Thursday, February 2, 2012

6 Fun Filled Activities

I think it is always so great when you can do a new activity with your kiddos. Some of the excited, surprised, & sometimes even confused looks they can get on their face are absolutely priceless when being introduced to something new. The other day Aidann randomly asked me, "How do you really get milk from a cow?" & "What do hippopotamuses eat?". I definitely was surprised at these 2 out of the blue & completely mismatched inquiries, but I also thought that it was such a good thing she took the initiative to ask like that. So, instead of just telling her, I actually found a few videos & showed her! Books are nice tools for sure, but for actually getting show her the answers was amazing!!! You would have thought I had given that kid a free shopping spree to Toys R Us or something. Her eyes were so wide as she watched an actual hippo chomp down a pumpkin & a man milking a cow from its utters. How empowering to be able to give our kids that kind of insight.

New is good. Yes, it can be a lot of work sometimes to come up with new & creative activities/adventures, but if we at least try to do something new once every week or every other week, you will truly get to see just how excited your kids can get as you expand their lil' minds & break out of routine from time to time! So, to kick start the year & lighten the load a lil' I thought I would post 12 ideas I have recently come across to hopefully benefit you & your kids.

1) LET IT GROW! Let it grow! Let it grow!

 Since it is the beginning of a new year, my husband & I thought it would be so fun to have the kids plant their own flowers. This activity is awesome because it can be super empowering, help reemphasize the concept of responsibility & also how things grow/change. First, the girls got to go to the store with their dad & help pick everything they would need out. They loved how they got to pick the color/design on their flowers pots, the types of flowers they wanted to plant, & etc. Even lil' Aussie got to take part in this activity (why not?). After they got home, we explained to them what we were going to do & why we were going to do it. We talked about why we have to put in the soil 1st & why we had to dig a hole & push the seeds deep down. We talked about what plants need to grow & how they were going to be responsible for making sure their plants got these things. As those lil' ladies planted their seeds, put their pots in a sunny spot, & watered them their faces truly beamed with pride!

Over the past few weeks those girls have been so faithful in taking their job seriously & they are finally starting to see the results. You can even make a science project out of it by having them draw what they see over the course of time. Good stuff!

Ashy giving her "silly eye" lol

Clapping for herself :)

2) Painting Indoors

Since I am not supposed to getting up as much these days, my mom was kind enough to put together a new art box for the "A Team". I had showed it to them when we 1st got it & they immediately were drawn to the potentially messiest thing in there-paint! This activity I am usually down for, but because I was unable to oversee this project to the extent I usually would I decided to give them each a paintbrush & a "cup of paint" (aka a cup of water) instead. "Will you please go & paint my house pink with sparkles. I also need my fence painted green", I asked. At 1st they just stared at me a bit puzzled until a few second later they caught on. They immediately ran to their playhouse & began "painting" away. It was so cute as they would keep running back to my house every 10 or 15 minutes asking for a new paint assignment or reporting back to me a new paint job they had commissioned for themselves. They would have seriously done this activity every day the rest of the week, but I didn't let them. I try to space those activities/trips that they especially like out because otherwise they lose their special & it is not such a treat the next time they get to do it.

Austin trying to get in on the action!

3) Mining for Gold

This activity I have not tried with my kids yet, but we used to do it at my old job & those kids adored it. All you need to do is collect some rocks & then spray paint them gold. The next step is to hide them in a sandbox (If you do not have 1, you can get creative & hide the "gold" in a designate dirty zone or fill up a big Tupperware with oatmeal oats or something). Next, equip your kids with some gold finding tools like shovels, sifters, buckets, & etc. then you are ready to go. Usually kids will get excited if your are excited, so make a big deal about how they get to go out & look for these special treasures. Before you do the activity you could even find a kids book from the library about panning/mining for gold or find a video so they can see how its done.

4) Painting Outside

Sure painting inside can be fun, but it can also be very exciting (and less messy) to paint outside. We just got the girls some watercolors, paintbrushes, a cup of water, & a huge roll or IKEA paper & rolled it out on the driveway & let them go at it. They loved being able to paint on this extra long sheet of paper while also watching the cars go by & kids playing. My husband even washed their hands & dragged out the picnic table so that they could also enjoy some lunch outside before returning to this very relaxing project. I thought it was cool how he used the long roll of paper rather than separate sheets because it presented a great opportunity to share with each other & just enjoyed laying on their lil' bellies painting next to each other.

5) Get Out & Do Something New

Sometimes it takes some serious detective work, but in every state there are things for kiddos to do. It is important, especially if you are a SAHM (stay at home mom), to get your kids out & about every now & then. A lot of places offer tours if you are just willing to ask. Why can't they go see how a pizza is made or how a grocery store operates? Aidann has especially shown a huge interest in cows recently, so we are setting up a trip for her to visit Shamrock Farms where she can not only watch actual cows get milked, but get an idea how milk is even bottled & shipped. There are also zoos, ice skating rinks, parks, candy factories, & etc. You can even just set up play dates with other mommies you know. Assign someone the snack & someone else an art project or group game & rotate. Classes are also great way to get the kids out of the house like sports, dance, Gymboree, etc. Some libraries also offer free weekly programs for kids to enjoy or some bigger activities throughout the month (movie day, a bear picnic, magicians, & so forth).

6) Laundry Basket Demolition

This is probably 1 of my energetic husband's favorite activities to do with the girls. Awhile back we purchased these big cardboard blocks by Imaginarium. The girls love to build big towers or castles out of them. Well, 1 day my husband decided give the girls rides in the laundry basket & pull them all around the house & then right through their creation sending it crashing down on top of them. I definitely recommend doing this on carpet & using the cardboard  blocks so it can stay a fun activity & no one gets hurt. This game is actaully good when you have multiple kids because everyone must participate in building the tower each time if they want to have a turn in the basket later on. Then only 1 kid gets to ride in the basket while the rest of the kids stay clear & we encourage them to cheer & be happy for their sibiling. Then when their turn rolls around, the same positive behavior & participation is expected out of the other siblings.

If this fun activity doesn't wake them up, nothing will.
It was like 9am, lol.

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