You don't have to shell out loads of cash for zoos and museums to have a good time with your kids.
You can make your own fun right at home!
To get your little monsters off the couch and into some quality-time activities, here are just 14 ideas for everyday fun.
1. Bake Some Desserts
If your child isn't quite old enough for full-scale cooking projects, they can still give you a hand when it comes to whipping eggs, kneading dough, decorating cookies, and arranging cupcake liners. As a bonus, they'll love sneaking tastes of their yummy, self-made creations.
2. Build Your Own Water Park
You don't need a big backyard pool to splash around with your kids. As a matter of fact, they might have more fun with a simple lawn sprinkler or slip-and-slide. It'll create an afternoon of hair-shaking delight, and it'll help you beat the heat of summertime, too.
3. Camp Out in the Backyard
This is particularly fun if you have a fire pit that can simulate a campfire. Pitch your tents, get the flames roaring, and bring out the hot dogs and S'mores. Tell ghost stories with flashlights under your chin. Stretch out on the grass and name as many constellations as you can.
4. Host a Treasure Hunt
Spice up a dull afternoon with a homemade treasure hunt, by scattering various clues, riddles, and treats around your house and backyard. Then unleash the hounds you sometimes call children. They'll have a blast trying to figure out where you hid the "treasure," and it will keep them from spending the whole day in front of the TV.
5. Take Daily Selfies
This can be a fun, year-round project for you and your child. Maybe you take goofy and giggly candids in the kitchen every morning; maybe you take full-body portraits in front of the house to show off your school and work clothes for the day. You'll be spending time with your child no matter what, and at the end of the year, you can gather all of your pictures and create a scrapbook.
6. Build a Fort
Give your kids permission to use anything in the house for their fort. You'll be surprised at how creative they can get when they're not limited to the usual boxes, sheets, and pillows. Once their fort is built, climb inside together and swap stories or tell jokes.
7. Blow Up a Volcano
There are a number of science projects for kids, that can be performed with basic household ingredients. The "vinegar and baking soda volcano" is a classic, but you can also get wonderfully messy with "static electricity and balloons" or "invisible ink made out of lemon juice."
8. Get Bubbly
Bubbles have come a long way from the sad plastic wands that dominated your childhood. Today's bubble-blowers can be bought or even created in all kinds of shapes, sizes, colours, designs, and textures. You can also create your own "bubble recipes" with sugar and glycerin for different effects when they pop.
9. Crack Open a Book
Literacy is one of the greatest gifts you can give to your child. Quality time is another. It doesn't matter if you're starting off the day with an adventure book or sending them into dreamland with a fairy tale; the most important thing is that your hearts and voices are mingling as you bond through reading.
10. Make Your Own Movies
Put on your director's hat for a day and make some home movies. Camera equipment is nice but not essential; most smartphones come with video-recording capabilities, and you can find plenty of free editing software online. All you have to do is convince your children to be your stars. When's the last time they put on a play?
11. Make Music Together
Toddlers can bang on pots and pans. Young children can play their school flutes and triangles. Teens can bust out that guitar they've been hoarding in their bedroom to feel cool. Who cares if you don't sound like the Partridge Family? It's the spirit of fun that counts!
12. Pop Some Popcorn
There's a reason why "family movie night" is a time-honoured tradition in so many households. Not only does it bring everyone together, but if you play your cards right, you can sneak in some couch-time snuggles even if your child insists they're too old for them.
13. Make Arts and Crafts
From papier-mâché flowers to homemade noodle bracelets, there are many ways to spark your child's creativity through arts and crafts. Just gather things like crayons, beads, strings, ribbons, pipe cleaners, and popsicle sticks and let them go to town. This can be an especially engaging activity on a rainy day when everyone is stuck inside.
14. Start a Business
This is a great way to bond with your kids and teach them about economics at the same time. Lemonade stands can be thrown together in a matter of hours, and they'll be quite proud of their money-making abilities when the final cup is sold. If you've been baking together, you can also sell some of your homemade cookies and brownies!
These are just a few ways to have fun with your kids in the comfort of your own home. At the end of the day, they probably won't remember the specifics of what you said and did. But they'll certainly carry fond memories of spending time with mom and dad.