via NEW KIDS-CENTER: If you want to have fun with your kids and want to spend quality time with your family, then the following family activities are ideal for you. Not only are these family activities a great source of enjoyment for all involved,butit gives you a chance to get to know your kids better and to interact with them more openly. Such activities can help in forming a strong bond between family members. It does not matter where in the world you liveengaging in family activities can give you a great deal of satisfaction.

Eight Recommended Family Activities

1. Record a Family Video

Ask theelder members of the family to share their life experiences with the kids and record them on a video camera while they are sharing their stories. These videos are going to become a source of knowledge for the children and willeducate them about life and can be regarded as their heritage as well. They can motivate the kids and give them a sense of pride. You can also ask the family members to conduct interviews of each other and record those on tape. These sound bites can serve as a precious time capsule for your family.

2. Work Together in the Garden

Get the whole family to work in the garden. Plant some seeds into a patch of soil and ask all the family members to join in and help you in taking care of the small plants. Assign the tasks for the kids and parents, so all of them will get to participate in nurturing theseedlings as they grow up. This activity will help children in learning the important lesson about loving nature and would, as well as giving them immense pleasure and joy when they watch the seeds turn into beautiful flowers and plants.

3. Cook Meals Together

Have the children join you in the kitchen and cook a meal with you. It will be a fun exercise for the kids and they are sure to enjoy it a lot. Eating meals that you have cooked together always helps in fostering a strong bond among family members and also gives you a chance to communicate freely with your kids. This is why psychologists recommend families eating their meals together.

4. Watch Movies Together

Watching movies together with theentire family is also an activity that can strengthen ties among family members. You can watch movies picked either by you or your children. The idea is to enjoy a movie with the kids and to discuss the important lessons that the movie teaches. Remember to have some popcorn ready when watching the movie and make sure that the movies are family-oriented and can give some sort of a message to the kids. Movies, likeToy Story 2, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, How to Train Your Dragon, Hugo, A Bug’s Life and Spy Kids, are some of the movies that you can watch with your kids.

5. Reading and Painting

Reading a favorite book together is also a great way of uniting family. Pick out a story that is loved by all the family members and ask one of members to read it aloud. You can take turns to read the story as well. You can also ask the children to paint and makeself portraits. Give the children paints and colors and let them loose. You can always join them while they are making it and help them in creating the perfect portrait. After they have finished, hang the portraits on walls, telling everyone how artistic your kids are.

6. Go Camping

Going on a camping trip with kids can prove to be a great exercise which brings all of you together and strengthen the bond between you and your kids. Remember to brush up on your story telling skills before going on a camping trip so that you can keep your children entertained. With so many apps available to you on your phone, you can also educate your child about the natural wildlife while on your camping trip.

7. Take Exercise and Do Sport Together

Exercising and doing a sport together is a great way of spending quality time with your kids. Not only will it help you in keeping your family fit and healthy, but it will also provide a fun activity that you can all participate in. It can offer you the chance to teach some important life lessons to your kids as well. You can play any kind of team sport that the entire family is interested in, such as going for a bike ride if you and your kids are into biking.

8. Play Some Games

  • Board Games

Board games like Checkers, Scrabble and Monopoly can be ideal family games that you can play with your kids. They can help you in keeping your children entertained and improve their strategy skill, word building and money skills, etc.

  • Q&A

Invent interesting questions about your family’s likes and dislikes and write them down on card paper. Write the answers of these questions on the backside of these cards and begin the game. The person who answers the all questions correctly wins.

  • Kick the Can

This is a fun game in which more than four people can participate at once. One child has to kick a can and count till a hundred while the other hide. Then the kicker has to search for them after setting the can straight. The gameends when all the hiding people are captured by the kicker.

  • Scavenger Hunt

Going on a scavenger hunt is also a great game that you can play with your kids. The items of the scavenger hunt can be anything and the reward can be a dollar or any memorable items.

via lovetoknow: When you are out at a family picnic, playing games together can be a great way to foster bonding, encourage positive family interaction, and have some fun together. If your picnic area has large, open, flat areas of land, plan some games of skill that are fun for all ages.

Human Ringtoss Truth or Dare

This super active game is great for larger families to play together. Families are split into two teams, with a minimum of 10 players in total. All that you need for this game are 10 hula hoops, or one per person. The object of the game is to successfully throw your hula hoop around one of your teammates, who has volunteered to be the human ringtoss. Whichever team gets all of their hula hoops on their teammate first gets to ask the other team to answer either truth or dare. Each team member will need to answer the question or participate in the dare activity.

This game is great for all ages and makes for an entertaining way to enjoy a large family gathering. It is great exercise and always makes for a fun time after a picnic.

Red Light, Green Light Family Trivia

This fun game is a twist on the classic Red Light, Green Light. Prepare three to five family trivia cards per participant prior to heading out for your picnic. One person plays the role of the traffic light, noting “red light” for stop and “green light” for go. The other participants stand facing the traffic light and move according to the traffic light’s commands. The person playing the traffic light turns around when giving the “green light” command, and the other players attempt to tag the traffic light. Whoever tags the traffic light first must correctly answer a family trivia card selected by the traffic light in order to take over the position. If not, they must move back three steps and the game continues.

This game can be played by kids of all ages, in large groups or small. It teaches great listening and rule-following skills. It also burns a lot of energy, so it is great for families looking to exercise or tire out rowdy little ones.

Would You Rather Hot Potato

This fun game takes just a little bit of prep. Purchase a beach ball and blow it up. Come up with 25 to 50 “would you rather” questions and write them all over the ball. You can play this game similar to catch, where everyone gets a fair amount of turns, or you can make it more challenging by incorporating hot potato rules. Using a timer or an hourglass, toss the ball around as quickly as you can. Whoever drops the ball or catches it when the timer runs out must answer one of the questions.

This game is fun to play with kids who are seven and older and works well in groups of at least four. This is a funny way to bond with members of your family while sharing lots of giggles together.

Chubby Bunny Dice

For this game, you will need two dice and a few bags of large marshmallows. The object of the game is to roll a matching set of dice. If you do not roll a matching set, you place one marshmallow in your mouth. The person who ends up with the most marshmallows in their mouth loses. The best part of this game is that losing tastes really good!

This is a great game for kids of all ages – under the proper supervision since dice are choking hazards. If you are playing with younger children, feel free to have them pair up with adults.

Hula Hoop Charades

For this activity, you will need at least one hula hoop per team. This game can be played in groups as small as six, but you can also enjoy it with a larger group. Split the teams up evenly and give each team a hula hoop. Whoever decides to go first on each team will meet with the game master to get the same charade clue. The game master will announce when the game has started, and whoever is acting out the clue must do so while hula hooping. If the hula hoop drops, you do not get the point.

This game is great for kids and adults of all ages. If you are playing with a really young child, you can alter the rules allowing them to do another activity with the hula hoop while they act out their clue. An adult or older child on their team can also sub in for them with the hula hooping aspect.

Glass Half Empty or Full

To play this game, you will need one plastic cup per person, a few jugs of water or access to a hose, one large bucket per team, and one blindfold per person. You can play this game in groups as small as eight, but it’s extra fun in larger groups. Split the teams up evenly and assign two team captains who will be stationed at the large water buckets. Give everyone else a cup of water filled about halfway and a blindfold. The object of the game is for the blindfolded teammates to successfully make their way towards their team captain without spilling any of their water along the way and emptying their glass into the team’s large bucket. Team captains are encouraged to shout helpful instructions to their teammates. Whichever team ends up with the most water wins.

The game can be played by kids and adults of all ages. To make the game progressively more challenging, you can have the blindfolded teammates carry the water with one hand, with their mouths, and with just their arms. Little ones can play without the blindfold but can engage in a tricky activity like hopping on one foot, skipping or walking backwards towards their team captain.

Scavenger Hunt Candy Crush

This is a great game for those who have a sweet tooth. You will need a few bags of large marshmallows, five large cups per team and a prepared scavenger hunt list. The scavenger hunt can be made easy or difficult depending on the ages of the kids playing. Split the teams up evenly and set up the cups in a line near each team. The object of the game is to complete your scavenger hunt before the other team does and successfully launch one marshmallow into each cup using only your mouth.

This game is great for kids of all ages and can be played in groups as small as four, with two on each team. Enjoy the leftover marshmallows as a sweet treat or bring s’mores supplies for a late night picnic snack.

Brainy Balloon Toss

To play this game, you will need one blown up balloon per person, a timer and trivia cards appropriate for the age group. Split the teams up evenly, and appoint one person per team as the trivia card reader. Each team will get one minute to answer their trivia questions, and they must keep all of their balloons up in the air while doing so. Whoever answers the most questions correctly wins. If any balloons drop, the team loses the rest of their time to answer questions.

This game works well for kids of all ages and can be played with beach balls to make it more challenging. If the kids you are playing with are really young, bring along some alphabet cards or animal recognition cards. Adults or older kids can be in charge of keeping the team’s balloons up in the air while the youngest member answers questions.

Don’t Drop the Ball

This game requires one ball per team and a timer. This can be played in groups as small as six. Split the teams up evenly. Starting off, each team will be positioned closely together and will toss the ball to each other for one full minute without stopping. The other team gets one opportunity, after the 30 second mark, to give their opponents a challenge. This might include jumping up and down, closing your eyes, running in place, or spinning in a circle while still trying to catch the ball. Teams can get creative about the challenges they want the other team to do while throwing the ball to each other. If the team drops the ball at any time, they are not awarded any points. After each round, the other team will get the opportunity to come up with challenges for their opponents while they toss the ball to each other.

This game works best for older kids but can be tweaked for younger children. If you are playing with really little ones, you can have them roll the ball to each other or have them stand closer together while tossing the ball.

Classic Games

These games have been around for a while because they are so much fun! These are great to play in small or large groups, and can be enjoyed by folks of all ages:

Horseshoes – All you need for this game are two stakes about 20 inches high and four metal horseshoes. Two teams of two players take turns tossing the horseshoes toward the stakes. Points are awarded for the horseshoes that are closest to the stake.

Croquet – This game requires a croquet set and is great for two or more players. This game takes a fair amount of coordination, focus and patience, so it would be best to play this with children who are 10 and older.
Hide and Seek – This favorite game can be played by groups large and small and with children of all ages.

Family Fun

Keep your family’s customs and preferences in mind when planning outdoor games. Bring music along or enjoy the sounds of nature. Playing games at a picnic is a great way to connect with your family and have an awesome time together!

via lookwerelearning: Is there anything on earth better than chocolate? *thinks for a minute*

Yeah, I’d have to say no.

So when it comes to making learning fun, I love the idea of adding chocolate to the mix!

I thought these fun chocolate craft ideas and activities for kids would be a neat way to give winter learning a little “sweetness”, so I’ve rounded up 25 different resources below that kids (and their parents) will love! There are chocolate crafts, chocolate sensory play ideas, chocolate-themed printables, and even chocolate science experiments below to explore!

Want even more chocolate learning fun? Don’t miss our list of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory craft ideas that go wonderfully with the book or the movie!

1. Pick up some free Chocolate Notebooking Pages for the kids!

2. Combine snacks with science experiments in this fun Hot Chocolate Science activity!

3. This adorable Cookie Jar Number Matching printable is so cute for chocolate chip cookie lovers!

4. The kids will love exploring the touch and smell of this No-Cook Chocolate Playdough!

5. Even toddlers can make art with this easy Edible Chocolate Paint!

6. This Pom-Pom Hot Cocoa Mug Craft is just too adorable!

7. Kids will get a kick out of eating these Snowy Chocolate Pinecone Snacks. They actually look like pinecones!

8. Let the little ones make their own cocoa with this DIY Hot Chocolate Bar!

9. This simple Puffy Paint Chocolate Chip Cookie Craft is a fun art project to try!

10. We’ve made oobleck before, but I’ve got to give this Chocolate Oobleck a try!

11. Get some early math practice with this Hot Chocolate Ten Frame Addition printable!

12. Introduce the kids to engineering with these easy Hot Chocolate Marshmallow Sculptures!

13. Grab these Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Notebooking Printables to complete as you read the book!

Via Today: ‘What does your child do?’: What to consider when choosing activities for kids

“What does your child do?” Do? Ummm, he plays a little, sleeps not enough, smiles at me, and has a lot of bodily functions that I’d rather not discuss here in line at the grocery store. What in the world did this mom-acquaintance mean what did my 9 month old “do?”

I hadn’t been living in a cave… well, I had actually, the call room at the hospital where I was a third year medical resident was underground and pretty dark. In any case, I just didn’t realize that there was such pressure to enrich babies! That was thirteen years ago, and I’ve learned a bit since then. There are a million “classes” in which even babies can be enrolled.

Signing kids up for activities is a great idea, but also can be overwhelming for many parents. So, how do you know what to pick and when? These three questions will help you in the process.

1. How old is your child?

  • Up to age 2 or 3 most kids do best in a grown-up-and-them class.
  • If it’s a solo experience for your child, don’t expect them to love the idea right away.
  • Buddies help in the preschool years, and beyond
  • Involve your elementary school and older kids in the plan. Give them experience figuring out how much and what they can do.

2. What’s the schedule?

  • Don’t overbook your kiddo! “Downtime” is great for kids — they do their best learning during unstructured time, at every age. A lot of good comes out of relaxing, finding your own fun, having the freedom to join a game in the building or the neighborhood or just learning how to bust boredom.
  • Pay attention to your child’s routine. No matter how great the class is, if it falls during nap or mealtime there’s a good chance it will be an epic failure.
  • Put your family’s priorities first. It’s great to protect dinnertime, or to make sure that everyone is around for family movie night.
  • Think about homework. I wish kids under high school didn’t get homework, but they do — so don’t set your child (and you) up for stress by taking away all the time she needs to get it done and still get to relax a little.

3. Which activity should you pick?

This is the hardest — and most fun — question you’ll face!

  • Try not to force it. Most of the time, there is nothing to be gained by signing a child up for something they don’t want to do. Learning happens best when kids feel optimistic and engaged. So make sure you pick from a list of activities your child at least thinks she wants to try!
  • Consider your values. Having seen a family at football practice who didn’t believe in violent contact sports, it’s clear that a child’s desire to try something shouldn’t become more important than what the parents believe is right or wrong. Just practically speaking, if your kiddo falls in love with an activity that you think is damaging, that’s not going to be a successful experience for anyone!
  • Think about the life lessons. Will a particular activity teach your child perseverance? Teamwork? Flexibility? Problem-solving? Patience? Music appreciation?

And one last piece of advice: Aim for average!

Parents experience a lot of pressure to get kids “on the right path” if we want them to excel at something. There is no way to know, and no reason to care.We look at three year old bodies and minds, trying to figure out if this is a dancer, a ball player, a violinist, a linguist… We listen to our friends’ kids successes and think “My child should already be doing THAT!”

Most of our children will never be Olympians or stars. Let’s choose activities based on what they can do for our child, not what our child can do in that activity. When you look at a class or team or club, ask yourself…

“What if he was never great at this? Would it still be worthwhile?”

If the answer is yes, and he’s interested, sign him up!