As a work from home parent, I remember when my my seven-year-old would get excited over little things.
I also wanted to help build her independence, especially important as an only child.
In an inspired moment I decided to put together a list of activities she could do (mostly on her own).
I thought this would be a good opportunity for her to explore new and fun gadget-free things to do .
We sat together and decided that we would come up with something new or something fun or both, that she could do everyday. She could keep a journal of what she does.
There would be no pressure on her to do anything. There would be days when she could choose to simply laze around.
With the wheels turning, I turned to a wonderful and resourceful group of mothers on Facebook.
I posed this query in the hope that I would get some ideas on things to do. What I got in return was a deluge of suggestions which overwhelmed me with their creativity!
With their permission, I have compiled the list below. Feel free to pick from these brilliant suggestions and make your children’s days enjoyable.
*While some of these can only be done during Summer, rest assured there are plenty of ideas for year-round fun!
- Make fridge magnets.
- Make junk jewelry using the readymade beads/ string kits available in novelty stores. Gift them to your child’s friends.
- Get the child to color ice-cream sticks and stick them to each other to make a picture frame and put a picture inside.
- Lie on the ground on a sheet of paper and get your child to draw an outline. Fill it in with silly sayings/ words of love.
- Get them an Anchor long stitch kit.
- Make dolls using a sponge/rubberbands and other accessories.
- Build a lightsaber! (yes, you read that right;)
- Paint a small clay pot and use it as a flower vase.
- Blow up a balloon and cover it up with string. Then apply a layer of fevicol, mixed with colour, dry it, then break the balloon. You have a lamp holder.
- Make lovely plastic table covers with plastic beads strung together.
- Make your own bookmarks/ face masks with felt/ stiff paper. Decorate as per the child’s fancy.
- Use papier-mache! Google can help you out here 🙂
- Make simple cookies and bakes with their friends in tow.
- Get them to help with simple chores like putting vessels away, cleaning their glasses after use etc.
- Learn to use the blender to make simple juices. (Caution: Only for kids over 10 and to be done under adult supervision!)
- Make popsicles at home and lick them in complete abandon!
- Teach them to make simple salads and healthy sandwiches with little or zero cooking.
- Learn a new/random word from the dictionary daily. Keep the mystery alive!
- Learn how to fly a kite.
- Play a game of Scrabble.
- Give the child a list of words and encourage her to write a story out of them.
- Study different types of pencil sketching.
- Make a travel diary. Collect stamps, ticket stubs, souvenirs from visits to different places. Add picture postcards and maps for older kids.
- Get a class scheduled with a potter/ carpenter. These build fine motor skills.
- Write a small story and get it illustrated and published in a book form 🙂
- Pick up an Atlas and learn about countries and their capitals. (This one’s a winner at home!)
- Hunt for folktales of different countries and read more about them 🙂
- The all-time favourite ‘Name-place-animal-thing’ 🙂
- Get kids to help out and organise books/clothes/ kitchen cupboards. This will teach responsibility.
- Go to a large park or community area and collect leaves/dried flowers and make a scrapbook after coming back home.
- Get her to pay the bill at the grocery shop, check the change and acknowledge the shopkeeper with a smile and a ‘Thank you’.
- If you have a t-shirt with stains which aren’t going away, you can make them wearable. Take some faveourite colours of fabric paint, get the child to dip palms or feet and make prints on the t-shirt. Or even block prints or veggie prints. Wait for it to dry and wear them! Remember to put newspaper inside the t-shirt so that paint doesn’t penetrate through the front side and touch the back of the t-shirt.
- Use junked cardboard pieces and make robots out of them.
- Use stuff at home to create a makeshift doll house.
- Take old glass bottles, some acrylic paint and draw designs on them.
- Use fabric paints and decorate old pillow covers.
- Use old soap powder cartons to make stationery holders.
- Use scrap bits and leftover birthday decorations to make a pinata for the next party!
- Get a water hose and ask the kids to clean their scooters/bicycles. It’s great fun!
- Go around the neighbourhood and leave happy notes/messages on cars/doors. Make sure there’s no damage involved 😉
- Build a fort out of blankets and pillows and pretend you’re in the army!
- Indulge in a water balloon fight (with the necessary precautions).
- String up a hammock, invite her friends over for movie and some lemonade.
- Let them play in mud: build sand castles/ make interesting things out of wet mud and moulds.
- Organise a soap bubble party!
- Take a bus ride into the city or to the outskirts. Mark all the landmarks and bus stops along the way. Count the number of red/blue/white-coloured cars all the way there.
- Organise a picnic lunch, complete with picnic basket, lemonade, sandwiches and paper cups/plates. Get them to clean up after they’re done.
- Learn swimming. Who doesn’t love the water??
- Put up a mock play at home. Ask her to invite her friends and come up with a story/ the characters and help out with simple props at home.
- Have a great pillow fight. Fill some covers with styrofoam/ feathers. (Supervise very young kids for this activity)
- Give her an old album complete with your family pictures. Ask her to take it out and arrange them in a storybook form. It will be amazing to see how much comes out of their creativity!
- Make cards/write letters for patients in palliative care/ terminally ill wards.
- Plant a little herb garden, depending on the space available. For pointers, check out Aparna’s blog.
- Get them to mentor younger children in a favourite activity.
- Do one random act of kindness for a neighbour/ stranger.
- Volunteer at a local NGO/ Animal shelter. Watch kids grow in kindness and empathy.
- Go to a special home/ hospital/ orphanage once a week and help out with some activities there.
- Spread out grains on a terrace. Sit at a distance and watch birds flock to the venue 🙂
- Give them a simple camera and ask them to capture something that they enjoy. Get them to print and make a collage of their favourite moments from the Summer vacation 🙂
A fellow blogger, Ruth D’souza Prabhu did an entire Summer of activities for her daughter.
|Picture credit/copyright: Ruth D’Souza Prabhu|
You can see more pictures/details here: The Mumma Summer Camp
My very good friend, Vidya Sury, who is an ace blogger, came up with a treasure of ideas which can be done easily by children who can write.
- Keep a gratitude journal and list one thing daily that you are grateful for.
- Have a Happiness Jar into which you can drop chits with ideas, mentioning three things you enjoyed that day.
- Make a chart and add a new chore that you did and are proud to have learnt!