While the world is practicing social distancing and theme parks, museums, libraries, zoos, and more are all closed that doesn’t have to stop our kids from going to all the places…even while being quarantined in our homes.
This list of free virtual tours allows you and your kids to have fun learning and experiencing places they might not get a chance to visit, especially when most of these places are closed due to the pandemic.
Just point and click and fly all over the globe without ever leaving your couch!
Free Virtual Zoo Tours
Georgia Aquarium: The live webcams at the Georgia Aquarium are literally stunning and feature live feeds of their piranhas, blue whales, jellyfish, and more.
Monterey Bay Aquarium: Your kids will love seeing the live feed of the adorable otters! There are also live feeds of the shark exhibit, close up breathtaking jellyfish views, and the cutest penguins.
San Diego Zoo: Don’t miss the crystal clear views of the koalas, tigers, baby elephants, and many more amazing animals. Plus, their site has games, puzzles, and activities to keep your kids learning and entertained.
Houston Zoo: Between the hours of 7:00 am and 7:00 pm CMT, you can view the coolest views of the rhinos, gorillas, and they even have a close-up ant exhibit!
Atlanta Zoo: See the cutest panda on the Atlanta Zoo’s live panda exhibit.
Free Virtual Theme Park and Ride Tours
These YouTube channels are perfect for letting your kids experience the best rides, shows, and parades at their favorite theme parks around the country. They are each very high-quality channels, so click to enjoy and browse through their many tour videos.
Big Fat Panda: See amazing videos of the best parades, shows, and rides at Disney. You’ll literally feel like your on the rides yourself!
Fun Family Florida: These ride tours are so well done and feature some of the best rides at both Disney Orlando and Universal Studios.
The Coaster Views: Ride all the virtual rides at Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, Disney Orlando, and even Six Flags.
SoCal Attractions 360: Slide down epic water rides, rollercoasters, and see shows on the country’s West Coast and never want to leave!
Free Virtual Field Trips
These field trips are opportunities for kids to visit locations from the Great Wall of China to Mars! These virtual tours are not only fun but offer an educational resource too.
Whether you’re stuck in the house or free to roam, these virtual tours will allow your child to travel the world and beyond! They also make fantastic field trips for your homeschool. Let us know in the comments which tour is your favorite!
Right now the world is quarantined and stuck in our homes while we still try to keep some normalcy, work from home, homeschool our children and try not to go mad in the process. And us moms are looking for anything our kids will think is fun that isn’t attached to a screen!
But what does a mom do when the kids start crying, “I’m bored!” every 15 minutes and you feel like you might lose your mind?
She finds something fun on this list and lets her kids have at it!
These fun kid’s activities will keep them happy and occupied so you don’t feel the cabin fever getting to you too much! Plus, these activities are perfect for those soggy, rainy days too!
1 – Make Slime – Yes, I know this one is probably the most overdone kid’s activity ever. But for good reason! It will keep your kid occupied for hours both in the making and playing with their newest slime creation. Plus, it’s science! Here are some great science-focused slime ideas.
2 – Create an indoor obstacle course – This idea can be really fun and can use just about any supplies you already have on hand. Here’s an easy step by step post on creating your own.
3 – Do activities in a subscription craft box. My kids really love KiwiCo and each get crates (activity boxes) shipped to them each month. My kids literally scream when they see their delivery and learn a lot working through the activities each month. And if you just want to order crates in the cold months, you can pause your subscriptions in the summer months! Get 50% off your first crate here!
4 – Have a book read aloud session – Read alouds are so fun for kids. My daughter still loves when I read a chapter book aloud each night. It’s great for bonding and connection over a great story. Here are some recommended read aloud books.
5 – Build and giant fort and play games inside – Kids are more apt to stay in one place and to one thing, like play a game, if they do it from inside a fort. Just skillfully pile up the couch cushions and blankets and make anything that resembles a fort. Then get your kids’ favorite board games and let them have a game day inside. Here’s a great 2019 game guide.
6 – Make giant tracks for your kid’s cars – This one may sound strange but if your child loves cars and trucks this one is really cool. Simply use painter’s or masking tape and make highway lines all over your floors that your kids can drive their cars. It’ll keep them busy for hours! Here are some fun ideas.
7 – Binge Watch a Kid’s Series on NetFlix – This idea is perfect when the whole family is sick or you just need a break. Pop some popcorn and just hit play. Your kids will be happy and you’ll probably love the show too. Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events is a fun show for the whole family and there are 3 seasons on NetFlix already.
8 – Make a Hallway Laser Maze – This is so much fun and your bigger kids can actually do the whole thing by themselves and you get time to yourself. All you’ll hear is tons of giggles and “aw man’s!” Check out the video example below:
9 – Make a window sun catcher – Though your kids might not be able to go outside, these cute sun catchers will make looking outside fun, especially if it snows where you are! Here’s a great sun catcher tutorial.
10 – Put on a play – If you have a bunch of little performers in your house encourage your kids to put on their own performance. They can create a script, choreograph dances, and make their own set and costumes. This could literally be an all day event.
11 – Learn new dance moves – We used to learn the latest dance moves by watching music videos on MTV. Now kids just learn them on YouTube. Put on some dance tutorial videos for kids and let them practice till their heart’s content. Here’s one to learn to Floss:
12 – Have a Marshmallow Toothpick Challenge – This is the cheapest game you can pull together for your kids. Just buy a bag of marshmallows and a box of toothpicks and let your kids have a building contest. They can construct whatever they want and challenge themselves! Here’s how to do it.
13 – Let them have paint! – Yes, I know this is a messier activity. But if your kids are older and to be trusted with paint alone or slightly supervised, this is a wonderful creative activity. Plus, you can buy art canvases rather inexpensively so they can even hang their creations when they’re done. If your little one wants to get in on the painting action, here’s a mess-free toddler option.
14 – Have a paper airplane flight contest – This is the coolest idea I’ve seen. Simply make your airplanes and build a target with holes and scores.
15 – Make an indoor tape game – Not only can you make car tracks with tape but you can basically create an endless list of games too. Here’s an exhaustive list of indoor tape games from What Moms Love.
16 – Build a DIY marble maze – This is easy enough that bigger kids can do this on their own. Here’s the tutorial. Then let them have a contest to see who can get their marble through the maze the fastest.
17 – Learn how to do origami – My kids love learning origami. There are so many fun creations they can make. Here’s a fun and easy video they can watch to teach them.
18 – Do cupcake wars – Make a batch of yummy cupcakes and give each child three and have them decorate each one creatively. Have them present each of their designs for judging and then have fun eating them!
19 – Make a DIY corner page bookmark – My kids love reading and they actually don’t like dog-earing their pages. This adorable craft will give them a fun activity and will encourage them to keep reading.
20 –Make Toilet Paper Roll Animals – This craft is fun and can get as involved and artsy as your kids desire! Here are some ideas for inspiration.
21 – Build a rainbow prism mobile – Rainbows are beautiful outside, but this mobile craft lets you have rainbows inside! Here’s the full tutorial.
22 – Have a board game day – Just let the kids go into their games and choose a few of their favorites and play as long as they want. Here is a great board games recommended list.
23 – Play card games – Card games may not be the first thing kids think of to play with but they are still a lot of fun! Here is a post with 15 card games you can teach your kids to play with a regular deck of cards.
24 – Make an indoor scavenger hunt – Make a list of random items around the house and have the kids take pictures on their phone, tablet, or digital camera of all the items they find.
25 – Have an indoor picnic – Lay the blankets on the floor and prepare a picnic style meal.
26 – Put together a puzzle – Puzzles are fun and can take up an entire snowy afternoon. The older your kids, the bigger and harder the puzzle. The ones that cover the entire kitchen table are the best!
27 – Make DIY playdough – this non-toxic, homemade playdough is just as fun as making slime but is a less messy option for little ones. But bigger kids love playdough too.
28 – Shoot hoops – Find any ball and a larger sized basket or bucket and have a shoot out contest. I honestly can say that my husband can do this with the kids all night and they have a ball… literally!
29 – Make crystal geode eggs – This activity is so much fun and equally educational. These are naturally forming geode crystals that form inside egg shells. Here is exactly how to do it.
30 – Go camping inside – Camping is fun no matter where! So why not sleep in the living room and even get a tent. Make smores in the microwave.
31 – Have a micro treasure hunt – Every kid gets a little matchbox and has 10 minutes to fill it with as many tiny objects as they can. Thinks like a bead, a button, or even a pea.
Looking for ideas to keep your little toddlers busy? I love the idea of toddler busy bags! I first discovered the idea when my first daughter was a toddler and I was beginning to work on homeschooling her while I was working from home. And I needed lots of ideas for fun activities for toddlers.
Busy bags offer fun and simple activities that are mostly focused on learning and motor skills and happily keep little ones busy for at least 15-20 minutes. And that’s light years for moms with toddlers!
Here is a list of fun and easy busy bags that are perfect for your 2-year-old. This means the pieces aren’t too small, they’re easy and engaging for toddlers to do, and they don’t contain stuff that’ll ruin your house when you’re not looking.
You’re welcome for that last one!
How to Make Your Own Busy Bags the Cheap and Easy Way
You can also just use durable slide locking Ziploc bags like these. Honestly, that’s what I use because they’re cheaper and bigger. They just don’t look at cute as the colorful ones.
Then you’ll want to search lists like this one and find a few busy bags you want to make. Create a list of supplies. Try to first use what you have on hand first and also look at the clearance area inside most craft stores.
Once you have your supplies, it’s time for the fun to begin! You can also allow your older kids to make the busybags, if you have older kids. If not, put your toddler to bed and turn on your favorite Netflix show and start crafting.
This may be weird to you but I don’t like making my busy bags in front of my toddler. I love showing them when it’s all done. I don’t want to spoil the magic. But obviously do what works for you.
Finally, if you make a whole batch you’ll want to store them somewhere that keeps them from getting damaged. You can store in a drawer or a plastic bin that’s just for busy bags.
Pro mom tip: Do NOT store them with your toddler’s regular toys or in a place they can reach them on their own.
For one, you want them to be special every time you present them. This honestly keeps them playing so much longer. And two, you don’t want to walk in the room to see all your carefully crafted busy bag items all dumped into one glorious pile!
Talk about mom meltdown.
Now let’s get to all the fun.
27 Busy Bag Activities for 2 Year Olds
I’ve divided the busy bag ideas into categories so you can easily find the type of activity you want to work on first.
There’s no better way to spend fun time with your kids and celebrate the holidays than to do some fun and adorable crafts. And this Easter these cute craft ideas will be fun for everyone.
I can never get enough adorable little chicks, bunnies, and egg crafts. I also can’t leave out crafts that teach the real reason for Easter – the resurrection of Jesus Christ so I’ve included a bunch of religious themed Easter crafts too!
Here’s a list of some common supplies you’ll need:
Keeping kids and toddlers entertained so you can have breaks throughout the day to get things done is necessary for your sanity as a mom. Enter, fun activities for kids and toddlers!
This ultimate list of fun activities for kids will give you endless inspiration and ideas to keep your little ones happy, entertained, and best of all – learning.
These activities also encourage your child to play independently. And that’s good news because that means you won’t need to be their playmate all the time and they’ll be more excited to dive into non-screen activities too.
The Ultimate List of Fun Activities for Kids and Toddlers
Fun Activities for Kids to Beat the Boredom
There’s no phrase spoken more frequently out of the mouth of kids than, “I’m bored.” Since TV and video games aren’t the best options for keeping kids busy and entertained every single day, we need easy fun activities for kids we pull out of our mom bag of tricks at a moment’s notice.
The following are tons of activity ideas designed to keep your kids happy and busy when you need a break or need to tire them out before bedtime!
Practicing the arts in any form with kids builds creativity and helps develop a lifelong love of learning. There are many forms of art outside of traditional painting and drawing such as dancing, singing and playing musical instruments.
All art is fun for kids and makes for the perfect activities for kids! Here are a few great artistic activities your kids will love!
On days when boredom is calling your kiddos, having a few fun games on hand can magically remove mundane and bring in the fun. These fun games only use household items and promise endless entertainment.
YouTube Kids is something kid’s dreams are made of, or at least I think it is of my toddler’s dreams. But it can also be what parent’s nightmares are made of because of all the mom guilt that seems to come into play with screen time.
YouTube content for kids wasn’t a thing when my girls were little so YouTube kids really took me by surprise with my toddler son this time around.
I’m not even entirely sure how he got introduced to YouTube Kids… probably sitting next to his older sisters’ watching slime videos.
He first became obsessed when he watched his first Blippi video. I was super leery of this strange guy wearing an orange hat and bowtie and acting like a kid himself. PeeWee Herman came to mind.
But I starting watching with him and actually came to like the guy as he actually shared educational content. He’s basically lightyears better than watching useless toy reviews and unboxing videos.
Helpful Screen Time Guidelines
So where do I stand with my kids watching YouTube Kids channels?
I personally feel that screen time is screen time. I say that to mean, anytime your kid is looking at a screen, chances are, they aren’t doing healthy kids activities like reading a book, doing something hands-on, or getting physical exercise.
So, screen time in my house is limited in time and type… and those above mentioned things-to-do are strongly encouraged. As for how much time my kids get really depends on the day and whether we’re on a school break.
Or whether I need a break for that matter!
You know what’s too much for your child, but no more than an hour a day is a good benchmark. Trust your own judgment as a parent.
As for the type of content they can watch or play on their device, I do my best to stick to educational. Especially when it comes to Youtube for toddlers. But not always. Some of his favorite shows and channels aren’t my favorite but I treat them like ice cream… sparingly.
Here’s a list of good YouTube channels and content that won’t leave you feeling guilty:
YouTube for Toddlers:
Super Simple Songs – This channel is full of cute, ear wormy, type of songs like Baby Shark but also has fun original educational content also.
Subscribers: 12 Million
Mother Goose Club – This channel is made up of adults and cute kids who dress up and create popular nursery rhymes and other fun children’s songs.
Subscribers: 4.9 Million
Sesame Street – Yes, our favorite monsters are on YouTube Kids. They’ve created shorts from their best episodes and also feature lots of learning videos. Their newest creation is a brand new animated series, Esme and Roy which is adorable.
Subscribers: 4.7 Million
PBS Kids – This channel doesn’t have original YouTube content but they do feature episodes of their shows like Daniel Tigers Neighborhood, Odd Squad, Pinkalicious, and Wild Kratts.
Blippi – Blippi is fun and entertaining for toddlers and preschoolers but he also does do a good job of making his videos educational. My son loves Blippi and actually has learned quite a few things. He even asked for lettuce on his sandwich yesterday because Blippi did it!
Subscribers: 3.1 Million
YouTube Kids Channels for School Aged Kids:
National Geographic Kids – This channel is wonderful if you have a kid who loves animals or the outdoors. There are tons of videos about fascinating animals and their environments. They also really fun video series like weird but true, Sam’s zookeeper, the Best Job, and Awesome 8.
TED-Ed – From the creators of the TED Talk videos we all love to watch comes a channel that all parents and kids will love TED-Ed. This channel answers all the questions we’ve ever asked in life… and then some. The creators craft visually stimulating videos to answer these questions in a very edutaining way.
Subscribers: 8.2 Million
Sick Science! – If your child loves science, making slime, or doing experiments they’ll really enjoy this channel with Steve Spangler demonstrating the fun and power of science.
Simple Kids Crafts – If you have a kid who loves crafts and making cute furniture for her dolls, she’ll love all the cuteness on this channel.
Nerdy Nummies – This channel is so fun and is perfect for your little baker. Rosanna is so charming as she teaches viewers how to make yummy nummies that are a kid’s dream!
Subscribers: 10 Million
YouTube Kids Channels for Tweens and Teens
Minute Physics – This breaks down complicated physics concepts into easy to understand stick animations. With all the superhero movies and shows, kids are being introduced to physics terms and these videos will help them understand things like dark matter and quantum tunneling.
Subscribers: 4.5 Million
Mike Loves Science AKA ComaNiddy – If your kid loves hip hop music and science than this channel is a match made in heaven. Mike loves science, hence the name, and he creates videos to teach scientific concepts with lyrical rhymes to help kids enjoy and remember them.
Cartooning 4 Kids – If you have an artistic kid who loves to draw like I do this channel is a great and fun place to help them hone their drawing skills.
Subscribers: 1.3 Million
Do you have any screen time tips? Please share them in the comments below!
Christmas time is literally such a special time for me and my family. And it’s not because we live in a magical wintery paradise with Christmas decorations lining every street. We live in Florida. So, we’re just thankful that the humidity has died down by then!
Living in a warmer climate certainly doesn’t add to the Christmas spirit but we do our best to make our own and really soak in this season.
You see, I used to get really stressed during the holidays because of all the hustle and bustle going on. I’m a pretty big introvert who likes very small gatherings.
Big crowds and large family gatherings tend to make me anxious. And with all the parties and dinners, I would get overwhelmed really quickly.
Until I decided to focus my attention elsewhere. When I, on purpose, stopped paying so much attention to all the parties, the spending, and the general holiday stress things started getting so much better.
I shifted my focus to making the Christmas season one that my family would remember and cherish forever. One that focused on having fun and enjoying each other instead of all the stress swirling around me.
We started creating fun family Christmas traditions that we can’t wait for all year. We do just a few of these Christmas traditions and I went farther to share even more ideas with you… thirty to be exact!
This isn’t a Christmas bucket list per se, it’s more of an inspiration list to help you build your own family Christmas traditions. So, don’t get overwhelmed. Just choose a few and try them out and see what sticks! And most of all have a fun and Merry Christmas!
16 Family Christmas Traditions
1 – Make Your Own Ornaments
This Christmas tradition is really fun because the ornaments can be as simple and easy as they need to be when your kids are still very young. And as they get older, they can still continue creating more sophisticated ornaments.
Each year you can decorate your tree with these ornaments. We’ve always decorated our tree with a mixture of storebought ornaments and kid-made ornaments. And our tree always looks amazing!
I actually adore this post of ornament ideas because there is such a mix of really beautiful ornaments that are perfect for both little hands and ones your older kids would love!
As a kid, I remember getting up as early as possible to open up presents and then eat cinnamon rolls. After we got all the wrapping paper cleaned up, we’d head out as a family to attend Christmas Day service at our church.
As adults, we attend Christmas Eve service now the night before. Somehow it feels even more magical going out at night. Either way, it’s important that we give honor to Whom the season was given. For us, Christmas is the season that we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
3 – Make a Christmas Give and Receive List
My kids are professionals when it comes to making Christmas lists. They learned very early how to search for the latest toys and gadgets and how to do it all electronically so they can text their list to their loving recipients.
However, this always left me feeling icky. Christmas lists are fine, in fact, it’s their grandparents and other family members that ask for them every year so they know what to buy. I get it.
I just felt like there was something missing. So, I first gave my kiddos a limit of how many things they can add to their own list. One year my oldest almost got to 100 things on her list. Not my proudest parenting moment.
They can now add no more than 20 things. This may seem like a lot but we have a huge family. You do what works for your family.
And second, they also create a Christmas Give list. This is where they think of their friends and family and think of who and what they desire to give this Christmas. And because we all don’t need another list of things we have to buy, they are encouraged to think about ways to give their time or talent.
4 – Make Edible Gifts
My middle daughter loves to cook and bake in the kitchen so making large batches of edible gifts for our family and friends is totally in her lane.
I love this idea because it really drives home the reason for the season! We did this one year and it was fun for the kids, but we ended up with a whole cake to eat. Which is fine but when you pair that with Christmas cookies and all the other sweets… it was overload.
What we now do it make Birthday “pan”cakes for breakfast. We sing happy birthday and enjoy a yummy breakfast without an entire cake to eat all week long.
6 – Make and Decorate Christmas Cookies
I remember baking and decorating endless cookies with my mom as a kid. I remember sneaking all that yummy cookie dough more than anything!
Making cookies is really such a fun tradition that can double as a Christmas gift if you choose to give them away as tasty little gifts of love!
Now I know I must sound crazy being the Florida mom telling you to go ice skating. But I know that so many of my readers don’t live in Florida and are living in a real winter wonderland during Christmas. #Jealous
Ice skating is actually something we were able to do here in Florida at an indoor skating rink. It wasn’t as magical as skating on a real lake, but it was a whole lot of fun and a great tradition to do every Christmas.
8 – Make Hot Cocoa
Making hot cocoa is something we love to make a big deal of during Christmas time. We make some before we go on our Christmas lights tour and we make some before we watch our Christmas movies. And pretty much anything we’re doing!
Of course, we love adding peppermint flavor but not everyone in our house likes peppermint. I know, crazy right? Here are some fun hot cocoa recipes to try. If you’re taking your cocoa to go, try using these adorable to-go cupsto keep it warm and from spilling all over your backseat!
9 – Watch a Christmas movie marathon
We are a movie family! Snuggling up together watching classic Christmas movies is one of our favorite traditions. It’s so relaxing and helps us stay connected at the same time.
Nowadays it’s so easy to just select the Holiday movies in your Netflix or cable dashboard. Just scroll until you find your favorites. But just in case you don’t have those, here’s a great list!
10 – Make Homemade Gifts
I love, love handmade gifts. I strongly believe a handmade gift, done right, can be even more special than a storebought gift. Depending on you or your children’s natural giftings your homemade gifts can be pretty amazing.
This is also one of our favorite family Christmas traditions. We all know how much more amazing giving feels than receiving and I want my kids to feel that during the season that is primarily focused on receiving. At least it is from the lens of most kids!
You can join in with an Angel tree in your city or through your church. You basically pull a tag off an angel tree and purchase the wished item and return the wrapped gift to that location.
There are usually many ways to give to others in need for Christmas. The point is to make it a tradition to have your family get involved in some way!
12 – Make Gingerbread Houses
Yes, I know this one is old school but it’s still a lot of fun for the little ones. We do this one with our extended family on Christmas Eve each year. Some years us adults forget to grab all the supplies before the stores close.
This is one of our family favorites. We always stop for hot chocolate first and then drive to the best spots in our city (we have a lot of them) and marvel at all the amazing light displays.
No matter how old our kids get, this never seems to lack in plenty of whimsy and Christmas spirit. In fact, our city is so large that we can easily drive around to see Christmas lights several nights throughout the holiday.
14 – Elf on the Shelf
I think we can all agree that the Elf on the Shelf phenomenon has taken on a life of its own! It’s hilarious to see on your Instagram all the trouble that little guy gets into each night after the kids go to bed.
I’m not sure that’s what the intent was behind the creation of the Elf of the Shelf, but it’s certainly a fun activity that gives the whole family a good laugh in the morning!
15 – Do Acts of Kindness with the Kindness Elf
This is such a cute idea that I just stumbled upon from the Imagination Tree. The Kindness Elf is an alternative to the Elf on a Shelf and helps kids get in the spirit and habit of doing random acts of kindness to others.
Who doesn’t love a good puzzle? Puzzles are a challenging and fun way to help toddlers learn basic foundations like letter and number recognition, learning shapes and colors, and increasing fine motor skills.
And because the term toddler can mean anything between a 2, 3, or 4 year old, I’ve separated this list into helpful categories to help you find the perfect puzzle for your toddler. Because that’s a big range when it comes to puzzles!
There will be obvious overlap, so use your own judgment when it comes to choosing your own toddler’s puzzles from this list. And there’s also a general toddler puzzle section that features puzzles that are perfect for toddlers of any age!
Puzzles for Toddlers of All Ages
Custom Wooden Name Puzzle
This custom name puzzle is perfect for all ages because name recognition is so important early on. These brightly colored names are so cute to help your little one learn and recognize their own name. Plus, all names can be made!
This fun puzzle encourages toddlers to match up the colorful pegs and place them into the matching colored spaces in the puzzle. This is great for 3 and 4 year olds but be aware of the little pieces which can be a chocking hazard.
This is a great first jigsaw puzzle. Each puzzle in the set has 9 wooden, easy to hold pieces. This is great for older toddlers who can see pieces and combine into a big picture. Some 3-year-olds would also love this puzzle.
This amazing 3D form dinosaur puzzles brings the fun of these creatures to life. Toddlers get to put together their own 3D dinosaurs to play with. This is best for 3 and 4 year old toddler who are able to understand how the pieces fit together.
Families thrive at their best when they are spending regular quality time together doing things that are fun for the whole family. But spending time with family seems to be on the decline. According to the New York Post, on average most American families are spending 37 minutes a day together as a family.
We can explore all the reasons that contribute to this average, and debate on whether this is too little or too much but the truth is there are a million reasons why families don’t or can’t find the time to come together and enjoy each other as a family on a more frequent basis.
And lack of time isn’t always the clear culprit. There are other factors like having children with a wide age gap that can hinder finding activities that everyone enjoys. Sibling rivalry when doing activities all together can also suck the fun out of family time.
The keys to having family time that’s fun for the whole family are these two things – simplicity and consistency.
Simplicity is best for everyone but especially you. If you feel pressure to plan elaborate family nights and activities you’re likely to get burned out and overwhelmed. And let me let you in on a little secret, kids remember the simplest things not the complicated.
Stick to the very end for a heartwarming reminder of this! Plus, they want a happy mom so stick with simple!
The best thing to do is have a regularly time scheduled each week to come together. I didn’t even say each day! That’s it. What you do during this time can vary from week to week but having a consistent when you do it helps keep everyone accountable.
Is Spending Time with Family Important?
The simple answer to that question is yes. And just to be clear, in this post when I refer to “family time” I’m specifically taking about time together as a whole. Not just mom and the kids or mom and one child doing something together.
And the fact is, for most families having quality time together as one family is challenging to pull off on a daily basis. What about family dinner, you ask? It’s been widely discussed that family dinners are on the sharp decline and while this may be a bad thing, it’s the reality for many families – including mine!
But no one is debating that making quality time for family isn’t important and necessary for connection. In fact, there are many benefits to regular family time such as:
Building a positive self-image in your child. When your children know it’s a priority to you that you spend dedicated time with them every day, they get the message loud and clear that – they matter. There’s a strong correlation between parental involvement and a child’s self-esteem and “internal controls,” which points to a child’s ability to regulate his emotions. Therefore, involved parents equate to happier kids.
Improves family communication through practice. Communicating effectively as a family can be a real challenge but through frequent family time together you get to improve through practicing and finding out what works best for your family.
Creates stronger emotional bonds. Being truly connected to the heart of your child is extremely important to maintaining a healthy relationship that carries them into adulthood. This can only happen through spending time with your child. As the saying goes, in a family love is spelled T.I.M.E.
It’s Not About the Time
Before we dive into the simple activities you can easily do as a family, I want to address the issue of time. As in, how much time is enough.
Studies have been done to try and scientifically answer this question but the truth is, it can’t because every family is differnet and has it’s own needs. It’s our job as parents to be looking and listening for what’s possibly lacking and work to meet those needs for our children.
One huge point to remember though is it’s more about quality than quantity as the wise old saying goes. If you as a parent are rushed, unengaged, or bored your kids will feel these negative emotions and will feel rejection so you might as well skip it if you’re not up to it that day. And don’t worry, we’ve ALL been there!
Creating a regular family time should be a priority but never a rigid burden in an already hectic lifestyle or season. And every family is unique and must work within the boundaries of their own family structure. For example, single parents and military spouses who’s spouse is currently deployed are carrying the responsibility of creating family time without the help of another adult.
This can be really challenging and overwhelming if your expectations are too high. If you find yourself in this life season right now, remembering simple is your best asset. If you find your kids are pushing back on big game nights or outings together, just have a movie night or binge watch your favorite shows together.
Just being in the same room together doing something fun is still very powerful for connection versus everyone being tucked away in their own corners of the house! Or begging to leave the house all together! The fact that your kids actually want to hang out with you is a great sign… so take it with joy.
This list of ideas are simple, very simple. My family doesn’t do over-the-top themed activities so you won’t find those here. Just easy ideas that any family can do to start bonding together a little more each week.
13 Fun Activities that are Fun for the Whole Family
Go on a walk together. If you are a fit family (or need to be) this is a great way to laugh, talk, race each other and get out of the house. Oh and burn off some much-needed calories after dinner!
Have a family game night. Game nights aren’t going away and are a really fun way to get silly, competitive, and even forget about lingering family stress. Here’s a list of our favorite Family Board Games. Video games are also fun to play together as a family!
Have a slumber party in the living room. When your kids are still little, camping in the living room feels like an amazing adventure! Add a few forts, AKA tents, and it’s a night to remember!
Cook dinner together. If your family loves cooking and eating food than actually preparing meals together can be a really fun way of connecting and working together. Get one of those meal kits that you order in the mail and follow the recipe together to make it even easier.
Binge watch your favorite family shows on Netflix. Yes, watching TV does count as quality family time. As long as it’s intentional like a series that your whole family loves instead of just mindlessly watching anything that comes on TV.
Instead of going out for ice cream have a sundae at home night. Going out for ice cream be really expensive! Try staying home and making your own sundaes. You can even go the extra mile and bake cookies too. Your kids will love these family nights!
Start a family business. I know this sounds like a big one but starting a small business that centers around a shared passion can be a wonderful way to connect and work together to do something meaningful as a family.
Have weekly family dinners. Sitting down every night as a family for dinner is a challenge for many families including mine. Establishing one night a week when everyone is home as a dinner night can help so much in creating consistency despite hectic schedules.
Watch a movie or make it a marathon. Our family is a HUGE Marvel family and we’ll take any excuse to watch any of our favorite superhero movies on a lazy weekend in our PJ’s.
Go on a road trip. This is probably not one to do as frequently but taking a quick road trip to a nearby town is fun and refreshing especially if you live close to fun attractions.
Volunteer for a cause. Every city has organizations that help those in need. Find a cause that your family cares deeply about and volunteer to help that organization for a time each month.
Do random acts of kindness. Plan simple and fun ways to go out in your community and do nice things. There are tons of fun ideas here.
Do chores together. No seriously! Doing your weekly chores together as a family makes the work go by faster and with a bit of fun like adding silly songs like Raining Tacos (my kids’ favorite) can make the hard work of chores fly by while having fun together.
Final Thoughts on Family Time
Spending time together as a family might hold its own challenges if your spouse travels frequently or is in the military. And if you’re a single parent you may feel overwhelmed with having everything resting on your shoulders and this is just one more thing to put on your mom list.
Please be encouraged by this, children have the tendency to remember the simplest things as the most fun. I can’t remember where I heard this so please forgive me (I think it was on the radio) This woman was telling how her now grown daughter remembered this one particular memory.
Her daughter said it was the most fun thing when her mom made dinner by putting together a plate of snacks like crackers, cheese, and fruit. When her mom heard her daughter’s confession, she couldn’t believe it because she remembered feeling like a bad mom on those nights when she was too tired to cook a real dinner.
Wow! This is so funny because for one, I do this myself and call them “snacky dinner” and my kids love them. Go figure! But also it’s a great reminder that often what we beat ourselves up over not doing enough, our kids feel our actions are just right.
There’s nothing like a great game night to bring a family together! Growing up my family had frequent game nights and I honestly remember that they seemed to magically bring us together and reduce any stress lingering in the background.
Board games are a fun and less expensive way to spend time with each other. And if you choose the right game, your family will probably like it better than a day to the movies and your bank account will thank you!
I also wanted to share the top games that foster creativity, strategic thinking, and teamwork. I was recently disappointed when shopping for games for my kids over the holidays. There were an abundance of games that didn’t have these great qualities and instead highlighted gross stuff like poop, toilets and anything connected to potty humor, popping pimples, snot, and more disgusting themes.
So if you’re looking for “smarter” games that teach our kids fun and valuable lessons and skills, stay tuned. None of those gross and meaningless games here! Here are tons of great board games for kids that you can quickly order online from Amazon so no more endless searching.
Here are our favorite fun board games for kids that your family will want to play again and again!
This seriously is a favorite in our family. Even my 3-year-old jumps in and plays this game very well. It’s a game of strategy and you have to be paying close attention to your opponent’s moves. Sadly our game recently broke. However, one of my kids ended up getting the latest spinoff version of this game for Christmas this year. It’s totally different from the original but really lots of fun! You can check it out the new Connect 4 here!
This game is just like the highly popular bigger kids game Sequence which is very easy for smaller kids to understand. However, Sequence for Kids is perfect for ages 3-5 and uses pictures of fun and colorful animals to make the game more fun for them.
This board game is very similar to the concept of Scrabble but instead of letters, it uses colorful shape blocks. Players begin with a starting hand of six blocks and take turns placing multiple blocks in a column or in a row in either or all the same color or the same shape. Because of the endless combinations, this game can be played many, many times with lots of fun.
This is a really fun game for younger kids but is interesting enough for adults or older siblings to play. Plus, this game fosters a team spirit instead of simply beating your opponent! Using the six-foot game board, kids will work their way to Picnic Island, searching for hidden objects in an I-Spy style challenge. Along the way they’ll have to all work together to solve mysteries before getting to the end.
This game is a fun learning and dexterity game for kids and winner of the Kinderspiel des Jahres 2017 (Best Children’s Game 2017) award. Kids will work to move their penguins through the school in order to be the first to gather all their fish. Players flick these wobbly cute penguins through halls and corridors while trying to avoid the hall monitor who will end the round.
This is another cooperative game where all team players must work together instead of competing against each other to win. In this fun and colorful game players must help the owls fly back to their nest before the sun comes up. If they are successful everyone wins!
This is a fun game that’s challenging for adults but easy enough for kids to understand and love playing. You just play a card from your hand, and place a chip on a corresponding space on the game board. When you have five in a row, it’s a Sequence. There is also Sequence for Kids if all your kids are very young. It’s perfect for ages 3 and up.
This is a fun and easy to learn card game that’s really simple for all ages to play. Basically, when you get a matching set of assets, you can lay it down in front of you. But the only way to protect the set from being stolen by a teammate and added to their own stack is to cover it with another matching set. Getting the matching set and protecting your assets is the fun of this card game!
In this fun medieval style puzzle game, kids will work to use their fabric tiles to outdo their opponent in making the best, most beautiful quilt. These quilt pieces are laid out in a circle around the board, and on your turn, you only have access to the next three pieces to purchase and place on your board. This is a game of strategy because the game doesn’t just go back and forth. Some pieces advance you farther along a time track, which then allows your opponent to keep purchasing pieces until he or she passes you.
This game is a cooperative style game which means all players must work together and the game results in either an all-win or an all-lose game. In Forbidden Sky, you work as a team to assemble and connect power sources to launch a rocket ship and get off a floating platform. There are elements such as lightning and wind that try to hinder your work, and you have to team up so that no one gets blown off the platform or gets electrocuted.
This is a fun spin on the old classic telephone game. The twist is where players draw on their own erasable sketchbook the “secret word.” The timer gets turned and everyone draws their word. After 60 seconds, everyone passes their book to the player on their left. Then each player takes a few seconds to guess in words(s) what they see, and passes again. This continues until everyone’s sketch book passes by every player and returns back to its original owner, where it’s time for The Big Reveal.
This isn’t exactly a board game but my kids discovered it at a party and they loved it. It’s basically a building and balancing game where kids work to delicately hang and balance the notched, rubber-tipped wire pieces from the tabletop stand. With each added piece, the balance shifts and the sculpture transforms. One misplaced piece or wrong move could send it all crashing down!
This is a perfect game for older kids, teens, and even adults. The game works with two rival spymasters who know the secret identities of 25 agents. Their teammates know the agents only by their Codenames. Each Spymaster gives one-word clues to his or her teammates in order for them to pick the right clue. If teams pick the wrong clue, which are cards laid out on the table, they might accidentally uncover a clue for the opposing team or worse, pick the assassin, thereby ending the game.
This is a game that requires at least 5 players, so it’s a perfect party games. Some players will be resistance members (good guys) who need to complete missions to topple the evil government. Others will be spies sent to infiltrate the missions and make sure they fail. The spies are required to lie about their identity and all know who each other are, but the good guys are in the dark. The good guys have to figure out who the spies are and eliminate them from the missions in order to succeed, while the spies pretend to be good guys so they can continue their sabotage.
This game is a great strategy game played as the leader of one of the great 7 cities of the ancient world. You must carefully gather resources, develop commercial routes, and affirm your military supremacy. The game is set in 3 different ages and each game runs approximately 30 minutes. By the time the third age is over, players score the points given by their cards and their military conflicts. The winner is the player with the most points.
This is a fun and fantastic strategy game but the complicated rules can mean this game is much harder for younger children. Once you fully understand the game rules (requires a bit of time) the game is highly addictive. Many people who’ve played this game find it can be slow, but to speed up the time and the fun, simply use the “expansion pack”, which allows all players to trade and build at the end of EACH turn, instead of waiting for your OWN turn to do so. This shortens game time substantially (45 minutes instead of 60-90) and makes it much more exciting.
This game is easy to play with very fast paced rounds, and lots of fun bluffing make this game perfect for teens. The game works like this, the cards you hold in your hand determine your abilities: how many coins you can earn each round, whether you can steal cards, whether you can kill another player. Of course, the other players don’t know which cards you hold, so you could always do a little “acting.” And hope no one calls your bluff, or you’re the one who will end up dead.
This game is a hugely popular cooperative game which is honestly refreshing from always playing highly competitive games with your family. Pandemic is a really fun apocalyptic game that gets your family working together to stop the spread of diseases to save the world. This is an all-win or all-lose type of game so at the end of the game everyone feels connected and accomplished whether or not you win or lose.
This is a fun game that’s enjoyed by both players and those watching! This game can be played by individuals or teams and is pretty much appropriate for all ages groups. The game works when players drop shapes into the vertical game board. They earn points for the highest level that their shape reaches when it lands and extra points for touching bonus circles. But be careful: Don’t break a landing rule! The shape you dropped is not allowed to touch matching shapes or colors after it lands. The winner is the player or team with the most points at the end.
This game gets voted the easiest to learn for all ages and is really fun for everyone. The premise is all your 21 Tetris style pieces need to be placed carefully on the board but can only touch at the corners. The object of the game is to put as many of your shapes down as possible while blocking other players from putting down their pieces. The game is fun and fast, usually around 30 minutes a game.
This wildly popular game with the funny name is fun and simple enough for even younger kids to understand and exciting enough to keep your teens loving the fun. The play is simple: don’t be the one to draw an exploding kitten card, unless you happen to have a defuse card. All the other cards help you avoid an exploding kitten, or even give it to someone else. Game play is fast and unpredictable, meaning every game is different.
This game is similar to the concept of the hugely popular game Catch Phrase. Except that all the players (except the one in the hot seat) know what the guess word is (i.e. jacket). Everyone takes turns describing what theirs is like: “mine is warm” or “mine keeps me dry” or “I’m reminded it’s not summer every time I put mine on.” Games are fun and fast and are perfect for family game night!
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