Potpourri of 32 Interesting Gadget -Free Activities to Keep Your Children Fruitfully Engaged and Simply Happy
Vacation 2020. A vacation that started much ahead of schedule and threatens to continue for quite some time. A vacation where resources might be limited, where we are learning new ways of working and connecting, where your dream vacation will remain just that, where the question as to when schools will reopen remains a question mark.
And yet, there are opportunities to connect like never before. There is access to a wide variety of digital resources, a mixed blessing. There are cases where work-from-home has ensured that children have both parents for company.
And in some cases, grandparents are also around and it is a double bonanza. So, with a little bit of creativity and planning, the word ‘boredom’ can be sent on a holiday as well.
Holidays is the time for kids to dabble with a variety of activities without any inhibition. Pursuing activities simply for fun, to experience the joy of creation and not worry about rewards -reprimands. To delve into your inner self and discover latent talents. To discover new connections between yourself and your loved ones.
It is possible to instill sensitivity, creativity, very valuable daily Life-skills and values vicariously through these activities without much fuss. This year particularly, kids have to learn to leverage and get creative with existing resources, a skill that will hold them in good stead always. All we need to remember is that kids like to be involved, taken into confidence and treated like a mini-adult.
Taking stock and planning
- Get together with your kids and make an inventory of all the art and craft material that they have. Also let them to come up with ideas to utilise these materials. Kids can come up with the craziest and most offbeat ideas. Ditto with story books and toys. This process wakes kids to their own resources. Like my kids invariably say at the end of our discovery session ‘I feel rich. ‘
- Decide on what games-apps they are allowed to install and use and decide on the limits. Same with T.V shows.
- Kids interested in science and DIY projects can create a treasure chest with all the knick-knack, scraps and leftover, reusable items.So now time to get stared ……. yay!!!!
Let’s start in the kitchen
Kids seem to grow an extra stomach during the holidays, no wonder they are always hungry. Also, kitchen is where they can also learn a lot of science. So, a quick dash to the kitchen…
- Cooking is fun, brings out creative energy and you have something to eat at the end of all the hard work. Some of the items that kids can try are plain simple noodles with vegetables, sandwiches with variety of veggies, smoothies, simple biscuit cake, fruit salad, chat with variety of fillings, biscuit chat. Kids love baking and can be introduced to activities like beating, mixing, pouring., fermenting, steaming.
- Teach your kids how to use some of the kitchen equipments always keeping in mind safety. Could be toaster, food processor, hand held whisker, grater, masher, vegetable cutter. Also, give them a brief introduction into what vessels are used for which kitchen activity, where staples, rice, pulses, spices are stored.
- Depending on the age, kids can be taught to set curd, cut veggies and fruits. In fact, you can convert their kitchen time into a MasterChef contest with a timer, a set of activities, a time limit and endless commentary. Some kids really discover their ‘gift of the gab’ in such times.
Kids are avid story tellers and though they might not put Enid Blyton/ Sudha Murthy to shame yet, can come with some interesting story lines. Write the names of some popular stories in a chit. Once a chit is selected ask your children/child to change either the beginning or end or any part of the story line
- Another variation is to ask them to mix up two or three stories. You’ll be left asking for more. Give them a bunch of characters and ask them to create their own stories. For e.g. your children, their 4 friends, a dog, an old wise man, a banyan tree and ask them to add one more character of their choice
- Spin-a-yarn is another popular game. The first person starts a story, the next says the second line and so on. This can be made into a family game where everybody can participate. Something that starts out as a horror story would end up as a comedy. Super fun!
- Become quite the storyteller and read out stories. Put lights on dim and make it exciting. Listening to the stories is great as opposed to watching it because it can take children’s imagination on a beautiful ride besides helping them with grammar and vocabulary.
- This is taking story time a step further. Let the kids dress up with whatever they have available and enact a play. Kids can be hugely resourceful and some of the costume ideas can leave you in splits. If you have only one kid let him/her enact a mime.
In the night, switch off the lights and create a shadow play. Create animals with nothing but your hands and an own story. Satisfying!
- Brainvita, Puzzles, Brain-teasers, Riddles, Word Power, Jigsaw puzzle,Rubiks Cube are all-time favourites. Introduce kids to games that you played as a child.
- Name, place, animal, thing and 20 questions are other popular games. In 20 questions, one person thinks of a personality, place, event and the other person has to use 20 questions to guess the answer. The questions have to framed such that they should only be answered with a yes or a no.
- ‘Atlas game’ - as the name goes is where one child tells the name of an obscure city in the atlas and the other person has to locate it within 90 seconds. 5 clues are allowed. This is an under-the -table way of learning new cities, states and countries from the atlas. Smart, right!
- Board games such as Monopoly, Chess, Scrabble,Ludo, Snakes and Ladders, Carrom Board, Scrabble can bring the whole family together and provide endless hours of fun.
- Let your kid/s be your fitness partner. Swap exercises. They teach you and you teach them. Kids make for great teachers.
- Kids and Yoga makes for a great combination. Basic yoga exercises including the Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) can be helpful in developing concentration and helps in channelizing the extra scattered energy.
- Teaching kids some form of meditation is extremely important for the chaotic COVID times we are in. It is important to highlight the linkages between the mind and the breath. When we are angry, our breathing becomes shallow and when we are relaxed our breathing is deep. So, one effective simple method of controlling the mind is through controlling the breath.
Connecting with Mother Earth
- Experience the beauty of Nature by witnessing sunrises ,sunsets and listening to the chirping of birds.
- Discuss with your kids as to what measures that can be taken at a family level to lead an eco-friendly lifestyle. Discuss the pros-cons of each measure. The time for just drawing pictures captioned ‘Save Earth, Save Water ‘is over. It is time for action.
- Learning how to create paper bags of different sizes with newspapers can be a good start.
- Kids can create their own pen stands, stationery holder with thick paper and storage boxes using cardboard. Also, coconut shells - sandpapered and painted - serve as beautiful stand/holders for knick-knack.
- Pista shells, discarded CD’s, newspapers can all be reused to create things of beauty.
- Get kids to create a ‘Electronic junk bin’ wherein go all the unusable electronic items which can only be sent to e-waste bins. Make them in-charge of this bin.
- Let kids measure how much water is being used for brushing, bathing etc by a simple experiment. Open the tap for a full minute and fill a bucket. Using the bucket’s capacity, it is possible to then estimate how much water is used for simple activities like brushing when the tap is turned on all the whole while and otherwise. This will make eco-evangelist out of them.
Building Bridges Between Generations
- At least one family meal with all family members together would be a wonderful idea. How about kids also involving in setting the table, serving, cleaning after the meal.
- Grandparents are repositories of wisdom and unconditional love. They are also a treasure-trove of stories and wisdom. Spending time with grandparents can be mutually beneficial.
- One grandfather I know teaches chess and gardening to his grandson and a grandmother yoga and sewing . And in turn they are coached on using mobile devices by their grandchildren.
- Grandparents can share stories from their life, ones they have heard and read. Grandparents can assist kids in creating very detailed Family Tree going back as many generations as their memory allows. They can also create a Family Story Album with stories from the family with illustrations and photos. Sometimes, reality can be more interesting than fiction. Older kids can also create a similar cookbook of the family’s heirloom recipes, medicinal herbs used.
- If grandparents or parents know any other language, this is the best time to learn it. Don’t expect mastery, just some basic language skills. Also, this is the time for improved proficiency in mother tongue.
- Last but most important, let us all collectively as a family pray for humanity that is reeling under the COVID-19 outbreak and be grateful for all the COVID superheroes.
The family that plays together stays together
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 sowspeaks