13 Simple and Fun Activities That Will Bring Your Whole Family Together

spending time with family

Families thrive at their best when they are spending regular quality time together. 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.

spending time with 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 you, your spouse, and each one of your children 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.

Family Time Made Simple Checklist

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 for Spending Time with Family

  1. 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!
  2. 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!
  3. 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!
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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!
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.

Strengthening your family has never been easier than with these simple ideas for spending time as a family. Your kids won't complain about these ideas! And the best part is they center around simple! #familytime #family #parenting #kidsandparenting #activities
Finding time to spend together as a family can be challenging for busy families. Here are the most simple ways to easily bring your whole family together! #family #kidsandparenting

Ridiculously Fun Family Board Games You’ve Probably Never Heard Of!

board games for families

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!

board games for families

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!

Family Time Made Simple Checklist

Board Games for Ages 3-6

Connect 4

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!

Sequence for Kids

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.

Quirkle

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.

BusyTown’s Eye Found It

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.

Ice Cool

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.

Hoot Owl Hoot

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!

Board Games for Ages 7-12

Sequence

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.

Grandpa Beck’s Cover Your Assets

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!

Patchwork

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.

Forbidden Sky

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.

Telestrations

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.

Suspend

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! 

Board Games for Ages 13 and Up

Code Names

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.

The Resistance

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.

7 Wonders

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.

Catan

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.

Coup (The Dystopian Universe)

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.

Board Games for the Whole Family

Pandemic

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.

Drop It Family Strategy Game

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.

Blokus

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.

Exploding Kittens

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.

What’s Yours Like?

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!

Looking for fun and addictive family board games? These are the best board games your family will not want to stop playing on your next family game night. And you probably have never heard of most of them! #boardgames #familytime
These fun board games are the perfect games for families. And the list is broken down by ages and one all-together family list! Your kids won't want to stop playing! #boardgames #familytime #parenting

17 Super Easy and Adorable Easter Crafts to do With Your Kids

Easter crafts for kids (1)

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:

  • Pom-Poms
  • Craft Sticks
  • Pastel Craft Paint
  • Paper Plates
  • Toilet paper rolls
  • paper egg cartons

Fun Easter Crafts to do With Your Kids

Doing crafts with your kids is a fun way to spend together celebrating the holidays. These cute ideas are such fun Easter crafts to do with your Kids. #easter #crafts #craftsforkids #activities

The Best Toddler Puzzles for Fun and Learning to Buy in 2019

Best toddler puzzles

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.

Puzzles are the perfect learning toys for toddlers!

The best toddler puzzles

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!

Grab your puzzle here!


Mickey Mouse Number and Letters Puzzles

This set of Melissa and Doug wooden puzzles are great for little toddlers to start learning their letters, numbers, and shapes. And it’s great for older toddlers to have fun with Mickey Mouse.

Check out the puzzle here!

Fun Wooden Dinosaur Puzzle

This wooden dinosaur puzzle is absolutely adorable and will easily become a favorite showing many of the different types of dinosaurs. And the pieces are easy to handle for little toddlers.

Check out your puzzle here!


Animal Wooden Box Puzzle

This is such a fun puzzle that encourages toddlers to change the block shapes around to form the fun animal picture. They’ll be turning those blocks into new pictures for tons of toddler fun.

Grab this puzzle here!

Wooden Shape Sorting Peg Puzzle

Grab this puzzle here!


Toddler Puzzles for 2-Year-Olds

Wooden Animal Themed Puzzle Set

These adorable puzzles from Smart Kids come in themed packs of five puzzles. They are perfect for little hands that may be new to puzzles!

Grab your puzzle here!


Wooden Colors and Shapes Puzzle

This puzzle teaches toddlers their colors and shapes in one bright puzzle. They can match up the giant crayons with the matching colors or the brightly colored shapes.

Check out this puzzle here!


Things I Eat Match Up Puzzle

Little hands will use the pictures of foods like delicious fruits and veggies to match up these simple 2 piece puzzles. These are perfect to get toddlers working on matching to like items together.

Check out this puzzle here!


This travel themed puzzle is so bright and stimulating and teaches little ones about all the various modes of travel such as boats, airplanes, and buses.

Grab your puzzle here!


Touch and Feel Animal Puzzle

Your 2-year-old will love putting together these 3 piece animal puzzle as they have fun textures like fur and leather in each puzzle set!

Check out this puzzle here!


Classic Wooden Shape Sorting Puzzle

This Melissa and Doug classic wooden shape sorter is a learning toy every child should have. It really helps develop fine motor skills and good shape recognition as they play.

Check out this sorter here!


Vibrant Wooden Shape Sorter

This simple shape sorter is perfect for little hands with the chunky and vibrant colored pieces. Encourage your toddler to name each shape as they place them in the puzzle spot.

Get this puzzle here!

Toddler Puzzles for 3-Year-Olds

Wooden Latch Board Puzzle

Toddlers love buckles and latches! And this bright puzzle from Melissa and Doug will keep your toddler busy as they have fun working through each latch with this carefully crafted wooden puzzle.

Get your puzzle here!


Bright Wooden Numbers and Letters Puzzle Set

This set of brightly colored number and letter puzzles are perfect for little hands with the special knobs for handling each piece. These will easily become a favorite puzzle set.

Check out this puzzle set here!


Wooden Vehicle Themed Puzzle in a Box

This classic Melissa and Doug puzzle set is four puzzle boards in one with an attached box for all the jigsaw pieces. When your toddler is ready for more pieces, this is a great puzzle.

Check out this puzzle set here!


Colorful Mosaic Pegboard Puzzle

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.

Get this puzzle here!


Animal Parade Letter Jigsaw

This original puzzle helps toddlers recognize letters with the names of popular animals while putting together this creative animal parade puzzle.

Get this puzzle here!

Toddler Puzzles for 4-Year-Olds

Wooden Animal Jigsaw Puzzle Set

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.

Grab this puzzle here!


3D Dinosaur Puzzle Set

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.

Check out the puzzle here!


Colorful Tangram Block Puzzle

This fun tangram puzzle encourages toddlers to manipulate all the different shaped blocks to fit into the one square puzzle mold. It’s like your babies first brainteaser!

Check out this puzzle here! 


Geometric Shape Sorter

This is another brainteaser style puzzle to challenge their brains to match up the correct shaped hole with the same peg.

Get this puzzle here!


Looking for fun and educational learning puzzles for your growing toddler? These learning puzzles for toddlers will easily engage your 2-year-old, 3-year-old, or 4-year-old in educational fun! #toddlers #activities #parenting

Winter Fun List: 31 Fun Indoor Activities for Kids When It’s Too Cold to go Outside

fun indoor activities for kids

Winter lasts for several months and during those harsh, cold weeks kids still need fun and exercise. The easiest thing for parents to do in the warmer months is to have their kids go outside and play.

But what does a mom do when it’s too cold to send her kids outside?

fun indoor activities for kids

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!

If you have very little ones running around and messing up with the bigger kids are doing, try making your toddler a few busy bags like these.

Indoor Activities for Kids on Cold and Rainy Days

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 your crates here.

Here’s my little guy making his own bean bag horseshoe game! He’s loves it!

4 – Have a book read aloud sessionRead 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.

When it's too cold to go outside these super fun indoor activities for kids will deliver a fun filled days and no excuse for boredom! #activities #kids #parenting

27 Fun Busy Bag Activities for 2 Year Olds to Keep Them 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

The first step is finding your bags. Many moms use reusable pencil holders. Here’s a multicolored pack of 24.

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.

busy bags activities for 2 year olds

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 busy bags, 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.

Looking for simple activities to keep your toddler busy and learning? This list of busy bags for 2 year olds will keep your little one busy and happy! #toddlers #activities

Fine Motor Skills Activities

No Sew Button Snake – Twitchetts

Crazy Straws – Powerful Mothering

Popsicle Stick Drop – Adventures and Play

Wooden Animal Lacing – Little Lifelong Learners

Pool Noodle Lacing – Planet of the Apels

Puzzle and Matching Activities

Super Hero Mix and Match Puzzle – School Time Snippets

Shapes Matching – Plain Vanilla Mom

Ladybug Number Match Up – Coffee and Crayons

Winter Counting Puzzle – Life Over CS

Memory Game with Lids – Powerful Mothering

Felt Counting Chain – Glued to My Crafts Blog

Alphabet Match Up – Learning 4 Kids

Crocodile Counting Match – Reading Confetti

Shapes, Letters, and Colors Recognition

Pom pom Color Egg Carton Sort – The Stay at Home Mom Survival Guide

Rainbow Sorting – Learning and Exploring Through Play

Fish for Shapes – Little Family Fun

Q Tip Counting Trays – Mama Jenn

Colored Stick to Clothes Pin Matching – Teach Me Mommy

Egg Carton Color Sort – The Imagination Tree

Alphabet Tracing Sheets – Money Saving Mom

Letter Spoon Match Up – Organized Jewish Home

Shape Sorting Ice Cube Tray – Mess for Less

Just Plain Fun Activities

Felt Tic Tac Toe Game – Childhood 101

Little Red Riding Hood Finger Puppets – Easy Peasy and Fun

Travel Felt Board – Mama Smiles

I Spy Peekaboo Bag – Childhood 101

Pipe Cleaner Lacing Game – Parents

If you’re also looking for quality online activities, check out these YouTube learning channels for kids!

The Best YouTube Kids Channels You Won’t Feel Guilty About Letting Your Kids Watch

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.

Best YouTube Kids Channels

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.

Subscribers: 553k

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.

Subscribers: 179k

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.

Subscribers: 570,000

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.

Subscribers: 500k

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.

Subscribers: 18K

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!

When you do allow screen time in your home, these educational and fun YouTube Kids Channels won't leave you feeling guilty! #kidsandparenting #parenting
These education and fun YouTube Kids channels are perfect to get your kids learning new things about science, math, and other cool stuff. Plus, you won't feel guilty about the extra screen time! #parenting #screentime #kidsandparenting

250+ Super Fun Activities for Kids to Learn and Play at Home

fun activities for kids

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 kidsFun 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!

10 Toddler Activities for Your Crazy Active Kid – Get the full list here!

44 Activities to Tire Your Kids Out Before Bedtime – Get the full list here!

Free Activities When You Need to Get Out of the House – Get the full list of outdoor activities here!

50 Easy, No-Prep Activities for Kids – Get all the ideas here!

107 Fun Activities to Survive the Summer! – Get all the fun ideas here!

Learning Activities for Kids

learning activities for toddlers

Learning is a huge component of healthy toddler development and there are many simple ways to instill learning in your toddler’s day.

Pom Pom Activities to Develop Fine Motor Skills – Get the Tutorials Here. 

Fun Activities to Develop Fine Motor Skills in Toddlers and Preschoolers – Get all the Activities here!

Cute Color Matching Wheel – Get the tutorial here!

Arts and Craft Projects for Kids

arts and crafts projects for kids

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!

4 Easy Kids Crafts Made From Everyday Household Items – Get the full list here!

Easy Ways to Introduce Music to Kids – Read the full post here!

Fun DIY Games for Kids

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.

Exploding Rainbows Game using Craft Sticks – Get the game here!

Snowman Bowling Game with Cute Snowman Printable – Get the game here!


Let us know your favorite games and activities in the comments below!

These non-screen time fun activities for kids will keep your children entertained so you can have a break! Plus, they'll be learning too. #kidsandparenting #parenting #activities #kids

Kids crying bored all the time? Try these super fun boredom busting activities for kids and toddlers! #activities #kids

Secrets to Having a Stress-Free Christmas with Kids in 2018!

the secret to stress free Christmas

Let’s face it, the holidays can be a recipe for stress and exhaustion. Which is really a shame since the holiday season is supposed to be a magical time filled with fun, family, and rest.

But all too often we let life get the best of us and the holidays catch us off guard year after year.

Stop doing that! It’s not too late to plan and enjoy a stress-free Christmas this year!

the secret to stress free Christmas

How is that possible with all the things to make, cook, buy… and let’s not forget about the “people” stress. You know, family coming in from out of town and you getting absolutely zero alone time.

I’m a strong introvert, so that zaps my energy the fastest!

This is your ultimate stress-free Christmas guide. You’ll learn everything about how to prepare, save, shop, and even travel over the holidays!

If you’re planning to travel for the holidays you’ll want to check out this Holiday Travel Guide that shares little-known travel tips for long road trips!

How to Prepare for Christmas Early

There are many things we need to “prepare” to maximize our joy over the holidays. We need to prepare our money because November and December are huge spending months. We do NOT want to go into debt buying gifts this year!

Easy Ways to Save Money for Christmas

Why You Should be Using Amazon Prime for Christmas!

In addition to saving money (which we all need to be doing more intentionally), you can start by making more money too.

Yep! You can get creative on ways to increase your income over the holidays and never touch your savings or a single credit card.

22 Fun and Creative Work at Home Jobs for Moms

Work at Home Mom Success: Run Your Business, Home and Family with Ease

Getting Your Home Ready for the Holidays

Now it’s time to prepare your home! Getting your house clean and decluttered before the busyness of the holidays is here will help you so much to kick back and enjoy your Christmas!

The No-Brainer Way to Declutter Your Home Fast!

The Secret to Get Your Kids into the Habit of Doing Housework

preparing your home for Christmas

How to Enjoy the Holidays without Stress

One of the best ways to actually enjoy the holidays instead of stressing through to the New Year is to make your enjoyment intentional!

Yes, decide right now that you’re going to have fun on purpose. You do that by making a plan and deciding what things your family will do to relax and enjoy your Christmas.

This list of Family Christmas Traditions is a wonderful place to start planning your holiday activities.

You can also have fun by documenting your family’s Christmas with a fun Family Christmas pajama Photo Shoot!

Here’s a warning about traditions though. If your family is doing something just because it’s a tradition but you spend your time dragging everyone around… stop doing it. Commit to only doing traditions that are truly fun for your family and bring you closer together.

Planning and Shopping for Christmas

You want to start by creating your Christmas budget first. You don’t want to ruin your 2019 by going into massive debt for Christmas. Big mistake!

Once you know how much you want to spend, you can start your shopping plan.

Remember, you don’t have to buy store-bought gifts for everyone in your extended family. You can make homemade gifts, go on a trip or see a fun show together, or even do a family Christmas photo shoot.

Here are some great ideas for gifts and stocking stuffers!

51 Stocking Suffers for Babies and Toddlers that aren’t Junk

31 Cheap Stocking Stuffers Kids and Teens that Don’t Suck!

The Best Learning Toys for Toddlers

Christmas Tips and Tricks

1 – Put your Christmas lights on a timer

2 – Invest in an automatic Christmas tree waterer

3 – Pay someone else to put up your Christmas lights


4 – Use elegant table wear instead of the real thing.

This beautiful table setting for 25 is close to the real thing and will reduce a ton of stress and labor. Plus, they are extremely affordable!

5 – Use gift bags instead of wrapping every gift. I’ve been doing this for years and it’s such a stress-free tip. It doesn’t mean I don’t wrap any gifts, but my pretty gift bags far outweigh the wrapped ones!

Let me know your very best tips for a stress-free Christmas in the comments below!

21 Epic Family Christmas Pictures You Just Have to Try this Christmas

family Christmas pictures

One of the best things about Christmas is the perfect excuse to take family Christmas pictures. But don’t settle for boring family Christmas photos!

These epic photo shoots will give you endless inspiration to create your own magical family Christmas pictures to remember forever. Just bring your smile, your patience, and your sense of humor. Especially if kids will be anywhere in your pictures!

family Christmas pictures

Here are a few tips to make your photo sessions so much better! And if you don’t plan to hire a photographer, no worries! Use these tips to take your own Christmas pictures at home.

Finally, the first thing you’re probably racking your brain about is what you’re going to wear. Family Christmas pajamas are so much fun for your family photos. Check out the best matching Christmas pajamas sets here!

If you’re more into wearing “regular clothes”, this simple style guide will help you get started to looking great.

Related: 16 Magical Christmas Family Traditions to Make Lasting Memories with your Kids

Family Christmas Pictures Wearing Christmas Pajamas

 

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Want your own Family Christmas Pajamas? Check these out!

Family Christmas Pictures Featuring Just the Kids

 

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Related: 31 Cheap Stocking Stuffers for Kids and Teens that Don’t Suck

Family Christmas Pictures By the Tree

 

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Related: 51 Stocking Stuffers for Toddlers and Babies that Aren’t Junk

Outdoor Family Christmas Pictures

 

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Hilarious Christmas Pictures

 

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Non-Christmasy Pictures

 

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Please feel free to click on any of these Instagram profiles and follow the ones you love! Let me know your favorites in the comments below!

It's almost Christmas card season and you want to be ready with the best family Christmas pictures! Get tons of inspiration from these epic Christmas photos. #kidsandparenting #christmas #family #holidays #parenting #kids