I kind of hate forts. The kids love them but it's just a matter of WHEN the fighting will start. Then there's the chairs and the blankets... Sigh.
That is not one of my activities of choice, but I'm probably in the minority there. I just hate 1. fighting and 2. messes.
Summer is quickly coming up and we will soon find ourselves with a new schedule and random chunks of time needing filling. While much of that time will be kids running and being free outside, sometimes we find some indoor down time is very useful.
But too much mindless tv = mindless children, mostly when the tv gets turned off. Plus, there's nothing like watching an episode of Barney. I'm really not a fan of Barney. My hubby's El Guappo is Caillou. I'm not sure what he's got against that sweet little cartoon, but he thinks it's the worst. I think that there's no way it's worse than Barney, but I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree.
Here are some of our favorite things to do together at home. They are no/low mess and no/low prep. Plus, not only are none of them annoying to the adults in the room, they are actually kind of fun. Pretty much if I get the kids involved in any of these activities we will all be happy. And none of this is sponsored- they've all just brought lots and lots of quiet, happy moments and how do you not share that joy with others?
In no particular order:
1. Art for Kids Hub on YouTube. My kids (and I!) will do this forever. All you need is paper and pencil. We use our Dollar Tree cookie sheets for tables and draw sitting on the couch watching the tv. The guy has one of his kids drawing next to him and they are super cute. There's a variety in the projects for different ages, interests, and abilities. It's really entertaining and its so darn adorable to see everyone's final drawing.
I promise not very many of her activities make a mess, however this entertained these two for HOURS that day so TOTALLY worth it.
2. Have you been on BusyToddler.com? She has so many super simple activities for preschoolers that just use basic stuff. Like 90% of her ideas take really minimal prep and the kids love them. Plus, it makes my past-life-teacher-self very happy. Highly recommend. If you have older kids too they could pick out and organize an activity for the younger ones.
love that they got out a blanket and pillows to do their yoga.
3. Cosmic Kids Yoga. The cute lady doing it takes the kids on a 20-30 minute themed adventure, doing yoga throughout. She's got Frozen, Star Wars, Minecraft, Moana, Harry Potter and like 47 other topics. It's a great activity for a rainy day or just when you need to mix it up. Also, watching a 3 year old do yoga has got to rank right up there in parental highlights. The 10 and 8 year olds were all over the Minecraft episode but I'm pretty sure there is no freaking way I could bribe them into doing the Hungry Caterpillar one.
4. Easy cooking. Nothing like the motivation of being able to eat your project to get everyone interested. My kids all LOVE these energy/granola balls and all happily help making them. We 4x them, add mini chocolate chips, use a small cookie scoop, and keep them in the freezer. They make a fabulous snack and the kids are all very happy to take them to school and I love to sneak one or seven out of the freezer. I'm sure they're really yummy minus the chocolate too, but I wouldn't know though, because why would I make them with no chocolate?
5. Audio stuff.
Podcasts- our new favorite is Wow in the World, a kid's program from NPR. It's clever and funny and educational and I find myself cracking up at that darn Mindy. The 3 year old isn't too interested, but the 5, 8, and 10 year olds love it.
Books on CDs- We're talking old school here. For Christmas a few years ago my parents bought the kids their own simple CD player. It's been fantastic because even the 3 year old can run it by herself. We've checked out chapter books on CDs from the library and they will listen to them on it or we'll listen in the car on long trips. A while back I forced my hubby to go through one of his old boxes from his younger days and he dug out a CD carrier. We've filled it mostly with picture books on CDs.
Amazon has a whole slew of $5-$6 ones that tell the stories of Disney movies. The books have WAY too many words for me to actually read, but the CDs are quite nice to listen to and follow along.
These are my favorites, but we're always interested in finding new homeruns. For instance, how in the world have I not heard of Dude Perfect on YouTube?! We just watched some for the first time yesterday and the rest of the night was filled with the 10 year old coming up with his own crazy flipping challenges. So thank you (I think) Lyndsey! (if you have boys she's a great one to follow on Instagram: boymoms_unite)
What are some of YOUR favorite easy kid activities at home?