It may not surprise you to find that we are more of “go outside and get dirty” people. We love the outdoors and the ingredients that come from it! We just believe in getting kids outside, in the sun, with dirt under your fingernails and grass stains on your play clothes. It allows their imaginations to blossom like the flowers around them and as my mom would say, “blow some stink off” so they will be sure to sleep well that night which is always a bonus!
In our digital age with so many screens to keep people occupied our kids are turning to them for entertainment as well. Kids ages 8-18 spend an average of 7 hours a day looking at a screen where the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that this age group not have more than 2 and kids ages 2-5, no more than 1 hour. High levels of screen time have been shown to increase sedentary behavior thus increasing the chances for obesity. It is shown that while in front of the screen kids start snacking and because they aren’t in tune with their body’s natural “I’m full” signals they keep munching and munching. It’s happened to all of us! Doctors are encouraging parents and guardians to step in as a “media mentor” teaching healthy habits with screens. This will be great for their overall health and even social skills! Kids are vibrant and their minds are wonderfully imaginative. It is amazing what they will do with little things that are seemingly insignificant. A piece of thread and a pebble become something great and they are off on an imaginative journey!
As a parent, it can seem overwhelming to plan things for your kids to do, but that is the beauty with these tips. You can kind of leave them to their imagination and just supervise/check-in to ensure that they are not coloring on the walls or flying around on the ceiling fan. Other than that they just play and any boredom that may come encourages them to figure something out!
So with all that said; here are the tips!
We are going to start off simple. You don’t even need fancy coloring books just paper and crayons. If they are struggling, give them a prompt or tell them to draw a story and then perform it. It is lots of fun and really gets the creative juices flowing on rainy or snowy days.
2. Play Make-Believe
I don’t know about you but when I was little I absolutely loved playing make-believe with my brother or on my own. I would turn blankets into gowns and necklaces into crowns reenacting different stories that I had heard. Get a little chest or basket together with older clothes, capes, masks, and hats. Let this simple thing be a treasure trove where imagination can grow!
Books are excellent. They are simple, create amazing worlds, pass down wisdom, and are a great thing to be had on dreary days. Not all kiddos are big readers, but there are amazing picture books or books on oceans and different lands that they can learn about or simply look at neat pictures.
4. Go for a walk in nature
This is great for bonding and having adventures together! Walk around your yard, go to the park, look at all the little plants around a tree or what is in the flower bed. Collect cool pebbles, look for unique flowers, or if your kiddo finds a walking stick have fun with it and laugh together. Talk together; have quality time. This also allows kids to collect goodies for the next tip!
5. Good ole’ Sticks & Leaves
If all the crayons are used up or crushed in tiny pieces; if the kids are done with their performances for the day, and if it is not going to work out to go on a walk have them go out and grab some sticks and figure out something to build. Give them some string and challenge them to build a fort or get enough wood to “make a fire.”
But, if all else fails, there is nothing wrong with sitting down, popping some popcorn and laughing at a classic cartoon. It’s all about balance.