top of it and press briefly with a warm iron. Let the kids watch as the colors melt together. Set the wax paper creations on a table to cool and harden.
Sort through your old clothes looking for some that are out of fashion or that you are too embarrassed to donate or give away. Find 2 cardboard boxes, one for “dress up” clothes and one for rags. Fill the “dress up” box with the most outrages clothes, and cut up the other clothes for the “rags” box. Let the kids play “dress up”, or let them create things with the rags. This will give them hours of fun!
Help the kids making finger puppets from paper and creating a “show” with a script and characters. Build up a few boxes sticking them together with packaging tape. Make the top box with an opening and hang with a curtain. (You can use one of rags from the rag box for this.) Let the kids practice until they feel really confident, and then invite a few friends or family members over to watch the “show”.
For this activity all you need is some strips of wide ribbon and 4 foot bamboo sticks. Cut or snap the bamboo sticks in half, tie the ribbon to the sticks (making sure the length is something the kid can handle) and turn the kids loose. Tell them to make shapes, circles, snakes, etc., just like they do on TV.
Fun in the Garden
Buy a cheap plastic double sided sandbox for the garden. Fill one half with sand and the other half with water. Add a whole lot of kitchen utensils and containers, and the kids will occupy themselves for ages. Make sure you always cover the sandbox when the kids are done, or you might find that your neighbor’s cats may think it’s their litter box…
One of the best activities I had as a kid was picking berries. Any berry will do: strawberries, blackberries, huckleberries, raspberries, and so on. Find a place that has the berries and turn the kids loose. (If in the wild, watch for the Poison Ivy and Poison Oak. If they are around, this is a very good opportunity to teach your kids about them.) Bring along a book about berries and use it as an educational tool on what is good to eat and what is not.
Organize a Treasure Hunt
Take some small items and hide around the house, garden, or park. Draw up maps and mark “X Marks the Spot” and easy to follow directions. This will teach the kids on how to follow maps and directions and give them lots of fun.
Take the kids on a neighborhood walk. Let them explore the area, houses, shops, parks in your area. Talk about the older buildings, and what it was like in those days. If you have a library close to your walk, use it for research on the way it was in your area.
Have everyone write down a secret word, which must a noun (the name of an object). Have the others try to guess it by asking questions about it. Take turns until everyone has tried their word. You can have playoffs between the ones that got stumped a lot, until you only have one left.
This one is really good for older kids who are learning to read, write and spell. The players take turns to say a word, any old word will do, the next person then has to take the last letter of the first word and think up another word and so on. For example the first person says the word “engine”, person 2 now needs to find a word beginning with the letter “e”, let’s say “elephant” next person in line would then have to find a word beginning with the letter “t”, such as “toys”. The winner is the last person to be able to think up a word.
I Went To Market
This is a memory game where each player takes a turn and says “I went to the market and bought “. The next player says “I went to the market and bought and “. This repeats with the winner being the last person to remember the entire list.
Give each child a piece of paper and have them chose a color and write it down. Now each time they see a car of that color, have make a mark. The first one to a preset number (say 15 or 20) is the winner.
The Travel Diary
For long trips, have each child create his/her own personal diary. Equip each child with a notebook and pen. The old children you way want to give them disposable cameras and the younger one art book and crayons. Let them document the trip by taking pictures and drawing and writing notes on what they see and where they went. This will not only keep them occupied but will also give them something to reflect on for the next journey.
This is only a starting guide to aid you in keeping your children occupied. Be creative and add to the list. Discuss ideas with you children and find out what their likes and dislikes are when it comes to how to occupy their spare time.
By CD Ainsworth
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