Family Activities Tips

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What is a fun craft for my kids?

Silly Slime

Making slime as a craft activity for your kids is lots of fun, and easy with this simple recipe. Mix 1 cup of cornstarch with 1 cup of water. Use your hands to mix it until it is a smooth texture. For firmer slime, add a second cup of corn starch. Add food coloring or paint to add color. Store in a covered container. Can be kept for several days.

How can I improve the relationships in my family?

Only An Hour

With the multitude of distractions that are out there, families can find they spend a whole lot of time apart. Worse yet, they can all be in the same room and not even speak to each other because of TV shows, video, or video games.

What if time was set aside every week for something the family did together? A board game, a walk in the park, a game of basketball or soccer, or talk to each other without TV or video games. Kids learn to take turns, socialize, and verbalize.

Try art projects like everyone getting a canvas and see what each of you come up with. Talk to each other while creating great works of art.

When you spend time together as a family, it helps build strong bonds and increases a child's self-assurance, but it gives all of you priceless memories.

Not only is it quality time, but you may just start a new family tradition.

How can I control arts and crafts mess?

Mess Mat

A convenient way to keep arts and craft mess under control is to have a large mat to cover carpet and furniture before you begin. An old plastic shower curtain is ideal for this. It is large, durable and inexpensive. It also folds up easily for storage.

What are some inspirational words for parents?

Parenting from A to Z

A~ is for Accountability. Hold your children accountable for their behaviour.

B~ is for Boundaries. Set specific limits, and make clear the repercussions if those limits are exceeded. C~ is for Consistency. Hold the same principals and practices.

D~ is for Discipline. Make the punishment fit the crime. Never discipline in anger.

E~ is for Example. Children are in greater need of models than critics. Set a good example.

F~ is for Forgiveness. Practice it, and teach the importance of forgiving.

G~ is for Giving. Teach the joy of giving, not only to family and friends, but to strangers in need.

H~ is for sense of Humor. Keep your sense of humor. Promote laughter with your children.

I~ is for Imagination. Be creative, and play with your children.

J~ is for Justice. Be fair, and insist they be fair, also.

K~ is for Knowing your children´s friends and their parents as well as their teachers.

L~ is for Listening. Listen to your children. It will teach them how to listen to others.

M~ is for Morals. Be sure your own standard of conduct is sound.

N~ is for No. Use it, and mean it.

O~ is for Outdoors. Provide as much outdoor activity as possible.

P~ is for Pressure. Reduce the pressure on your children, but insist they maintain high standards.

Q~ is for Questions. Pay close attention to their questions, and give simple answers unless they demand more.

R~ is for Respect. Show respect, teach respect and earn respect.

S~ is for Source of Strength. Share your own faith or beliefs with your children.

T~ is for Togetherness. Have special, designated times to be together as a family - but know when to let go, too.

U~ is for Uniqueness. Understand the uniqueness of each child, let the child be who he or she is.

V~ is for Voice. Tone of voice can convey more to a child than the words spoken.

W~ is for Words. Keep your word. Promises broken destroy trust.

X~ is for eXamine. Examine constantly, and be aware.

Y~ is for You. Take care of yourself mentally, physically and spiritually. A happy parent helps a child to be happy.

Z~ is for Zoom! Enjoy your kids now, they will be grown up before you know it!

What do I do with all my kids stickers?

Homemade Sticker Book

Make a homemade sticker book for your kids to collect the numerous stickers that they acquire on various outings. Simply use wax paper for the pages, and use construction paper or decorative paper for the covers. Let the kids decorate it themselves, and they have a great place to store their stickers. The wax paper allows them to move the stickers around and choose a favorite spot.

What do I do with tiny pieces of crayons?

Reusable Crayons

To use up the tiny crayon pieces that kids will no longer use, spray a muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray, peel the paper off the crayon bits and place them in the tin. Heat the crayons in a warm oven (200-250 degrees) until they've melted, and let them cool overnight. The kids will love their new giant rainbow crayons, and you didn't need to go buy new crayons.

How can I boost my child´s self-esteem?

Personalized lunch

To let your kids know you're thinking of them, personalize their lunches. For the younger ones add stickers of all types to the plastic covers on their sandwiches. For the older ones, add a note. I used to hand write them, sayings like, "give someone a special smile who needs one", or "compliment a teacher's aid", or "a best friend is someone who can keep a secret", or "I want you to know I love you", or "Good luck on that spelling test today, I know you can do it". More recently, I've found a box of "thoughts" already made on a card that you can just add to the lunch. You can expand this idea to give anyone in your life a self esteem boost. A quick note in a shaving kit to a spouse out of town that you miss him, will bring a warm thought to his mind. Or add a note in a briefcase the day of an important meeting or presentation.

How can I add a bright spot to my child´s day?

Little Notes

Everybody likes a surprise. Tell your kids you love them in the most unexpected places -- like in their lunchboxes. Just write a little something or draw a smiley face on the napkin before you tuck it inside.

How can I boost my child´s self-esteem?

Seat of Honor

Celebrate special events and accomplishments in your family with a "Celebration Chair". Paint a wooden chair with bright colors and special phrases such as "Congratulations" and "Way to Go!". Bring the chair to the table whenever there is something to celebrate, like a birthday, great report card, or good deed. The person of honor will then get to dine in style.

How can I reuse catalogs?

Creative Dolls

For a new use for catalogs and a creative outlet for your kids, try cutting out the pictures of clothes (not the models) and gluing them to construction paper. Then, instead of putting the clothes on a paper doll, they put the "doll" on the clothes by drawing a head, arms, legs, etc. It's a nice change from traditional paper dolls, and the results are adorable.

What is a fun activity for me to do with my kids?

Homemade Butter

You and your kids can easily make homemade butter. Pour a pint of whipping cream into a quart-sized covered jar and take turns shaking it until the cream thickens. After several minutes, you and your kids will have a special treat to share.

What is a fun indoor activity for my kids?

Secret Messages

Have your kids write messages or draw pictures on pieces of white paper using white crayon. Have them paint over it with some weak watercolor paints and their artwork or message will magically appear.

How do I make time for myself to relax?

Mommy Pedicure

To steal a few minutes of relaxation time for yourself while your kids are in the tub, give yourself a pedicure. Soak your feet in their warm water while they play and keep your favorite lotions and creams in the bathroom (out of the kids reach) to treat yourself while the kids play happily and safely next to you.

How can I improve my relationship with my kids?

More Time, Less Money

Many parents compensate for their own feelings of guilt due to time spent away from their children by purchasing them materialistic items. Instead of investing money in your children, try investing time and your relationship will grow much stronger.

What can I do with extra photos?

Using up Extra Photos

Looking for something to do with the extra tiny photos that come with a portrait package? Try using them to make bookmarks. Glue to paper, decorate, write special notes, and laminate. These make great gifts for grandparents.

How can I spend more time alone with my spouse?

Make a Breakfast Date

If you are searching for time alone with your spouse, why not do it early on a weekend morning, before the rush has begun? Book a neighborhood teenager to come over and watch cartoons with your kids for a couple of hours and head out with your spouse. Connect over coffee and a breakfast you didn't have to cook. By the time you get back, you will still have plenty of time for shopping, ballet, errands, etc.

How can I improve the relationships in my family?

Escape Day

When life gets too stressful, plan an Escape Day. Pack up the kids and a picnic lunch and head for a park, preferably a national park within 1-2 hours driving distance. Go exploring and check out sites you have never visited before. As many parks have nature or hiking trails, make sure everyone has on their walking shoes, and hike the trails. Enjoy being alive and the outdoors. It will give you some quality time with your kids, as well as help clear your head.

How can I keep my child from getting overexcited?

Peaceful Schedule

Drop one event per week. Having your child attend one or two fun events a week, rather than several, can mean the difference between a child who's contented and calm and one who's overexcited and impossible for hours at a time.

How can I entertain my child in a restaurant?

Whine-Free Waiting

To keep my 4-yr-old entertained while waiting for food to arrive in a restaurant, we play a simple game. First, I have her study the items on the table for a few minutes. Then, she closes her eyes, while I remove an item, such as a napkin, utensil, menu etc. When she opens her eyes she must guess what is missing. She also really enjoys reversing the game so that I do the guessing.

How do I make a special day for my kids?

Homemade Happy Meals

To liven up a not-so-special day, whip up some homemade kids' meals for lunch. Supply your kids with brown paper lunch bags to decorate. While they are busy, take their order for a hamburger, chicken nugget, hot dog, or their favorite lunch. Pack their lunch in their bags, along with an inexpensive toy,(matchbox car, bubbles, play-doh, etc.), purchased ahead of time. Don't let them see the surprise until they open the bag, and you just turned the day into a very memorable one!

How can my kids make a fun souvenir of their childhood?

Scrapbook Fun

Let your child create a scrapbook detailing each year of his/her life. Provide your child with copies of family photos showing your child at various ages of life. Let them create a page or more for each year beginning with snapshots of their arrival on this earth, the trip home from the hospital, first bath, first Christmas, or whatever photos you have. They can make a collage, cut photos into artistic shapes, add newspaper headlines, etc. that they want to capture each year of their life. Add favorite mementos such as movie and concert tickets, amusement park admissions, even special printed beverage napkins that escaped being used. This is a good activity to do each year around their birthday. Many craft stores have scrapbook supplies available with precut designs, page backgrounds, etc. that can be used in designing pages. This is a good rainy day activity.

How can I reduce craft mess?

Sticky Situation

To lessen glue mess during crafts, try pouring white glue into an empty baby food jar, and give your child a paintbrush to paint glue on. This is easier for kids than squirting, and it makes much less of a mess.

How can my child make a homemade gift?

Gift Wrapping Made Easy

Have young children make their own gift bags by having them decorate brown paper bags with handles. Let them have a blast with paints, crayons, markers, etc. It is cheaper than buying wrapping paper, and each bag is unique and personal.

What is an easy family craft?

Build Your Own Bird Feeder

A fun and easy craft to do together - simply gather pine cones, and spread a mixture of equal amounts of peanut butter and cornmeal on them. Then roll in birdseed, tie on a piece of yarn and hang from a tree. Kids love watching birds feed on their own creations.

How can I reduce craft mess?

Mess-Free Painting

To eliminate painting mess, white plastic tubs placed in the sink work very well. Kids can paint in their tubs, standing on a chair at the sink, and their artwork shows up really well on the white tub. When they are finished, simply rinse out the tubs.

How can I include the whole family in my photos?

Get Mom in the Picture

If you take a look through your family photo albums, you may notice that there are very few pictures of Mom (or Dad) in them - whoever does the picture taking. If this is the case, your kids are truly missing out, as they will not have any photos of you in your prime. Be sure to try and alternate being the photographer, and include yourselves in the photos. Also, schedule regular professional family photo sessions.

How can I make it easier to clean up my child´s paints?

Easy Paint Clean-Up

Before you give the paints to your kids, pour a small amount of liquid dish soap into the paint first. It doesn't effect the paint, but it makes the clean-up much easier.

What is a fun activity for young kids?

Edible Play Clay

Want some play clay that CAN go into those little mouths? Mix 2 cups smooth peanut butter, 2 cups rolled oats, 2 cups dried milk powder, and 2/3 cup honey. Let them at it!

How can I have a stress-free break away from the kids?

Weekly Refresher Break Ideas

Go shopping with a friend (without the kids along). Have a date with your spouse or go the movies with a friend. Dads may want to go fishing, hunting, or golfing. Just make some social time for you without the children in tow. You may want to get your hair done, a facial or massage, or maybe just sit quietly in the park or by a lake for a few hours and just enjoy the beauty of nature. It will help get some perspective back in your life. It is amazing how much clearer your thinking can be in a stress-free environment.

What is a homemade gift my child can make?

Handmade Card

To make a valuable keepsake, and an economical card, cut out around a child's fingerpainted handprint, and use as a card or label on a gift. This also make a great thank-you card for grandparents.

How can I spend quality time with my kids?

Escape Day Fun

When life gets too stressful, have an Escape Day. There are no rules on Escape Day, except everyone must have fun. Eat when you want, take off your shoes and go wading in the creek, climb the lookout tower, swing on the swings, etc. In short, have fun with your kids and be a kid again yourself. Sometimes we forget how good it feels just to swing. After a day out in the fresh air enjoying nature, you'll be better able to cope with life's pressures. And your kids will appreciate having that special time with their parents.

How can I make it easier to bake with kids?

Easier Kid Baking

To make baking with kids easier (and more enjoyable), pre-measure the dry ingredients for your favorite recipe. Eg) flour, baking soda, sugar, oats, choc. chips, for cookies. You can store these ingredients in a jar or plastic container for future use. When the time comes, you only need to add butter and eggs. There will be less mess and your child can pour all the ingredients in himself.

How can I spend more time with my spouse?

Peace, Love and Happiness

Take a 10 minute vacation every day with your spouse. Wake up a half hour earlier than your children each morning, and invite your husband or wife downstairs for a cup of tea, or a quick bite to eat, or for a creative together-activity that shows your love or allows you to do something just between the two of you to start your day.

How can I reduce craft mess?

Less Mess for Your Artist

A great way to make painting less messy and to reuse old baby bottles is to use the bottles as paint jars. Simply cut the tip off the nipple (make a hole large enough for a paintbrush to pass through), and fill the bottle with paint. Then put everything back together with the nipple inverted. The bottles are less likely to spill, and the nipples remove excess paint from the brushes.

How can I have a stress-free break away from the kids?

Weekly Refresher

Set aside a time each week for yourself when you can be alone or do what you want to do. Don't feel guilty for abandoning your children. The break will do both of you good. You will have had the opportunity to renew yourself emotionally and they will have an opportunity to see that they can survive without you for a few hours and maybe even enjoy it. You will come back refreshed and better able to tackle the daily stress again. Every one needs a break now and then, so give yourself one, even if only for a few hours a week. A happy, relaxed parent is much better than a stressed-out parent. You and your kids will be much happier.

How can we spend family time and help others?

Put A Little Back

A wonderful way to spend some family time together can be by working together to help others. Here are a few of the possible ideas to try as a family: visit a nursing home, do a walkathon, make baskets for needy families, or bake a cake for a sick friend or neighbor. You and your kids will be better because of it.

How long will our family pet live?

Average Pet Life Spans

If you are considering purchasing a pet for a child, you will need to first decide whether you are looking for a short or long-term commitment. To help in your decision, here are some average life spans of common pets.
Cats - 12 to 16 years
Dogs - 10 to 14 years
Gerbils - 3 to 5 years
Goldfish - 10 to 25 years
Hamsters - 1 to 3 years
Rabbits - 5 to 10 years
Parakeets - 15 to 18 years

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Guru Spotlight
Patricia Walters-Fischer