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How to Spend More Time With Your Kids

Updated on August 7, 2013

We all know that spending time with your child is a good thing, but sometimes it just feels so hard! Finding time, coming up with fun ideas, and getting buy-in from all parties involved, can just seem like too much. Rest assured though, it doesn't have to be. It's very likely that your child is just waiting for a chance to spend quality time with you. Even kids who may act reluctant usually join in the fun after an initial show of resistance. Here are some easy ideas to get you started:

20 Ideas to Do With Your Child:

  • Blow bubbles. Make your own bubbles at home and use household items (slotted spoons or even cheese graters can work) to blow bubbles through. Here is a recipe and some ideas to get you started:
  • Play the question game. The idea is simple, take turns asking each other questions. Popular questions are about favorite things or what they would do in silly situations. "What is your favorite dessert to eat?" "What would you do if you saw a zebra walking through your school?" Children love telling you about themselves. They love coming up with creative questions almost as much.
  • Cook a treat together. It doesn't have to be anything big - muffins from a mix are a favorite!
  • Create some art. It can be as simple as coloring with crayons. Want to shake it up a little more? Grab your crafting sticks, yarn, glitter, magazines and get creative.
  • Go on a walk. Do some urban hiking or get out in the wild for some movement. Make it fun by playing I-Spy as you walk or doing a scavenger hike for leaves and rocks.
  • Fly a kite. What can be more freeing and childlike than flying a kite. Pick one out together or surprise your child with one. If you're feeling more crafty, look online for one of many tutorials for a do-it-yourself kite.
  • Go to the zoo. Find your child's favorite animal and try to learn something.
  • Do a puzzle together. Large puzzles could be left out and worked on a little everyday. Smaller puzzles are fun to do as a race. Set the timer and see how fast you and your child can finish. Repeat and try to beat your time.
  • Play a board game or dominoes. Board games are great for learning to follow rules and be a good sport. They also help with reasoning and strategy. Not so bad for something that's also a fun time!
  • Have a dance party. Crank up the music and dance. Even better, videotape it and watch the performance later. See who can come up with the best moves.
  • Look through old photos. Whether on your computer or in a photo book, spend some time remember special moments by looking at pictures - tell old family stories, talk about how mom and dad met, remind your kids of a past outing.
  • Spend time outdoors. Play frisbee, throw around a baseball, have a water balloon fight.
  • Make a blanket fort. While the neat-freak in you might cringe, imagine your children's glee when mom or dad is willing to get on the floor and create blanket forts. When you're done, spend some time inside reading, picniking, or even watching a show.
  • Play sidewalk games. All you need is chalk and the fun can start. Start here for ideas:
  • Make origami or paper airplanes. Find patterns online for origami or paper airplanes. Kids can create their own uniquely folded airplanes. Be sure to have a paper airplane race to see who can go the farthest!
  • Go to the library. Explore your local library and see what treasures you can find. Children love being independent enough to pick our their own books.
  • Build with blocks or Legos. Even if your child regularly builds with blocks, it's never the quite as good as when mom or dad helps.
  • Make cardboard box creations. One of my favorite memories from my childhood is from hours spent playing in a "rocket ship" my mom had made from an old refrigerator box. She cut a hole in the side as a window and covered it with plastic wrap. A door was cut on the side and inside were many buttons (literally buttons from her sewing kit) glued to a control panel. Search for more cardboard box ideas online.
  • Have a picnic. Even if the weather doesn't allow for an outside picnic, there's nothing like laying a blanket out and eating on the ground. For smaller children, stuffed animals might be "invited" to join the fun.
  • Read a book. Even older children and adults can enjoy picture books. Or take a small amount of time every day to read a chapter in a longer book. I can still remember the sound of my dad's voice as he read to us.Letting your child pick the book will ensure he or she is excited for the activity. Share a favorite book from your childhood or explore current favorites.

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