Raise your hand if you feel like your days are repetitive or overly scheduled. Yes, we all do so many activities – dance, sports, music, playdates, yard time, playgrounds, school, various chores, and even the occasional trip to a museum or zoo – but when we’re at home it can be a bit same-same-same.
I mean, my kids love their toys and art things and books, but even they get bored from time to time. (It might be because they have too many choices because they’re spoiled kids … I admit it.) In addition to toy rotation, we occasionally “go crazy” (okay, not really crazy) with something special.
Put these tips in your special “I need something to spice things up or we will die of boredom” arsenal. These have really helped to bring a smile to my girls’ faces and kept my husband and I from acquiring a slack-jawed and glazed-eye look of parenting boredom. On to fun!
- Have a “dark party” with glow sticks. Is there a kid who doesn’t like playing with glow sticks? None that I’ve met. A few months back my husband made a life-changing decision to purchase these glow sticks, and since then my children have learned the magic of light-emitting chemical reactions. It’s pretty much the coolest and cleanest science lesson, right? My girls have a dark party – meaning they dance with the lights off for a few minutes after dinner and clean-up, making their own magic show. We’ve even put them in the bathtub with the lights off for the coolest bathtime EVER. And they can last several nights if you put them in the freezer after lights out. Magic indeed.
- Just say it with firecrackers! My Brooklyn-born husband apparently lit up the streets with his cousins and hundreds of fellow Brooklynites, especially on July 4th, but the closest I ever got was watching Fred Astaire’s epic “Just Say It With Firecrackers” number in Holiday Inn (why isn’t this clip on YouTube?!). But thanks to NJ now allowing firecrackers – and our local grocery store selling them – we can put on our own show! This is kind of the ultimate kid’s show, right? I mean, my kids are too young to play with them (they watch) … except the little blast caps ones that pop when you throw them on the ground. Even Puff loves to “tap dance” and throw a few down!
- Build the biggest blanket fort ever!. You know what can simultaneously amaze your kids while keeping them amused for the entire day? A gigantic blanket fort!
I’m talking the kind that uses every spare sheet and blanket in your house, all the couch cushions and pillows you can round up, a string or two or Christmas lights, some yarn to tie things up if needed, and even an empty wrapping paper roll or two for pole supports. For this, the bigger, the better! They can build a reading nook in the fort, spread out a picnic blanket inside for lunch and a snack, and maybe even a napping space, if you’re so lucky….
- Dress-up time … all day long. I’m usually the kind of mom that relegates dress-up clothes to inside only, and I want them to wear day clothes more than dress-up clothes (mostly for reasons of mankiness). But every once in awhile, for an extra special sort of day-long imaginary fun, let your kid dress up in their favorite costume on an ordinary day, and do your normal chores. (I mean, don’t send her to school in a Wonder Woman costume, but I think the grocery store and Target, even library story time, are fair game for dress-up day.) Your child will feel so special all day long. They will truly get in character and enjoy every minute! Just be sure to tell them this is a special thing that only happens the one day, else they’ll ask to dress up in public every day as if every day is October 31st!
- Make a wild dish that’s really over the top. For example, make a big banana split to share (for lunch?!). If you’re worried it’s too sugary/fattening/etc, use frozen yogurt or sorbet (or homemade mango or banana sorbet – we put frozen fruit chunks with a bit of Greek yogurt and honey into the food processor … it’s dreamy!). Go all out with whipped cream, sprinkles, chocolate syrup, sprinkles. In my opinion, there has to be chocolate somewhere, though, because otherwise why bother? Or make crazy sprinkle cookies like these amazing ones from Joy The Baker.
- Let the kids “drive” somewhere. You want to give your kids a real thrill? Let them experience the fun you have driving while they’re stuck in the backseat? Put them in the drivers seat and passenger seat while the car is off in the driveway! Tell them they can drive anywhere … and their imaginations will rev into sixth gear. Kids can amuse themselves for a good half hour to 45 minutes this way – the ultimate pretend play! My girls lovelovelove this game, and as long as we’re right outside the car (with windows down and keys in our pocket) or in the backseat, we are all happy as clams.
- Ultimate hide and seek. Do you play hide and seek with your kids? We do, and even little Puff gets involved – although she can’t stay quiet well enough to hide on her own. But we hide all over the house and play for up to an hour at a time. Is it just my kids that love this game? We don’t play it often, but I remind us to play it when my kids need to get rid of energy and many giggles. It’s a blast! Squish is kind of bad at hiding (such as laying on the couch with a pillow covering her), but I hide behind drapes, in a long coat hanging up on the front hook, and under my thick comforter. Who doesn’t love a challenge?
These are our go-to special and kind of outrageous games and toys when I need to kick things up a notch. I feel like we’ve scored a real parenting win when I do!
What do you do to score a big parenting win?
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Are you reading the Coach Daddy blog yet? You should! Great writing, musings, and community. Welcome To The Nursery was included in Eli’s monthly “6 Word” challenge, and this one answers Why we’d be in the Guinness Book. Hop over to see how yours truly hopes to be remembered – cheers to old age and being limber!
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