It was past midday on a Saturday and Dan** had just finished setting up a fort in his balcony to play with his four-year-old son. Now that he spends his entire time at home, he has to juggle his professional responsibilities with raising a small child, all whilst being inside four walls. He faces the challenge most families are now meeting: how can you spend quality time with your children, comply with your own responsibilities and keep some time for yourself?
“I think the trick is to give yourself (and your child) some time on your own. The most challenging aspect right now is trying to ensure you get your own personal space.” Dan’s right: in a different scenario, where people go out to work and kids go to school, it is a lot easier to ensure this. But as Laurie Santos, a psychology professor from Yale University stated in a BBC interview, not having a regular schedule makes this harder.
Co.Ser’s pillows are cushiony, adorable and paintable.
“I try to wake up early and sleep late, and dedicate specific times of the day for him. Also, I give him as much space as possible, and tend to only interfere when he needs me. And when we play, we play.” And maintaining some kind of daily structure plus a sense of personal space and time helps ensure an air of normalcy. And normalcy, right now, is very important.
Following this thought, spending time with your children becomes key. It’s an opportunity to create closer bonds that will help everyone’s mental health. Now, the internet is buzzing these days with constant activities to do with your kids. But remember what Dan said: you need your space. And your children need their space too.
Louise Tyler, an accredited counselor, states that separating your spaces and setting times for playing and bonding are helpful. “Do the best you can to have a set area in which to work that you walk away from at the end of the day. (...) Keep work as separate as possible.” Keeping a separate space for work allows you to mentally shut everything work-related once your day is over.
Now, when it comes to play, what kind of activities can you do? Should you just go insane with high-energy activities? Well, not really. Again, this is about bonding. You can go creative and plan ahead, while still attempting at keeping a balance.
Now… ready? This is our list of fun things to do with kids.
Coloring books for kids... with a twist
It’s an old classic. Sometimes the simplest activities can be the most entertaining. Why? Because there are so many ways of bending the rules with them. Andrea, a mom of two, likes to re-enact the scenes they’ve just read together. Adding voices, noises and gestures to the story adds another layer of complexity to what you are reading.
A coloring book version of Yazmin Ross and Ruth Angulo’s wonderful tale of a cheeky monkey.
“Coloring neatly within the lines can only entertain a child for a while.” But if you change the materials, opt for only a specific set of colors or find new ways of telling the story you’ve just read - suddenly a coloring book for kids becomes a lot more interesting. It’s a way of creating an adventure with what you have at home”, says Andrea.
A Fort Guarded By Critters
Of course you did a fort when you were a child. And of course, your mom freaked out every time you did them. They are chaotic, disorderly and great fun. There is an odd pleasure in taking out all the bedsheets and pillows you have and finding the perfect spot in the house to make a tent. Having all your child’s stuffed animals looking out for any intruders is a nice touch, too.
Forts, however, are a handful. “I couldn’t do this every day”, Dan says. “This is something to do on weekends, once work is off my mind.” Even if you’re at home and time seems to become irrelevant, having a weekend (or something similar to it), helps you plan leisure activities accordingly.
More Fun Things to Do With Kids? Anything DYI
You can go baby steps on this one. It’s not like you’re going to involve the entire family painting your own pottery set. First, not everyone in your family may enjoy crafts and second, it can be messy and time-consuming. We really prefer making crafts out of things you find in your house. A good example of this is making origami boxes out of scrap or leftover paper.
An important aspect of this approach to DYI is the possibility of finding a new meaning to objects you once viewed as disposable. It not only encourages children to get creative with what they already have, but also avoid over-buying and over-spending.
* Special thanks to Dan and Andrea for providing their stories and tips.
** Interviewee’s name has been changed as per his request.
You can find fun things to do with kids in our Kid’s Section. If you’re still looking for things to do, you can also take a peek at Kid’s Activities Blog. Navigate our categories or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions!