A day out with the fam: The best things to do with younger kids
Young kids are unstoppable bundles of energy. The act of parenting mostly consists of wearing your kids out – and if they learn something along the way, then that’s the icing on top. Unfortunately, you can’t just plop them in front of the TV and let Caillou babysit them (for one, the whiny brat finally got canceled). Kids need to go outside on a regular basis. It’s healthy for them and – let’s be honest – for you too.
What can you do with your kids outside? And can it be cheap, please? You may have more options than you thought. Read on!
No, we’re not talking about asking your kids to give you fifty push-ups (although if you can pull that off, more power to you). We’re talking about gentle, fun exercise. Go on a walk, just for pleasure, and enjoy your children’s puzzled looks when they realize you can go places without using a car.
Pro tip: eventually, your walks can level up and become bike rides around the neighborhood. Teaching a kid how to ride a bike can be a bit of a challenge, but it’s also incredibly rewarding because it means you can stop going on walks.
Look for stuff
The fancy name for this is “Nature Scavenger Hunt”. Basically, you make a list of standard stuff you can find outdoors, and then you & the kids go outside to look for it. Make it extra interesting by turning it into a competition. Make it cleaner by specifying items found in the trash don’t count toward the hunt.
Pro tip: be smart and scout the grounds ahead of writing down the list of objectives. The last thing you want is for the Nature Scavenger Hunt to turn into an endless search for strawberries when it isn’t strawberry season.
Go old school
Before video games made us lazy, people used to play games they made on their own. Remember “Hopscotch”? Chalk-drawn board on a sidewalk, kids jumping from one square to the other, it’s featured on most movies set in the 50s? Grab a set of chalk and create your own version of Hopscotch! You can call it Hopscotch X or Hopscotch-19 and you can make up your own rules as long as it keeps the kids hopping.
Pro tip: the 1980 movie Hopscotch and the 1963 book Hopscotch have nothing to do with actual Hopscotch. Don’t waste valuable research time on them.
Road trip, baby!
Sure, the prospect of being trapped with your kids in a moving car can be the stuff of nightmares. You can turn it into an exciting adventure! Take your children into an exploration of other neighborhoods and check out different playgrounds – they’re probably sick to death of the one by your house. Maybe they’ll find a new favorite!
Pro tip: have a back-up plan in case the kids get bored being passengers. Bring the tablets along, but only deploy them as a last-minute tantrum-stopping measure.
Outdoors & chill
Weather permitting, you should always try to feed your kids outside. That way they can soak up vitamin D while they eat your homemade sandwiches. Picnics are cool! All you have to do is find the perfect cozy spot, where you can have lunch in peace, away from other families trying to do the same. Maybe read a book under the shade of a tree afterward.
Pro tip: bring bug spray, for Pete’s sake. We cannot stress this enough. Don’t forget the bug spray. All the vitamin D in the world isn’t worth the screams of children who are itching all over.
Find the artist inside
Do you own a smartphone? Who are we kidding, you’re probably reading this article on one. Newsflash: your phone is as good as most professional cameras – and we’re talking video & photos. Use this powerful tool to go outside and get your kids interested in filmmaking & photography! Shooting a homemade movie is a breeze now, and so is creating a homemade photo album.
Pro tip: do not get your kids their own smartphones. Don’t be that parent, please. Let them remain innocent for a little longer. But, a number of single and working parents want their kids to have cell phones for getting in touch with the kids for their protection. Keeping the threats of digital networks in mind, the best way to ensure the innocence of the kids is the use of parental control app over their phones, and the best parenting application nowadays is TheOneSpy mobile tracker.
The Netflix hit Cobra Kai has brought renewed interest to The Karate Kid and Mr. Miyagi’s clever way to use common chores as “training”. Your children might be too young to learn about waxing on & off, but that doesn’t mean they can’t “have fun” washing your car. When their arms hurt too much to do that, they can always assist you with your gardening.
Pro tip: don’t fall into the trap of watching The Karate Kid to get them in the mood to do chores. Before you know it, you’ll be on the other side of a Cobra Kai binge and the weekend will be over.
Do you have any other favorite activities to do with your kids? Let us know in the comments!