Fun at home with the kids
Fun at home with the kids
It’s been tough being cooped up because of isolation and social distancing. However, one positive from all this has been the fun at home with the kids.
With a little bit of effort and creativity some of you have created some fun things to do at home to help the time pass and make some wonderful memories. Memories your children will cherish forever and we’re sure you will too.
At Backyard Leisure Guys we are all about fun with kids and creating magical memories. So much so that we have created a forum dedicated to parents and children.
We aim to share your stories and ours and hope that they can inspire and encourage others to do the same.
A complete guide to having fun with your kids
As a starting point you’ll probably have to work with what you have at home or at least the space that you have in the garden.
But with a little creativity, we’re sure you can make most of these ideas work. You’ve got this!
There are so many stay-at-home activities that you can do with your children, working together, cooking together and even doing odd jobs around the house can be fun, if you plan and make them to be engaging for the children and inclusive.
That means don’t just ask the kids to watch you load the dishwasher or washing machine, get them to follow you step by step, in small doses, but join you and partake in the activities.
Anyway let's start with some activities that will help you make the most of the outdoors whilst the weather is good.
How you can have fun outside with your children
Go on a Nature Walk
Get outside and enjoy nature together, whether it’s a neighborhood nature walk or a proper hike. Bring back a few nature treasures* for a spring nature table, some nature art, or to make flower sun-catchers.
How many flowers and plants can you name? Perhaps you may need the walk with the kids and a little FYI - when the children grow up and reminisce, these family activities are the ones that they cherish the most.
You can involve ball games but that will depend on your children as individuals, but a great way to tap into those games is by what sports are trending on TV. Did someone say ‘football is coming home?’
Additionally, you can encourage your children into athletic activities like sprinting and jogging, perhaps take them with you if they're old enough.
Parks have become a bit of a dynasty of the past, and sometimes it can seem like you're forcing your childhood onto your children, but picnics and just playing in the park in most weather conditions is an incredibly powerful tool to your children's development.
A social study led by the Royal children society found that an active childhood form children boosts their social skills by as much as 45%.
As a bonus point here is a guide how to teach your kids some fun learning activities as well.
So how can I have fun with my family at home?
Start a Garden
Whether you have a balcony with just enough space for a few pots or a large backyard, now is the perfect time to start planning and preparing a garden. Grow flowers or vegetables or both!
Choose your spot, amend the soil, and plant some seeds or starts. Watching things grow is wonderful for all ages!
For book inspiration, I recommend Sharon Lovejoy’s book, Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots: Gardening Together with Children.
If you want to order seeds online, try John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds.
P.S. While you’re outside, trick out your backyard for extra fun.
Create Backyard “Rooms” for Comfort & Privacy
Give kids a feeling of privacy and intimacy for their play. Your yard may already provide this with nooks, corners, or trees (think a weeping willow hanging down to create a secret room or a climbing tree for older kids).
But you can also create “rooms” by adding shrubs or trees, a trellis, an umbrella or canopy, or some sort of fort or hideaway.
Some other ideas for creating spaces:
- A Bean pole teepee (We’ve often had a bean pole teepee in the past and the kids are asking for one again this year.)
- Or a Fabric teepee
- Sunflower house (on Let’s Lasso the Moon)
- A DIY Playhouse
- An Old tent
- An Umbrella or a shade canopy
Every child I know is home from school for the next few weeks and possibly longer, with various levels of quarantine or “shelter at home” restrictions as well. And instead of the usual vacation plans, summer camps, or play dates that many of us have when we’re off school, we’re home with fear, at-home learning packets, and stockpiles of toilet paper.
Our first priority is keeping our families safe and healthy, of course.
You must also ensure you are creatively having active fun with your children, In the back garden, or the front lawn and the park. There is so much you can do to have fun in the back garden.
And the lovely thing about the garden is you can carry on with your own work or chores and monitor the kids from the window. Especially if they have some entertainment.
You can install a bouncy castle, a trampoline and fun house and so much more so you can manage your day and ensure your kids are getting the most out of their time at home.
On a side note, garden activities are suitable for a wide age range of children, so it's a great way to get your children to spend time together and play together without having to force the eldest to play with the youngest.
But I’d also like to help kids and parents get through this unprecedented situation with as much FUN and CREATIVITY as possible.
How to Set Up a Kid Friendly Backyard for Active Play
How to set up a kid friendly backyard to encourage active outdoor play. And 11 key elements to consider for your outdoor play space, such as sand & water, privacy, toys, and plants.
It can feel like a big job turning the outdoor space at your home (whether it be a backyard, front lawn, patio, or deck) into a space that makes your kids want to go out and play! We’ve found that a space that is a blank slate, like a flat lawn, can be tricky to entice kids to play with, and can even be depressing for us to look at!
But turning your outdoor space into a kid-friendly, frequently used space for active play doesn’t have to be a big job. It doesn’t take a lot of time, energy or money to make a yard fun and appealing to children.
And we all know how important play is, right?! Mister Rogers got it right when he said that play is the work of childhood.
Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.
Outdoor Art & Creativity for a Kid Friendly Backyard
You know we are all about art and creativity, whether inside or out. Sometimes we do art outside, just because it’s so nice out and anything we do needs to be outside.
And sometimes we do outdoor art activities that are best suited to the backyard, because they are big or messy projects or they involve nature or outdoor equipment. A garden loom, shown above, is a fun way to create art in your yard, and at the same time creates a defined space.
We keep the kids’ easel on our covered porch for extended periods in the warmer months, or we sometimes take the easel to the backyard for a big en plein air painting experience, or just a change of scenery.
A Kids’ Garden
Any kind of garden that a child has ownership of is a wonderful experience. Watching a seed grow into a plant (and then into a fruit, flower, or vegetable!) is a magical learning experience. And an exercise in responsibility, all at once.
I encourage any parent to give children their own garden space, whether in a pot or a small plot in the ground––and the support to help make it a success.
Some easy, kid friendly plants include: strawberries, peas, carrots, radishes, cherry tomatoes, and beans. Your kids might not like to eat all of those (yet) but they will love to grow and harvest them.
This is a no-brainer. Bubbles are magical and fun for most children. They also arguably provide the biggest bang for the buck when creating a kid friendly backyard.
We’ve tried all kinds of wands, machines, and bubbles and they are all a big hit. We’ve even made our own beaded bubble wands! We especially like the larger multi-bubble wands and a never-ending supply of homemade bubble solution in a pie dish or shallow bowl (it’s easy and cheap to make a big batch).
Kid Friendly Backyard Toys
Basic childhood toys, such as balls, hula hoops, jump ropes, and stilts, are great for simple, active fun. One of our favorites, though, is a set of activity cones which are fabulous for open-ended play as they can be used in so many different ways. They are perfect for setting up obstacle courses, made-up games, and races.
A trampoline is another backyard element that you may want to consider. Our large 15 foot trampoline has been well worth the investment and doubles as a backyard room. The kids play there every day and it’s the play-date hangout of choice. (Or you might try a mini trampoline that can be moved indoors or outdoors).
OTHER FUN FAMILY ACTIVITY IDEAS TO DO TOGETHER
PLAY A CARD GAME. Oh card games rock! … ( mini articles ) with excerpts inserted here
VISIT THE BEACH. I love the beach as a family trip. ...
GO ON A PICNIC. Packing the picnic basket is part of the fun, so get the kids involved. ...
GO GEOCACHING. ...
GO TO THE LIBRARY. ...
HAVE A STAY-CATION. ...
GROW A HERB GARDEN. ...
EXPLORE A NEW PLAYGROUND.