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9 Things to Do with Your Kids Just for Fun

Enjoy time and experiences with your kids for no good reason. Just have fun!

9 Things to Do with Your Kids Just for Fun: Enjoy time and experiences with your kids for no good reason. Just have fun!

I confess. I’m a pretty serious mom. I like quiet. I get anxious if I haven’t fulfilled my work obligations. I get a little twitchy when the house is a wreck. As if the all-seeing eye is looking down on us and judging my homemaking skills. Some of this is good. It’s good to be responsible. Irresponsible is bad.

However, on the flip side, it’s good to have fun. It’s particularly good to have fun with your kids. Just because.

A few weeks ago we went to Legoland. It’s NOT my favorite amusement park. Disneyland is. I realize that part of this is simply an emotional attachment to rides, architecture, characters, and childhood experiences. I do not get as jazzed about California Adventure as I do about the one and only, original Disneyland. Sometimes, you just gotta take one for the team. The kids had a great time at Legoland, and even thought it’s not my favorite, I had fun because they were. That’s worth something.

One of the things that I disliked greatly as a child, is that my dad would justify an experience or a treat by saying, “This is for your birthday” or “Count this as an early Christmas present.” That was so annoying. Why did we need a reason? (Sorry, Dad.)

My take-away is not to be bitter, but to do better, to do things just because they are fun, and good, and make my kids happy. (And like I said, I’m not one to overdo this kind of thing. My default is “No.”)

If you’re at a loss, as I often am, to do things “just for fun,” consider this list of good things that kids enjoy:

1. Play a game.

If your house is anything like ours, you’ve got plenty of games you could play. Like the woman at the fabric store who buys more material than she can sew, I buy board and card games in the hopes of more screen-free time together. FishChick’s favorite is The Lady Bug Game. She is game for a game any time, night or day. Puzzles are good, too. Check out this list of great games for families.

9 Things to Do with Your Kids Just for Fun: Enjoy time and experiences with your kids for no good reason. Just have fun!

2. Watch a movie.

We are a movie family, unabashedly so. Especially if there’s popcorn in the mix. We have some longtime favorite family films as well as a list of classic Disney films that I’m working through with the littles. We also collectively add stuff to our watchlist on Amazon. Amazon Instant Video has become our go-to source of films since I don’t have to return the movie. I’m lazy like that.

Currently, we’re in a challenging stage to find movies that are appropriate as well as interesting to children ages 5 to 52. Please leave your recent recs in the comments!

3. Cook something together.

I cannot set foot in the kitchen without a little girl appearing magically at my side, “Whatcha making?” Heaven help me! I have helpers. The truth of the matter is that all the kids would be happy to make messes in the kitchen, if the girls would only let the boys have some elbow room!

Cooking together is a great family past-time! Try pizzas, cupcakes, chocolate bananas, or smoothies for easy, kid-friendly recipes.

9 Things to Do with Your Kids Just for Fun: Enjoy time and experiences with your kids for no good reason. Just have fun!

4. Talk about their favorite subject.

I’ve found that car rides and shopping trips are ideal for talks, particularly with reticent teens. But, be patient and wait. Ask questions and listen. Your kid will be thrilled with the one-on-one.

Stuck for conversation? Ask about their favorite things. I take notes so that they know I’m listening and care.

5. Go out for a treat.

Treats are a big deal around here, particularly if sugar is involved. A favorite option for the FishKids is to get a one-on-one date at Starbucks, complete with drink and baked good. It makes them feel more grown up and gives them time alone. We also do whole family Starbucks dates when on road trips and when we get our Christmas tree. Yes, really.

9 Things to Do with Your Kids Just for Fun: Enjoy time and experiences with your kids for no good reason. Just have fun!Easy Chocolate Buttercream

6. Say yes to their next five requests.

I don’t know about you, but saying yes doesn’t come as easy to me as saying no. Saying yes usually surprises my kids and literally makes their day, even if the request is really small. I need to get better at this Yes-Mom stuff.

7. Eat dessert first.

Forget supper. Have dessert first. Make homemade magic shell and pull out all the sundae toppings; make apple crowns; let the kids pile fruit on skewers and call it dessert. Whatever you make, it’ll be fun. And the kids will be thrilled. A little excess sugar once in a while is okay.

9 Things to Do with Your Kids Just for Fun: Enjoy time and experiences with your kids for no good reason. Just have fun!

8. Plan an outing to the park, the beach, the hills, the lake.

Chances are your kids will enjoy getting outdoors and it’s good for everyone, really. Pack up some snacks, water bottles, and sunscreen and get out! Check out this list of 30 ways to get outside with kids.

9. Hit the amusement park.

I’m not sure I’ve ever met a kid who didn’t like going to an amusement park. They can range in price depending on where you live and what discounts you have available; you can do amusement parks on the cheap. The aforementioned Legoland trip was part of a field trip where tickets were $8 per person. We couldn’t afford that outing otherwise. We’ve cut corners to save on Disneyland trips.

If you can swing it, see how you can visit your local amusement park and just have fun with your kids.

Whatever you do, it doesn’t have to be expensive. Some of these suggestions may be once-in-a-lifetime events but others could be regular occurrences, if we put our minds to them.

What do YOU do with your kids just for fun?

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Comments

  1. Love this post. I think that often we focus on how to get stuff done. I love a reminder to go with a tangent and have some silly fun. I think I might throw in a silly choice day to our summer “schedule”.. Thanks!

  2. My girls love to entertain. Simply inviting friends to enjoy meals with us is a treat for them, especially for holidays. Today we invited three adult friends who live alone to join us for Easter dinner.

    They also love to have their friends from school over to the house. Sleepovers are the BIG treat, but having a friend over for even a couple of hours to play on a Saturday afternoon is all it takes for a weekend to go from ho hum to great.

    For my girls the fun of company starts before they ever arrive. They really enjoy planing meals and treats, selecting activities, decorating the table, etc. My challenge is always making sure the planning does not get too ambitious.

  3. I need to get better at saying yes. A lot of times I say no without even realizing what my daughter asked me, or said, no is just an automatic response. This is an area I’m trying to work on. Saying yes to the next 5 may be hard to do with Easter candy in the house though, lol.

  4. You asked for movie recommendations: When we were little, my parents loved to show us older movies. For example, we saw a lot of old Disney live action movies, such as Pete’s Dragon, or we would watch classic movie musicals, such as Singin in the Rain. Some 80’s movies might work well, maybe “Neverending Story” or “Labyrinth”? Admittedly, I haven’t seen either of these in a reeaaally long time, so I’m not sure if they would be appropriate for a 5 year old.

    • This is what I was going to suggest too! I have gotten my 8 year old daughter hooked on older movies and TV Shows. Swiss Family Robinson, Pollyanna, Fiddler on the Roof etc plus The Cosby Show and currently Little House on the Prairie. Granted, I only have to please the two of us. No men or teenage boys, but still older movies can often bring great entertainment without a lot of the inappropriate content we see today.

      • The male/female thing is a challenge. But, what’s funny is that my daughters get bored of Pride and Prejudice, but my boys love the humor in it. Might be the age….

    • I did some research about those Classic Disneys. I was pleased to find out that so many were available digitally. http://lifeasmom.com/2014/02/favorite-classic-disney-films.html

  5. To get my kids talking (& thinking) we play an unofficial game I call “I see, I wonder.” All you do is say, “I see a __________ over there, I wonder __________.” My kids are little but it really gets them talking and their imaginations flying. I hope that as they get older it’ll be a way to work in bigger kid topics (“I see a car going way to fast, I wonder why they’re in such a hurry.”)

  6. Thank you so much for posting this! I can very much relate with you on this & have been trying to be less serious as a mom. Thanks for the gentle push, i needed it. Love your blog too.

  7. Two movies my kids enjoyed were the original Karate Kid and all of the Back to the Future films.

    • We did the original BttF, but there were a few extra bad words that the kids didn’t yet know. This was a few years ago when they were little. Is there much language in KK?

  8. Snuggle, marbles, chess, watch Disney frozen movie, eating dinner and dessert together, helping with homework, watching them play in the yard, camping, watching them getting married, going to church together, watching the 4-h princess run, graduation, I could go on and on but don’t want to bore you!

  9. greenmtn_mommy says:

    We have 4 kids 6yo and under: 2 boys, 2 girls and another little girl due in September. I tend to keep movies/screen time down to special occasions “family time” (or those days Im ready to have myself committed to the “loony bin” and just need 5min peace hehe) mostly because trying to find something that is neither a “girl” or “boy” movie is grounds for war in and of itself. Haha
    Some of our all time favorites are “Milo and Otis” (On HULU), and “Cirque De Soleil” (This one is on Netflix/watch instant….but might be available on Amazon too…..). My kids also are IN LOVE with broadway musicals gone film (Phantom of the Opera, Hairspray, Rent etc.) But some cam be a little racey and require either some careful editing/distraction or serious conversation if they are older. :)

  10. greenmtn_mommy says:

    Oh! And I am currently trying Oh so hard to make the “yes-mom” switch. So often I default to saying no without even realizing what they even asked me for/to do. My strategy at the moment is to get them hooked on open-ended, independant activities that are age appropriate and FUN for all 4 of them (surprisingly this is more difficult than it sounds as our oldest is 6 and youngest is 18 months). Sidewalk chalk dipped in a bowl of water has been fun, “eye spy” walks/bike rides around town, simple card games (go fish, uno etc.)……we have also recently started working on a “Monthly Newsletter” that we will mail out to grandparents/family that liveout on the West Coast. My 6yo writes articles about what they are doing at school/current events. My 5yo draws “funnies” and silly “want ads”. My 3yo helps pick out the photographs to go with articles and maybe contributes to a special interest article (for example a photo-tutorial on making our favorite snack etc. Where she choses the recipe and poses as the model).

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