Have you ever asked yourself whats most important: quality time or quantity time? According to research the answer is somewhere in the middle; kids need both. Research also shows the most important learning in the early years is provided by human interaction and not found in objects or apps on an iPad or smartphone.
If the research is correct, children need quality time, quantity time, a wide variety of experiences, and parens need to participate in those activities with them–whew! It’s not always easy, and it takes deliberate choices to create the moments that will nurture your children. Just know the time you invest, and the laughing, sharing stories, and building memories will be worth it.
Here are some ideas to get more quality and quantity time with your kids:
Enjoy an indoor picnic. Spread out a big blanket in the living room and make PBJs or finger-food favorites. No ants at this picnic!
Talk in questions. Have a conversation only speaking in questions. First one to use a statement loses!
Cut out paper snowflakes. Fold construction paper as many times as you want and start clipping away. Hang them in the window.
Play Cards. All you need is a deck of cards and you can play Go Fish, Memory or Slap Jack. Or create a new game.
Work It Out. Be the instructor of your vary own exercise class. Show the group your favorite activities!
Scavenger Hunt. Everyone loves a scavenger hunt. Hide simple objects around the house. Give them clues on where to find them.
Party. Have friends and family over for games and laughs. Get some juice, pop and popcorn for easy snacks.
Board Games. Break out the old board games like Candyland, Sorry or Monopoly. Swap teammates to keep it interesting.
Puppet Show. Find some old socks to make your own puppets. Decorate with markers or sew on eyes and put on a show for the family.
Reading. Take turns reading a favorite book. Use different voices for each character and let the laughter begin.
Play beauty parlor or car wash. Fill the sink with water so the dolls can get a fresh look or the cars can get a shine.
Take turns face painting. Grab some non-toxic paints and a few brushes. Use stencils or freehand your masterpiece.
Learn something new. Pick a topic, such as airplanes or trains. Look up 10 interesting facts and present your report to the family over dessert.
Make bookmarks. Cut out a rectangle from felt and decorate. Be creative – use gems, buttons and stickers.
Plan a trip to the moon. Use your imagination and make a packing list and schedule of events. What will you do there? Who will go with you?
Make Kool-Aid play dough. Combine 2½ cups flour, ½ cup salt, 1 tbsp. cream of tartar, and a packet of Kool-Aid drink mix. Add 2 cups boiling water, 3 Tbsp. oil, and stir to combine. Let the dough cool and shape away!
Go for a winter walk. Bundle up and take a stroll around the neighborhood or in a local park. Pick up items on nature’s floor, such as acorns and pine cones, then make a centerpiece for the table when you get home.
Do a good deed. Surprise a neighbor by bringing them cookies, or sweeping their front porch.
Make an original jigsaw puzzle. Cut out a page from a magazine. Mount the picture on poster board or used cereal box and cut into various shapes.
New placemats! Start with a large (11×17) piece of construction paper. Pick themes such as “My Favorite Things,” and cut out pictures from magazines that you glue all over the sheet, making a collage. Laminate using clear contact paper.
Use this list as a start to create your own fun winter boredom busters that are sure to guarantee quality time with your children!