It’s that time of year again- the weather and holidays mean more houseguests and work for you. Take a deep breath and remember that you already have what you need to keep an entire house full of kids entertained. You’ve got this! Use these 4 screen-free ideas to turn once-simple ideas into more engaging (and longer-lasting) activities.
1. Turn a Simple Card Game Into An Event
There are plenty of card games that everyone either knows how to play or can easily learn, games like Go Fish, Spoons and Crazy Eights. Collect all of your decks of cards, set up a number of playing stations in rooms around the house and organize a round robin tournament, complete with prizes. Make a poster assigning your participants to certain locations, and then keep track of wins and losses as the players rotate to new tables. After a predetermined number of rounds, award candy or other small prizes for most wins and most losses. Uno, Pass the Pigs and dice games like Farkle are also great options for your tournament.
2. Create a Crafting Extravaganza
Even if a trip to Michaels feels like torture to you, an all-day creative adventure is within reach. Chances are you have multiple boxes of crayons and markers, stickers, glitter, even discarded boxes and magazines that can be repurposed into something beautiful. Excavate your craft supplies, and then put a pile of things on the table and set a timer for about an hour. Give your kids an hour to create something original and artistic from the supplies in front of them. When all the creations are completed, take pictures of each and post them on Facebook for the world to enjoy.
One idea is to give them the task of decorating for the holidays. Have the kids craft centerpieces or place settings for the dinner table, door decorations like wreaths or streamers and ornaments. This keeps kids entertained and gets some of the housework done for you! Besides, actually using their masterpieces could mean more to them than just hanging a drawing on the fridge.
3. Come Up With a Simple Outside Challenge
It might be cold outside, but that doesn’t mean the kids in your house need to hibernate. No matter the temperature, you can use the outdoors to help them burn off some steam and to create a little healthy competition. Assemble a scavenger hunt using household items, like cups and forks, greeting cards and Matchbox cars. Hide the items around the yard and make teams to see who can find them all first. Organize relay races around the backyard or make a physical activity challenge including running, jumping and other exercise tasks and see who can complete it first. Holiday breaks are also the perfect time to reintroduce classic outdoor games like Kick the Can, Freeze Tag and Go To Court.
4. Stock Up on Tasty Rewards
Whether it’s a card game tournament, a fitness challenge or even a quasi-academic event like an impromptu spelling bee or math fact quiz-a-thon, the key to making any activity more appealing is offering the right kind of incentives. Of course, you want to make sure the prizes are both delicious and better for you than other options. In fact, you can integrate edible prizes into the games by using gummies as playing pieces (think 3-D tic-tac-toe), as long as the playing surface is clean. If you keep some unjunked candy in stock and combine them with creative plans like these, your potential for battling boredom will be virtually ensured.
How do you keep kids entertained in your home? Share your ideas below.