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

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

          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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          Published on May 24, 2019

          How to Raise a Confident Child with Grit

          How to Raise a Confident Child with Grit

          My husband and I facilitate a couple’s marriage and parenting group. Recently, the group discussed qualities, characteristics, and traits we wanted to see our children develop as they grow up. One term that came up that all parents seemed to upon agree as a highly valued trait was that of grit. The question from our group was:

          “Can grit be taught to our children?”

          The answer is, yes. Parents can help their child develop grit.

          What is grit? Dr. Angela Duckworth is the top researcher on this subject and wrote the book Grit. She defines grit as “passion and perseverance for long term goals”. This new buzz word is popular in the adult realm, but what about our developing children? What if we could help our children develop grit as young children.

          Grit is more crucial to success than IQ. Duckworth, through her research at Harvard, found that having grit was a better predictor for an individual’s success than IQ. This means having the smartest kid in the room doesn’t ensure any level of success in their future. They can be brilliant, but if they aren’t properly intrinsically motivated, they won’t be successful.

          Grit determines long term success. If a child can’t pick themselves up and try again after a failure, then how are they going to be able to do it as adult?

          What a gift it would be to our children to engage them in a manner that helps them recognize their passions, talents, and develop a persevere to purse their goals. Below are some tips on how to raise a confident child with grit.

          1. Encouragement is Key

          When a child wants to learn how to ride a bike, do they keep going after they fall down or do they quit after the first fall?

          If they aren’t encouraged to get up and try again, and instead are coddled and told they can try again some other day, then they are being taught to play it safe.

          Safe and coddled don’t exactly go hand-in-hand with building up grit. The child needs to be encouraged to try again. This can be a parent saying “you can do it, I believe in you” and “I know that even if you fall again you will try again and eventually you will get the hang of it”.

          Encouragement to keep trying so that they can build up perseverance is very helpful in building a child’s confidence. This confidence is what will help them strike out and try again.

          If they feel that they can’t do it or shouldn’t do it, then they won’t. The mind is a powerful thing. If a child believes that they can’t be successful in doing something, then they won’t be successful. Part of building that mentality of believing in themselves comes from encouragement from their parents, care givers, and teachers.

          Cheer Them On

          How many times have you heard a story of success that someone had in life that all began because someone believed in that person?

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          A coach, a mom, a teacher can have a huge impact by believing in the child’s ability to be successful and voicing that encouragement to them. Words are powerful. Use them to build up a child, by telling them that they can do it even if they have try again and again.

          Be their support system by being their cheerleader. Cheerleaders don’t just cheer when the team is winning. They cheer words of encouragement to keep the team going.

          The same goes with children. We need to cheer for their successes, but also cheer for them to keep going and fighting the fight when life gets tough!

          You Can’t Force Them

          Keep in mind that you can’t force a child to keep trying. They have to do it themselves.

          For example, when my daughter was learning to tie her shoes, it was a real struggle. She gave up. I couldn’t make her want to try to do it again. She had to take a break from the struggle for a few months and then try again.

          She was more successful the second time around, because she had matured and her fine motor skills had improved. It would have been ridiculous for me to force her to practice tying her shoes for the three or four months in between, with tears and arguing taking place.

          No, instead we took a break. She tried again later. Forcing her to learn something that she wasn’t ready to learn would have pit us against one another. That would have been a poor parenting move.

          There are boundaries that parents can set though in some cases. For example, if your child begins an activity and wants to quit mid-season because they are terrible at the sport, you have the opportunity to keep them in the sport through the end of the season to show them that quitting is not an option.

          Although they may not win another tennis match the rest of the season or win another swimming race all year long, finishing the commitment is important. It will help with the development of grit by teaching them to persevere through the defeat. It is character building.

          If your child is great at all things all the time, they will not develop grit. They need to try things that challenge them. When they aren’t the best at something, or for that matter, the worst, it creates an opportunity for them feel real struggle. Real struggle builds real character.

          2. Get Them out of Their Comfort Zone

          My daughter wanted to try cheerleading this past fall. She has never done this activity in the past, nor is she particularly coordinated (sorry sweetie). For that matter, she couldn’t even do a cartwheel when cheer season began.

          However, we signed up because she was so excited to become a cheerleader. I signed up to coach because there was a need for more cheer coaches. We were all-in at that point.

          Once the season began, I quickly realized that cheerleading was far outside my daughter’s comfort zone. The idea of cheerleading was great in her mind. The reality of memorizing cheers and learning physical skills that were hard for her made the experience a struggle. She wanted to quit. I said to her “no, you were the one who wanted to do this, so we finish what we started.” I had to say this more than once. I don’t think anyone on the squad knew this was the case, because she kept at it.

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          She kept practicing those cheers every evening. It did not come naturally to her at first, so it was uncomfortable. She always seemed to be half a beat behind the other cheerleaders, which made it very awkward and uncomfortable for her. However, letting her know that quitting mid-season was not an option made her try harder. She wanted to learn the cheers so she wouldn’t stand out on the squad as the girl who didn’t know what she is doing.

          By the end of the season, she became a decent cheerleader. Not the best, but she was no longer half a beat behind the rest. She learned skills that were hard for her to conquer. Now that she felt success in achieving something that was uncomfortable and hard for her. She knows she has it in her to do that in other areas of life.

          That is why it’s ok for us as parents to let our kids feel the struggle and be uncomfortable. If they don’t experience it when they are young, they will as adults, but they won’t be equipped with the perseverance and inner-strength built from years of working hard through smaller struggles as they grew up.

          Allowing our children to struggle helps them build that skill of perseverance, so that they have the grit to achieve hard things in life that they really desire to accomplish.

          3. Allow Them To Fail

          Your child will fail at things in life. Let them. Do not swoop in and rescue your child from their personal failures. If they don’t fail, then they don’t have the opportunity to pick themselves up and try again.

          If I had pulled my daughter from cheerleader once I realized that it was going to be a real struggle, she wouldn’t have experienced failure and struggle. Letting her have this small failure in life taught her lessons that can’t be taught in a classroom. She learned about the power she has within herself to try harder, to practice in order to make change happen, and to push through it even when you feel like giving up because it is embarrassing.

          Failure is embarrassing. Learning to handle embarrassment is taking on a fear. When kids learn to do this at a young age, it is practice for adult life. They will experience failure as an adult. They will be better equipped to handle life’s disappointments and failures if they have learned to handle the fear of embarrassment and failure when they are young.

          Practice builds up the skill. Processing and handling fear, embarrassment, and failure are skills.

          If I had pulled my daughter from cheer and allowed her to quit, I would have taken from her the opportunity to learn how to process and handle the embarrassment and failure she was experiencing at each practice and games. She learned to keep trying and that practicing the skills would lessen the embarrassment and feelings of failure.

          Learning the value of practice and how to preserve through the fear and failure are priceless lessons. We may want to rescue our children because we want them to be successful at the things that they do, but how will they be successful in this competitive world as adults if they are provided with only opportunities in which they succeed?

          Failure is needed to learn to thrive. Success in adulthood does not come easy to children who are protected from failure because they haven’t built up the ability to persevere.

          Perseverance comes when they have learned time and time again how to take the fear of embarrassment and failure head on and practice to get better.

          4. Teach Them to Try Again

          Encourage your child to try again. Don’t let them quit on the first try.

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          Life is hard. If we quit the first time we tried at things, we would never amount to anything in life. We need to teach our children that trying again is simply part of life.

          Help them to give it a go by providing encouragement and support. Offer to practice with them, provide them with tutoring or coaching if necessary — whatever it takes to get them back on the proverbial horse and trying again.

          Break it Down

          Sometimes failure occurs because they are trying something all at one time and they haven’t mastered the smaller components.

          For example, a math student isn’t going to jump into calculus as their first high school math course. No, of course not. They build on their skills. They begin with basic math, then algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and pre-calculus to then they get to the calculus level.

          If they are thrown into the deep end by taking on calculus before the foundation of their math skills are built, they will fail.

          Help your child try again by breaking down what it is they are trying to achieve.

          Going back to my cheer example… my daughter was not the best at learning the cheers when we began. It then dawned on me that we needed to break down each cheer phrase by phrase. Once we learned the phrase and movements that went with it, we could then learn the next one. Once these were learned, we could combine the phrases, practice them together, and then try to move to learn the next phrase in the cheer. It was a tedious process, but it worked.

          Not all skills come easy for kids. Helping them learn the skill of breaking things down into manageable tasks is another way we teach them about grit. They are learning to build skills by persisting, practicing, and building upon previous experience, knowledge, and skills.

          Grit is put into practice in childhood when they learn how to break down large tasks into smaller achievable tasks in order to build toward a greater goal.

          5. Let Them Find Their Passion

          Your child may be a wonderful pianist. However, if they aren’t passionate about the skill, then they likely won’t be happy or fulfilled in becoming a concert pianist.

          It’s great to help your child discover their talents, but also let them discover what they are passionate about in life.

          True success will come because they are passionate about the activity, not because they are the best. The best usually become that way because they are passionate first. Therefore, let your child experience a variety of activities and interests so that they can discover what they love to do.

          6. Praise Their Efforts, Not the Outcome

          Praising their efforts keeps them motivated and trying. If you focus on outcome, then when they fail, they will become defeated and discouraged.

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          Focusing on the fact that they tried hard and pointing out specific ways that they did well in terms of effort will support them in trying again. When you make a habit of focusing on outcome, then failures are avoided at all costs, including taking risks.

          Risks are needed in order to become successful. Therefore, make a habit of praising their efforts, even when the outcome is not what they had hoped and tried for, because eventually, if they keep trying their efforts will result in success.

          7. Be a Model of Grit

          If you are a parent or a caregiver for a child, then you are a model to that child. Children naturally look up to the adults in their life that are closest to them, especially their parents. They will look at your ability to persevere and achieve. Your grit will show.

          Your children are watching. They may not know the term grit, but they will learn about working hard, not giving up, trying again after failure, and all that grit entails from your actions.

          How you handle life is being watched by your children. You can work on your own grit by reading Angela Duckworth’s book Grit .

          Develop a Growth Mindset

          Helping your child develop a growth mindset is also helpful to your child in their development of grit. Dr. Dweck, author of Growth Mindset and researcher at Stanford, developed a theory of fixed versus growth mindset.

          Basically, what it means is that if you have a fixed mindset, you will fear failure and easily give up. Someone with a growth mindset believes that their talents, skills, and abilities can be improved with hard work and learning. Parents and caregivers can help with the development of a growth mindset.

            Some of the ways that a growth mindset can be developed include:

            • Teaching your child how the brain works: neuron connections, right brain versus left brain.
            • Teach them to set goals.
            • Teach them to have a “can do” attitude.
            • Teach them to develop a strategy when they want to achieve something.
            • Teach them that mistakes are an opportunity to learn.
            • Teach them that failure is a normal part of life.
            • Teach them about self talk: Self Talk Determines Your Success

            There are a great deal of activities and materials online for helping your child develop a growth mindset including these resources below (each site contains at least some free content):

            The Bottom Line

            Grit is not just for adults, it is something we can help our children develop. Grit is more critical to success than IQ, so we should be helping our children develop this quality early in life.

            As a parent, being a model of grit, is one of the first ways to help our children become “gritty”.

            Featured photo credit: Gabriela Braga via unsplash.com

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