This post was originally published on March 2, 2019, and updated for accuracy.
When it comes to finding ways to entertain kids and stimulate their minds, I know, it can be difficult. Especially if you are a busy parent, defaulting to throwing the TV on just seems like the easiest, most hassle-free thing to do. But if you’re looking for new ways to keep them entertained and engaged, these tips may be of use to you. They’ve helped me find many kid-appropriate games and projects.
One of the best ways to start, when coming up with activities for your kids, is to ask yourself these questions:
What type of activity do I want them engaging in?
Is this activity just to occupy their time while I get dinner ready?
How do I get them to actively learn?
I find that starting here can really help you narrow down your activity search. Once you’ve found the type of activity that best suits your kids and your situation, it’s time to move on to the fun part: actually creating the activity!
Now, what is the one thing that all kids use every single day, but as adults, we seem to have forgotten about? Getting stumped? Well, it’s our imagination! That is the number one way to entertain kids and stimulate their minds.
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How to Entertain Kids – Brainstorming
Imagination can be such a powerful tool, especially when you are trying to get to your kids’ level of creativity.
Think up a silly game that gets your kids going by encouraging them to join in on creating the project. I am sure if you tell your kid to think up a game that involves X, Y, and Z, they will be more than excited to and will already have the rules laid out for you before you finish making dinner.
Not only will this be a fun experience for both of you, but they also get to practice cognitive and social skills, which are invaluable and aid in their ability to adjust in school and other group settings when they are older.
Another way to come up with a great game for your kids to play or projects to dive into is by looking at inspiring and multifaceted places on the internet such as Pinterest.
Pinterest is a great resource for posts, just like this one, geared toward helping you out when you need it. On your Pinterest profile, you can create a board dedicated to only children’s games or kid’s activities and craft ideas. And if you have the app on your phone, you can pin posts about children’s activities on the go. That way when you need it most, you have a lineup of games and projects in your repertoire ready to go.
Now that you’ve read this far, you don’t think I’d let you go without a few suggestions, right? Then keep reading, because here is a short but fun list of activities that will be sure to engage your children and keep them entertained.
1. The ABC Game
This classic game doesn’t require any props. This is a good one if you’re taking a long car ride somewhere and your kids start to get bored and restless from sitting so long. Take their minds off their boredom by having them play this game.
Start with the beginning of the alphabet, the letter A. Then continue with this phrase: my name is [name that begins with A], my wife/husband’s name is [name that begins with A], we live in [place that begins with A], and we sell [something that begins with A]. Then continue throughout the alphabet, taking turns on each new letter. This game is fun yet challenging, because your kids have to think of places and things that start with their particular letter.
2. Minute to Win It Games
These are fun games that require a little more thought and a few more props. Ever heard of them? The game can be as simple as making a mummy!
Grab some toilet paper and have each player try to wrap one of their teammates up like a mummy. Whoever gets the most done in one minute wins! These games are easy because they fast-paced, and if there are a lot of people, it can get pretty exciting with everyone rooting for their teammates.
The mummy game is just one example of a Minute to Win It game. There are so many more out there, or you and your kids can use your imaginations to create your own Minute to Win It game.
3. Beach Ball Math
Cover a beach ball in numbers, one number per colored section. Toss the beach ball back and forth. Each time your right thumb lands on a number, add it to the first number called out. Set a timer, and see how long it takes to reach 100! Depending on the age of your child, you can increase the difficulty of the game and apply different math skills such as multiplication instead of addition.
4. STEAM Projects
The idea with the STEAM projects is to foster kids’ creativity while also engaging children with the world around them. That includes sustainability and nature-based activities.
You can get your children engaged with STEAM projects in several ways. One of my favorites is the Green Kid Crafts science and craft for kids. Created by STEAM experts, these subscription boxes for children ages 2-10, not only bring a series of hands-on activities to drive creativity but support children’s development.
Kids will learn through play and develop critical thinking skills through inquiring and innovation.
After reading this post, you are now a master of creating games! I hope you feel better equipped to think up games on the fly, especially keeping in mind that there are many resources out there that you can use to aid in your search for a fun yet stimulating game for your child.
The most important thing to keep in mind when creating a game is to know your intent and not to be afraid to get silly and have fun with it. Your kids surely will, so join them!