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Last Updated on December 18, 2020

24 Fun Things to Do with Kids (From Indoor Activities to Outdoor Fun)

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24 Fun Things to Do with Kids (From Indoor Activities to Outdoor Fun)

You’re at home with the kids, your spouse is at work and it’s a beautiful day outside but you have no clue what to do with the kids. You’ve already taken them to the park 4 times this week (and it’s only Wednesday), and you and the kids are both getting sick of it.

Or you’re home with the kids, your spouse is at work and it’s pouring rain outside and now the park isn’t even an option, so now what do you do?

Allow us to hopefully spark some new ideas to entertain your kids and you with this list of fun things to do:

Indoor ideas

1. Romp it up

Where I live, my city has a great kids program called Tot Romp. It’s a space at a local community centre where they set up toys, slides, games, and activities for the kids to play with. It’s a great way to get out of the house, play with new toys and meet new families. It costs a couple bucks each time you go so it’s a relatively low cost option.

Check your local community guide for times and locations.

2. Go for a stroll

While it’s super easy to go for a walk to the park, what about when it rains?

One of my favorite places to go in that case is the mall. It’s a great way to burn off some energy and do a little window shopping. Chances are it won’t be super busy if you go midday so you will probably feel more comfortable letting the kids just wander around and enjoy their time there as well.

As an added bonus, a lot of malls now have a children’s play space for your smaller kids to climb around on and interact with other children around their age.

3. MasterChef your house

Did you know there is a Junior version for MasterChef? That’s right–many kids love to cook! So, why not involve yours in creating a meal?

Lunches and dinners can seem like an endless task, and sometimes a challenging one, with the kids stuck inside. What better way to combat those problems than having your kids help? Sure it might get a little messy, but it’s bound to create some fun memories. Afterwards, have the kids pitch in for clean up!

Thinking about what to make with your kids? Check out 40 Easy Recipes To Cook With Kids

4. Bake away

Baking is a great way to get your kids involved, as they can help create any snacks they eat or any other baking that you need to do.

Added bonus – this will help with the kids refining their math skills as they help you measure out ingredients.

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    5. Get lost at the blue and yellow

    IKEA is one of those places that can easily take up a whole day depending on how you plan your trip (and how many times you get lost).

    If your kids are old enough, they can be dropped off in the kids play area and you can shop (or have a coffee and snack for an hour or so). And even if they aren’t old enough, they can still run around the showroom with you, and then you can all grab a cheap bite to eat at the end of the day.

    6. Get creative!

    Put down an old table cloth (or one from the dollar store) and put your little one in the highchair, give them some child friendly paints and let them go to town on some art creation! Feel free to utilize other child-friendly media, such as non-toxic clay, confetti, and gluesticks.

    Whether you use paper, fabric, cardboard, or another material, your kids are bound to have a good time.

    7. Future Olympian in training

    Many communities are great at providing things to do for families, yet we often forget to use them as a resource.

    Gymnastics is one of the best ways for kids to burn off A LOT of energy. It’s safe and fun for them to run and run for an hour or two. It’s often cheap – or free – so it’s worth seeing what your community has to offer.

    8. Switch it up

    With my kids, I’ve noticed that they often are so bored of seeing the same toys, same spaces and same games, so why not switch it up?

    Take your kids to a friend’s place. This will give the kids new surroundings, new toys and new games to play with that will entertain them for a while.

    You can even swap with friends so that one person isn’t always hosting. It gets your child out of the house and provides great social interaction, and hopefully a new friendship or two.

    9. To grandmother’s house we go

    Besides you, chances are that nobody loves your kids as much as their grandparents. We’ve heard it said that being a grandparent is all the fun of being a parent with none of the responsibility.

    My kids love their grandparents and they always have a blast with them so why not let them spend more time with them?

    10. Go on a date

    If you have multiple kids, it can be really hard to get one on one time with them.

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    A great idea is to go on a date with one kid each week. One week mom takes a kid out, next week dad takes a kid out until each parents has had a date with each kid, then start all over again.

    This is a great way to slow things down or speed them up while getting to focus all your attention on just one kid.

    Here’s a sweet video about a dad taking his daughter on the first date:

    11. Kids cafe

    This one is similar to the one above but I know in my area, there is a couple of cafes that have a designated play space for kids and great snacks for parents. They often run different events such as music classes which can be a great day out.

    12. Train your little Michael Phelps

    This one can be indoor or out, but the pool is a great option to burn off that excess energy and it’s super fun for everyone. Just don’t forget sunscreen if you’re outdoors.

    And afterwards, your kids will drop like a rock for a fantastic nap!

    13. Treat yo self

    This one is for the girls. The spa is always a good time, whether it’s just getting your nails done or going for a full spa day with massage and everything else.

    Either plan an at home spa day (which can also be a fun planning activity!) or treat your kiddo and allow the pros to do it. My family tends to prefer the home option: we make homemade facial scrubs, pick up some masks from the dollar store, paint each other’s nails, and eat yummy treats!

      Outdoor ideas

      14. Take me out to the ball game

      Chances are it’s getting close to baseball season where you live. If you’re lucky, like I am in Vancouver, you may even have a professional or semi-professional team close by.

      Take the family out to a ball game for the night. If you’re on a budget, go to the local park one evening and watch kids play some Little League.

      15. Catch some rays

      Take the kids to the beach. With summer fast approaching, take advantage of optimum beach weather! It doesn’t even need to be summer for this, cloudy days mean it’s going to be less busy and give your kid more space to run and explore! Pack a picnic lunch and you’re basically set.

      There are plenty of great beach ideas to consider before heading out to the beach with your kids.

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        16. Take a ride

        One thing I love to do is go for local drives and find new places to explore. Doing this with the kids can be awesome, as it’s relaxing and full of wonderful scenery!

        Ask them what they see out the window, just make sure your destination has some space to let your kids out of the car so that they can get their energy out!

        17. Search out a new park

        Do you have errands to run in a different part of the city? Google the top playgrounds in the area and make that a pit stop after running your errands.

        Who knows, it might just become a new favorite family destination!

        18. Farmers’ markets

        You don’t need to be a foodie to attend a farmer’s market. Often times there are farmers markets or festivals that are free to attend and will have music and different performances. It’s a great way to check out different interests and businesses in your community!

        And for your reference, take a look at America’s best farmers’ markets here.

        19. Chalk it up

        Chalk is great for a few reasons, it’s super cheap, fun for the kids and harmless on clothing.

        You can pick it up from the dollar store (or make it yourself if you’re really ambitious, another thing to do with the kids) and head out your front door for some cheap fun!

        You can have drawing contests, draw roads or play hop scotch. Don’t forget to bring out the kids toys to play on after or simply sit and play endless games of X’s & O’s. Do a web search to utilize the plethora of ways that you can play with chalk!

        20. Go for a scavenger hunt

        Scavenger hunts are great for kids. It gives them a task that they have to complete. If your kids are as determined as mine are, they will love it.

        There are lots of free lists available online or simply make your own before you leave. Head out for a walk and have your kids either gather the items on a list, take a picture or point them out to you. It puts a new spin on your ordinary walks.

        21. Zoo-m off

        If you have a zoo in your area, go spend the day there. If you don’t have a big zoo, maybe there’s a petting zoo close by. Pack a lunch for the day and head out!

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        Kids love animals and being able to walk around so much, this is a win-win situation.

        22. Go chasing airplanes

        One of the best dates I ever took my wife on was a trip to the airport late at night. We took a pickup truck, lots of blankets and pillow and laid in the bed watching airplanes land.

        Chances are good that there is an airport near you, go spend an afternoon there. The kids can run around while you wait for any planes and then help count them, what colour are they, guess where they came from etc.

        Tip – make sure you have ear protection for children that are really young!

        23. Head to the great outdoors

        Whether it’s in the backyard or way out in the deep woods, camping was always a favorite memory of mine.

        Getting out the tent and sleeping bags and roasting marshmallows is a guaranteed good time for parents and kids!

        Be sure to follow proper guidelines and precautions so that your camping trip is safe and fun for everyone.

        24. Fight the kids

        Have a water fight! Kids love competition, especially if it’s against their parents. Find your inner child, get out your water gun and set teams, maybe even set up barriers and have a good old fashioned water fight.

          We hope this list has given you a few new ideas to entertain both you and the kids.

          This week choose one item from the list that you haven’t done before and go have some fun with your little ones!. No more using weather as an excuse either because we gave you indoor and outdoor ideas.

          After you’ve done it, come back here and choose another one to try out the next week!

          Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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          More by this author

          Kyle Enns

          Kyle is a family lifestyle & family travel blogger who runs Adventure Never Enns with his wife Samantha.

          24 Fun Things to Do with Kids (From Indoor Activities to Outdoor Fun)

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          Last Updated on October 7, 2021

          Why Spending Time With Your Family Is Important (And How To Do So)

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          Why Spending Time With Your Family Is Important (And How To Do So)

          In today’s chaotic world, having family time isn’t always easy. It can get pretty hard to coordinate schedules, especially if the family is large. Life demands that we work, attend school, nurture friendships, hobbies, etc. All of those things are extremely time-consuming and important—but so is spending time with your family.

          Why is family time so important? Because we all need love and support, and a good, strong family can provide that regularly. For children, spending time with their family helps shape them into good, responsible adults, improve their mental health, and develop strong core values.

          There are many positive effects of spending time with your family. My family and I, for instance (and this includes grandchildren as well), meet every Tuesday night for dinner and games. My older son and I take turns cooking. This gives all of us a chance to try some new recipes. After dinner, we play games. And without fail, they inspire competitiveness and laughter. As family night has evolved, the grandkids have invited their friends over as well, creating the need for more chairs but also expanding our circle of fun.

          Aside from the obvious fun and games, there are other reasons why spending time with your family is paramount. In this article, I will provide you with multiple reasons why spending time with your family regularly is a win-win. And then, I will lay out some ways on how to do it.

          Let’s get started, shall we?

          Why Spending Time With Your Family Is Important

          Here are six reasons why it’s important to spend time with your family.

          1. Provides the Opportunity to Bond

          When you spend time together as a family—talking about your day, your highs, your lows—it fosters communication. As parents, it gives you the chance to listen to your children, to hear them out, to learn about what’s going on in their world. It also provides you with the opportunity to use life situations as teaching moments.

          Before our Tuesday night dinner/game nights, my family used to see each other pretty regularly but not consistently, especially the grandkids. Our family night changed all that. Now, it’s guaranteed that the grandchildren, along with some of their friends, will be there. Not only do I get to find out what’s been happening in their lives, but they also get to know us better. It’s creating memories they can treasure forever, as well as modeling the Get-Together tradition for when they eventually have families of their own.

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          “Spending time partaking in everyday family leisure activities has been associated with greater emotional bonding within families.”[1]

          2. Teaches the Value of Family

          Taking the time to be with your family lets your children know they are valued—that spending time together is a priority. I know that in today’s world, both parents are busy as both usually working. What better way to let your children know they are loved than by carving out time each week to spend with them?

          According to Marilyn Price-Mitchell, Ph.D., “words like honesty, trust, fairness, respect, responsibility, and courage are core to centuries of religious, philosophical, and family beliefs. Use them and others to express and reinforce your family values. Teach children the behaviors that flow from these principles. Use quotes to ignite meaningful dinner conversations and encourage kids to talk about these values.”[2]

          3. Enhances Mental Well-Being

          Spending that quality time together gives your children a safe platform in which to express themselves, ask questions about things that are bothering them, or talk about their day and things they’ve learned. I know that my 9-year old granddaughter can’t wait until it’s her turn to talk about her day. She usually goes on and on and has to be stopped to give everyone else a chance to talk about their goings-on.

          “Research shows the quality of family relationships is more important than their size or composition. Whoever the family is made up of, they can build strong, positive relationships that promote wellbeing and support children and young people’s mental health.”[3]

          For children, having the opportunity to seek advice from parents they trust—as well as being able to have a sounding board and help with problem-solving—is priceless. In addition, being able to voice their opinions and be heard—and to feel like what they have to say matters—is an esteem-builder. All of these can have a very impactful positive effect on their well-being.

          4. Helps the Child Feel Loved

          How do you think a child feels knowing their parents want to spend time with them—talking, sharing experiences, playing games, listening to them? It will make them feel as though they are important, and a child that feels important is happier and more apt to thrive. Setting aside chores or work to spend time with your children demonstrates that they’re essential—that they matter. What a gift to give your child!

          “If a child has your undivided attention, it signals that they are loved and important to you. This can be further nurtured by experiencing joyful activities together, as it demonstrates that you want to spend time with your children over and above all of the daily demands.”[4]

          5. Creates a Safe Environment

          If you regularly spend time with your children, you are also creating an atmosphere of trust. The more trust they have, the more likely they are to share with you what’s going on in their world. As they get older, you’re going to want to know. Negative influences can show up at any time, but if you’ve always been there for your child, they are more apt to come to you and ask for your advice.

          Spending time together generates familiarity and feelings of being supported. When a child feels safe and comfortable, they’re more likely to open up. This is one way to get to know your child and know what’s on their minds. Are they okay? Do they need your guidance? If so, how?

          6. Reduces Stress

          This is significant. We all suffer from stress at one point or another in our lives. Spending time with family helps alleviate that stress. It’s an opportunity to talk things out, get feedback, and maybe brainstorm for a solution to the problem that is causing the stress.

          According to Brandy Drzymkowski, “During the holidays, your closest five people probably shifts to family and friends. You may even get to see loved ones who live far away. Good news! This can actually help lower your stress levels. Studies show ‘face-to-face interaction…counteracts the body’s defensive ‘fight-or-flight’ response.’ In other words, quality time spent with loved ones is nature’s stress reliever.”[5]

          So, now that you know some of the benefits, what are some ideas for making family time happen?

          How to Make Family Time Happen

          Here are four things you can do to make family time happen and spend more time with them.

          1. Family Dinners

          This, as I said above, is a wonderful way to spend time together. While you’re having dinner, you have the chance to discuss things that are going on in your lives—the ups, the downs, and everywhere in between. It’s like having a buffer against life’s challenges.

          Aside from that, eating dinner together has many additional benefits. Studies have shown that for kids who eat regularly with their families, there is less risk of substance abuse, teen pregnancy, and depression.[6]

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          “Our belief in the ‘magic’ of family dinners is grounded in research on the physical, mental and emotional benefits of regular family meals.” It further states, “We recommend combining food, fun and conversation at mealtimes because those three ingredients are the recipe for a warm, positive family dinner—the type of environment that makes these scientifically proven benefits possible.”[7]

          According to Parenting NI, “children and adolescents who spend more time with their parents are less likely to get involved in risky behavior. According to studies done by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse via Arizona State University, teens who have infrequent family dinners are twice as likely to use tobacco, nearly twice as likely to use alcohol and one and a half times more likely to use marijuana.”[8]

          As you can see, there are multiple benefits to spending time with each other routinely. You can’t go wrong with this family activity.

          2.  Regular Movie Nights

          This is another fun event, although, from personal experience, I have to caution that choosing a movie that everyone wants to see is not easy. So, give yourselves plenty of time so you don’t spend two hours searching for a movie, and then end up watching no movie at all because the night is practically over. Try and choose a movie before the day, if possible.

          Afterward, open it up for discussion. Ask questions pertinent to the movie. What do you think of ABC? Should they have done that? Would you have done something differently? There are so many questions you can ask to spark a conversation and keep the night going.

          3. Game Night

          This is another occasion for great fun. If you have a competitive spirit, it makes it even more fun. There are numerous games out there—Balderdash, Pictionary, Apples to Apples, Charades, to name a few—that can create fun havoc. All I can say is, on game nights, don’t take yourself too seriously. It’s okay if you lose the game. The fun is in being together, laughing, debating, and having a good time.

          In addition, “Playing board games is great for children for many reasons besides the obvious; it’s fun to play games! Age appropriate games can help children to think strategically, solve problems creatively, work on pattern recognition and build simple math skills. They also help children develop social skills such as following rules, taking turns, and graceful winning or losing. Additionally, a family game night provides an opportunity for children to bond with siblings, parents and family members as well as peers. It can promote tradition building and establish a fun routine.”[9]

          So, go find your family a game and start having fun!

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          4. Sharing a Hobby

          If you and one of your kids like to do the same things, do it more often. For example, my oldest son and his teenage son go on long bike rides together on the weekends. Not only do they get to exercise, but they also get to talk and look at beautiful sceneries. They’ve also incorporated cooking into their routine. They plan the meal, shop, and prepare—activities that bring them closer together.

          Sharing a hobby is a great way to bring family members together. It bonds people in amazing ways. According to Alison Ratner Mayer, LICSW, “One of the easiest and most important ways to build a child’s self-esteem is to spend time with them doing something not only that they enjoy but something that you also enjoy. There is a special magic that happens between a parent and a child when they share a mutually beloved activity. It sends the message to the child that their parents are having fun, true, honest, real fun, with them.”[10]

          Final Thoughts

          Spending time with the family is an investment. It is an investment in the happiness, well-being, and security of that system. It can also serve as a way to break out of the daily rut and the constant worldly demands, while at the same time, building a strong family unit.

          Even though it isn’t always easy to find the time, finding the time is key to staying close and to providing and receiving love and support. There is no greater gift than the gift of time. That’s what we all seem to be missing nowadays. So, in giving that gift consistently, everyone feels loved and appreciated.

          The family that takes the time to interact regularly is typically happy. They know they are part of a tribe, and that’s essential in today’s chaotic world. To know that there are people whom you can count on—people who will have your back in times of need—is invaluable.

          Now, go and plan something plan with your family, if you haven’t already.

          Featured photo credit: Jimmy Dean via unsplash.com

          Reference

          [1] Pittsburgh Parent: Spending Time Together—Benefits of Family Time
          [2] Roots of Action: Integrity: How Families Teach and Live Their Values
          [3] Beyond Blue: Healthy Families
          [4] Esperance Anglican Community School: The importance of family time
          [5] Brandy Drzymkowski: Spending Time With Loved Ones Reduces Stress
          [6] Harvard Graduate School of Education: Harvard EdCast: The Benefit of Family Mealtime
          [7] The Family Dinner Project: BENEFITS OF FAMILY DINNERS
          [8] Parenting NI: The Importance of Spending Time Together
          [9] WNY Children: Family Game Night- The Benefits of Game Play
          [10] Child Therapy Boston: The Benefits of Sharing a Hobby With Your Child

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