Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Activity Bucket

“Are you feeling tired, depressed, and overwhelmed with the duty of entertaining your children? Well look no further. We here at SAHM’s incorporated have the solution for you! For only $29.95 your child will be …”

Don’t you wish?

I wake up often with the prospect of an entire day of empty hours and sometimes feel at a loss. I cannot see how I am to fill up the hours. I feel ungrateful and a little silly for resenting the luxury of a whole day ahead of me and nothing to do but play with my child.

So I came up with a simple solution that is customizable for any age, family size, income level, etc. The basic idea is that you will have a number of activities that are inexpensive and/or easy to throw together or just go do with your kids. Cut them out, write them on popsicle sticks, etc. and then put them in a hat, a jar, a bag, whatever and when your kids are bored simply pull it out and let them choose something.

This idea can also be turned into a rewards jar. If your child struggles with not wanting to do their homework or chores a good way to motivate them can be to have a fun activity waiting at the end and if there is mystery involved it is even more fun. It is especially effective to have their help coming up with activities when using it as a motivational tool because then your child knows the activities in the jar are things they will enjoy.

Ideas for activities can include:
-Make people out of balloons
-Build a fort
-Read a story
-Sock Puppet Theater
-Record a favorite story with different voices
-Make a puzzle out of a magazine
-Find some ducks to feed
-Sidewalk chalk
-Indoor snowball fight (paper balls)
-Bake a treat for a neighbor
-Write letters to grandparents
-Go for a walk
-Collect leaves
-Play dress up
-Play grocery store with things from the pantry
-Play catch
-Pull out a board game
-Build something together

The possibilities are endless. Having a jar like this will save you from having to come up with ideas whenever you and/or your children are bored or restless. You can go grab the jar and get into some fun. Having your children help come up with ideas for the jar will be a great way for them to feel involved and that their opinion matters. It will also save you the trouble of coming up with all the activities on your own.

Most importantly remember that no matter what you do with them the fact that you are taking the time is the most important thing. They may learn something, or they may just always have that little moment with you where for an hour after school you just played.
I find myself forgetting that the house will be dirty tomorrow, dishes will almost always be waiting, laundry is dirty as soon as it’s clean, but every day with your children will never happen again – each moment they are growing and changing and effectively inching into their own lives and, in a way, out of yours; so take what you have been given and just play.

What are some of your favorite things to do with your children? What types of activities do your children most love doing with you?



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