In the current situation, you may be finding it hard to keep your kids busy. As the choice of activities and gatherings are limited until further notice, children may find the day long—but with a little imagination, you can still have fun with your family at home.
Take advantage of the nice weather to hold a family Olympics in your backyard. Depending on how old your children are, adapt the events to suit their ages. Younger children will enjoy simpler challenges such as obstacle courses, long jump, or the famous potato sack race (use reusable cloth bags or old pillowcases). You can up the ante a little for your tweens and teens. For instance, ask each participant to balance a ping-pong ball on a spoon. The first one to reach the finish line without dropping their ball wins. Another variation is to put the ping-pong balls on the ground and have the athletes get them across the finish line—just by blowing on them!
To make your family Olympics even more fun, make your own medals using wire, cardboard, and paint. Your kids will surely be glad to lend you a hand. For the podium, simply use the front or back stairs of your house and have the winner stand on the highest step. After the competition, reward your little champions with delicious fruit smoothies. The gold medal winner could even receive a special prize (like a free pass from household chores or the choice of which movie to watch that night).
Gardening is another great outdoor activity, even for teens. Ask your kids to help you plant your flower beds. Then, once your plants are in the ground, ask them to help you weed, water, and tend them on a daily basis. Routine is good for morale. Plus your children will feel proud when they see the flowers blooming.
Even better, make a vegetable garden and let your kids choose which herbs and vegetables to plant. In a few weeks, they’ll get to taste the fruits of their labour. Take the opportunity to teach them about ecology and the natural sciences as you play in the dirt.
Don’t have a yard? No problem! Plant your veggies, herbs, and other plants on your balcony. There are lots of online tutorials on how to grow plants at home. You can also find tips and tricks in our article on hydroponics.
Yoga is good for your muscles, but it’s also an excellent way to manage stress. Preschoolers and teens alike can benefit from this practice, which can be done indoors or out.
With younger children, be sure to choose postures suited to toddlers and go gradually. Also keep in mind that the first few sessions should be shorter, as your children’s bodies will have to adapt to the new postures. But with a little perseverance, yoga is sure to become one of their favourite activities!
A rainy day doesn’t have to be a drag! When the weather keeps your kids from playing outside, you can still have fun inside. Lots of kids love to draw. Do free drawing sessions or ask your children to draw a particular theme or object, like the cardinal you just saw out the window.
Speaking of birds, why not build a bird feeder? You can build a basic bird feeder out of something simple like cardboard, or a more advanced one out of wood, depending on how old your children are. You can find lots of tutorials online. Once you’ve built your feeder, set it up in your yard or on your balcony, in accordance with municipal by-laws, and wait for the blue jays, hummingbirds, and swallows to come for a visit. Have a camera? Introduce your kids to photography and have them take photos of your new feathered friends.
When you finish teaching them about photography, pull out the paint brushes. Younger children will enjoy free painting, but older ones might like to try their hand at the techniques of the great masters. No need to have an art degree, though. Go online and show them works by masters such as Claude Monet or Pablo Picasso and ask them to try to mimic their style. Once their paintings are finished, hold a small art opening in your living room or basement and invite your children’s grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, and friends to view their masterpieces via videoconference.
When the weather isn’t cooperating, dig out those board games that are hidden in the back of the closet. Organize a friendly game between family members. To avoid arguments, ask each of your children to take turns choosing which game to play next.
Have your children outgrown your board games? Take out a deck of cards and introduce them, depending on their age, to classics such as War, Hearts, and Bridge. You can also order new board games online or make your own out of cardboard or other materials.
Kids are never too young to learn to cook! Depending on your children’s interests and ages, they will surely enjoy helping you chop ingredients, cook, and season different dishes. You can follow a recipe or create your own using your little ones’ imaginations.
Once you’ve eaten the delicious meal, ask your apprentice chefs to help you clear the table and do the dishes. The little ones will surely love to play with the bubbles!
Turn your home into a lab and get your kids to conduct science experiments. No need for chemistry instruments. Many science experiments for kids only call for basic ingredients such as corn syrup, food colouring, and oil.
In addition to being a fun way to spend time with your family, these experiments will teach your children some chemistry.
In short, whether you live in a house, condo, or apartment, there are tons of fun activities you can do with your family. If you do a little digging on the Web, you’ll find lots of other ideas for activities suited to your kids’ ages and interests.