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15 Fun And Easy Family Activities That You Can Do At Home

15 Fun And Easy Family Activities That You Can Do At Home

Looking for ways to bond with your family, while keeping the kids healthy and active? Turn off the electronics and start the fun with this list of easy, inexpensive, and fun family activities that you can enjoy at home.

Make Forts out of cardboard boxes

Your local furniture store is a great place to get large cardboard boxes that you can transform into life-sized playhouses and cars. If you can’t find any big boxes, why not make a mini-city out of shoe boxes and cereal boxes?  You can spend hours decorating and furnishing the houses you make. Perfect for Barbie!

cardboard box play

    Play Mad Libs

    Reinforce parts of speech with this hilarious classic game of fill-in-the-blanks. The genuis of Mad Libs is that you don’t really know what story you are filling in…until the reveal at the end. The results are always odd, and often hilarious. Mad Libs is a great educational game for home, but you can also play it on car journeys. Mad Libs can be bought at any major bookstore, or on Amazon.com.

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    Mad_Libs

      Go on a Neighborhood Color Walk

      For a fun and healthy home-adventure, take your kids on a color walk around the neighborhood! Get the children to choose which color you are starting with, and as you walk, let them “collect” things of that color by shouting out the object’s name (kind of like ‘I spy’). Anyone can change the color at any time. Here is one account of a Mom who “let the rainbow guide her feet”!

      colour_walk

        Make Slime

        Slime is one of the best ways to keep children of any age happy for hours on end. You can mix one box of cornstarch with 1/4 cup of water and some food coloring for a tricky, sticky mess that transforms from a solid to liquid when squeezed. Or, for a more elaborate (but less messy) recipe,  gather together the following ingredients, and click here to access an easy slime recipe video. Your kids will thank you!

        • 1 teaspoon borax
        • 1.5 cups water
        • 1 4 oz. bottle of white glue
        • 8 drops food coloring

        glue slime almost ready

          Coloring

          Coloring books are a thing of the past. These days families are printing coloring pages right from the internet! Try sites like Activity Village, or Funprintablesforkids.com for fun, original coloring pages that kids will love!

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          colouring for kids

            Decorate a Cake

            Buy or make a simple cake and delight your children by announcing that they can decorate it themselves, using small bowls of smarties, sprinkles- and even some of their own small toys, such as LEGO. Don’t get too worried about the presentation. This family activity is supposed to be fun!

            kids_cake_

              Host a Stuffy Birthday Party

              Since you have a cake ready, why not designate one of your son or daughter’s stuffed toys as the birthday boy, or birthday girl? Keep your children busy making decorations and a birthday card for stuffy, then invite all the other stuffies to come to the table for the “Happy Birthday” song and some cake. Don’t forget to take a photo!

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              birthday party

                Play a Board Game

                Board games teach valuable skills such as teamwork, decision-making, sharing and problem-solving. Keep your board games in the same area as your children’s toys, so that they become a natural activity choice. Which games are best? Our vote is for Memory, Scrabble and Monopoly.

                Scrabble

                  Relax at Family Movie night

                  Choose a family fun movie, make some popcorn…and relax!    Watching a movie as a family activity means lots of bonding and cuddles- and your home cinema experience will be a fraction of the cost of going to the cinema. For a totally stress-free evening, why not order a pizza so Mom and Dad don’t have to cook? Many families make movie night into a fun weekly routine.

                  Family Movie Night

                    Play Charades

                    A family classic, this game uses hand gestures to help children guess a popular movie, book, person or saying. If your skills are a little rusty, click here for a clear list of the rules and conventions of charades.

                    charades
                      Photo source: http://www.climbingframes.com.au/blog/2013/07/01/winter-warmers/

                      Make a Lemonade Stand

                      Kids love to sell lemonade. Use a folding card table, or a large cardboard box for a stand. Make a simple sign out of cardboard to advertise the price (we suggest 25 cents per cup), mix up some concentrated lemonade (or if you’re ambitious, go ahead and make the real stuff!), and finally, send the kids outside to serve their customers. Don’t forget to take lots of photos of this fun family activity!

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                      lemonade stand

                        Grow a Container Garden

                        It’s easy to grow a container garden. Even if you live in an apartment, there is room on a windowsill for a small potted plant or herb. The easiest and most rewarding plants for a patio or indoor garden are culinary herbs or leafy salads: great for cooking and garnishing!  For good success from seed, try parsley, chives, rosemary and arugula.

                        herb_garden

                          Practice Yoga

                          The benefits of yoga are many, but have you considered how your family’s life could be improved by  reduced stress, better sleep and a more peaceful environment?  And, besides all that, yoga with children is simply fun! Access free yoga videos like this one, and make a mini-yoga session part of your fun family day!

                          Yoga for family fun

                            Tangrams

                            These fun geometric shapes should be a part of every family’s playroom shelf. A complete set of tangrams consists of seven isosceles triangles, one square and one parallelogram: shapes that can be combined to form interesting pictures and shapes. Tangram templates can be found on the internet. Have some focused family fun while reinforcing math skills and lateral thinking!

                            Wooden Tangram Set
                              Photo: Nevit Dilmen

                              Play Heads, Bodies, Tails

                              Sometimes called “The Exquisite Corpse” this old-fashioned parlor game requires two or more people, a piece of paper and at least one pencil. In Heads, Bodies and Tails   the first player draws a hat (and maybe the sky?), and then folds the paper over to reveal only the brim. The next player, without looking at the first picture, draws a head, leaving only the neck. Player 3 (or the first player again) draws the body, leaving the waist. The next person draws the legs, and then finally someone draws the shoes.  There are many variations on this game. All are creative and hilarious.

                              drawing game
                                Photo source: http://letsshare.typepad.com/berkley/2008/04/the-exquisite-c.html

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                                Last Updated on October 23, 2018

                                Science Says Knitting Makes Humans Warmer And Happier, Mentally

                                Science Says Knitting Makes Humans Warmer And Happier, Mentally

                                My mother was a great knitter and produced some wonderful garments such as Aran sweaters which were extremely fashionable when I was young. She also knitted while my father drove, which caused great amusement. I often wondered why she did that but I think I know the answer now.

                                Knitting is good for your mental health, according to some research studies. The Washington Post mentions a 2013 survey of about 3,500 knitters who were asked how they felt after a knitting session. Over 80% of them said they definitely felt happier. It is not a totally female occupation as more and more men take it up to get the same benefits. Harry Styles (One Direction) enjoys knitting. So does Russell Crowe although he does it to help him with anger management!

                                The Neural Knitwork Project

                                In Australia, Neural Knitworks was started to encourage people to knit and also become aware of neuroscience and mental health issues. Knit-ins were organized but garments were not the only things created. The knitters produced handmade neurons (1,665 of them!) to make a giant brain. The 2015 project will make more neural knitted networks (neural knitworks) and they will be visible online. You can see some more examples of woolly neurons on the Neural Knitworks Facebook page.

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                                While people knitted, crocheted and crafted yarn, they listened to experts talking about mental health issues such as addiction, dementia, depression, and how neurons work.

                                The knitting and neural connection

                                The human brain has about 80 billion neurons. Learning new skills, social interaction, and physical activity all help to forge neural connections which keep the brain healthy and active. They are creating networks to control movement and make memories. The knitters learn that as they create the woollen neurons, their own neurons are forming new pathways in their brains. Their creations are mimicking the processes in their brains to a certain extent. At the same time, their brains are registering new and interesting information as they learn interesting facts about the brain and how it works. I love the knitworks and networks pun. What a brilliant idea!

                                More mental health benefits from knitting

                                Betsan Corkhill is a physiotherapist and has published some results of completed studies on her website, appropriately named Stitchlinks. She conducted some experiments herself and found that knitting was really helpful in reducing panic and anxiety attacks.

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                                “You are using up an awful lot of brain capacity to perform a coordinated series of movements. The more capacity you take up by being involved in a complex task, the less capacity you have for bad thoughts.”- Betsan Corkhill

                                Knitters feel happier and in a better mood

                                Ann Futterman-Collier, Well Being Lab at Northern Arizona University, is very interested in how textile therapy (sewing, knitting, weaving and lace-making) can play an important role in mood repair and in lifting depressive states.

                                She researched 60 women and divided them into three different groups to do some writing, meditating and work with textiles. She monitored their heartbeat, blood pressure and saliva production. The women in the textiles group had the best results when their mood was assessed afterwards. They were in a better mood and had managed to reduce their negative thoughts better than those in the writing and meditation groups.

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                                “People who were given the task to make something actually had less of an inflammatory response in the face of a ‘stressor’.” – Dr. Futterman Collier

                                The dopamine effect on our happiness

                                Our brains produce a chemical called dopamine. This helps us to feel happy, more motivated, and assists also with focus and concentration. We get a boost of dopamine after sex, food, exercise, sleep, and creative activities.

                                There are medications to increase dopamine but there are lots of ways we can do it naturally. Textile therapy and crafting are the easiest and cheapest. We can create something and then admire it. In addition, this allows for a little bit of praise and congratulations. Although this is likely not your goal, all these can boost our dopamine and we just feel happier and more fulfilled. These are essential in facing new challenges and coping with disappointment in life.

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                                “Sometimes, people come up to me when I am knitting and they say things like, “Oh, I wish I could knit, but I’m just not the kind of person who can sit and waste time like that.” How can knitting be wasting time? First, I never just knit; I knit and think, knit and listen, knit and watch. Second, you aren’t wasting time if you get a useful or beautiful object at the end of it.” – Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, At Knit’s End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much.

                                If you thought knitting and textiles were for old ladies, think again!

                                Featured photo credit: DSC_0012/Mary-Frances Main via flickr.com

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