Is your kid a tough customer to please? Struggling to find things to do with kids?
Look no further. In this article, we’ll go over some of the best activities for kids, what makes them great, and how to figure out other fun activities that your child will love.
As a parent, your role is to help your child become a full human being that can find things to entertain themselves. To accomplish this goal, you’ll need to carefully pick the activities which give your child growth opportunities rather than merely something which spends their time. Keep an open mind when you’re hunting for activities – sometimes the least expected activities are the ones that can teach your child the most.
Without further ado, let’s discuss why picking the right activities is critical to your child’s development.
Why Activities Matter
If you don’t go out of your way to pick activities for kids, their default activity will be to watch TV or use an electronic device. While there’s nothing wrong with a limited amount of screen time, making it into a habit leads to a sedentary lifestyle which isn’t healthy mentally or physically for your child.
Being conscious about picking the right activities for kids is essential, but you can’t simply pick activities without your child’s approval. Your child’s preference for activities isn’t static, however. As the parent, your intervention can shift your child’s favorite activities if you happen to find a new one that they like.
Good activities will grow your child’s brainpower and self-esteem. Undesirable activities will eat up time and resources without providing anything beneficial in return – even rest. Most of all, good activities populate your child’s life with pleasant memories, which improve the quality of their life and their well-being. Strive to keep your child occupied, but not too busy to think. Downtime is a necessary activity, too, even if your child only has time for a little.
You should find a set of activities for your child that they can do at home on weekdays, and another set that they can do outside or on weekends. Weekend activities can take much longer, but also be more memorable. In contrast, the daily activities that you set your child up with are the ones that will be turned into habits. The activities which your child does every day are likely the ones that will have the biggest impact on your child’s life if the activities teach skills or expand your child’s abilities.
Save the deeply engaging and complicated activities like going out to concerts or for a walk around a new area for the weekend. Your child will have the energy to appreciate their new surroundings much more than if you were to try to take them to these events on a weekday when they’re already tired out from being at school by the time you can do things with them.
Activities At Home
You’ll need a large stable of activities for when you and your child are at home. Fun things to do at home include arts and crafts, playing an instrument, and playing cards. These are very broad categories, however. If your child isn’t into painting, give sketching a try. If not sketching, perhaps making collages is the thing your child will love. Encourage your child to try out a lot of different activities without judging the results of their attempts. They may not think that their creations are beautiful or worthwhile, but it’s the effort of exploring that needs to be built into a habit with positive reinforcement.
Likewise, if your child doesn’t take to the guitar, perhaps they’d be more interested in singing or playing the tap shoes. Just because an activity is indoors doesn’t mean that it has to be sedentary. You may want to discourage your child from performing overtly athletic feats indoors at home, but if you have a gym area, it might be the right choice.
Remember that indoor activities are an excellent opportunity for your child to grow their mind – that opportunity doesn’t exist as much in the outdoors, so make the most of being inside.
Indoor activities for kids like reading a book are great chances for your child to build their life skills under your watchful eye. Activities that aren’t usually associated with kids like meditation or pottery can be excellent introductions to stuff your kids wouldn’t get to experience on their own until much later in life. Getting a head start on the techniques can put your kids’ years ahead of their peers thanks to the new perspective that performing these activities provides.
The genre of book that you offer to your child matters, too. Most children won’t naturally take to nonfiction unless they’re taught to find it interesting. Picking the right fiction books is also challenging because of how many different types of fiction there are. The best option is to talk with your child about what they like, and then experiment.
Other activities at home might include limited screen time projects that encourage your child to build research and critical thinking skills. It’s important to remember that even if your child finds these projects engaging, they shouldn’t be used 100% of the time because they’re not very relaxing. Your child needs time to be engaged, but also time to de-stress and do something that isn’t as active. Especially at home, you may want to have a rotation of activities for every energy level and mood that your child may have.
It’ll take a while to assemble the set of activities to the point where you’re always prepared for your child’s moods, but the results will be worthwhile.
Activities for kids are often very active, which makes them ideal for the outside. The outside activity that’s right for your child will depend on your child’s physical capabilities and age. For physical activities that are tougher to learn, like swimming, you should probably enroll your child in a class so that they learn the correct way under a watchful eye.
For simpler outdoor activities like hiking or jogging, your child may need to start with a very limited level of activity. These activities are best performed with your child accompanying you on a hike or jog so that you can teach them the ropes and set the pace such that they are comfortable.
Other outdoor activities include music concerts, walking around a new area, visiting the zoo, hitting the playground, or riding horses. By exposing your child to many new activities, you’ll be widening their perspective and giving them ideas for other things that they might like to do either now or in the future.
As always, pay attention to your child’s reactions when you propose an idea and also when you’re doing the activity with your child. Eliciting direct feedback from children may be helpful, too, but remember that children often adjust their thoughts to be what they think will please adults.
You can also bring many indoor activities outdoors if you’re interested in helping your child to get some sun. Reading a book or playing music outside can be doubly enjoyable as inside. In fact, if you can teach your child just to enjoy sitting outside and watching people or appreciating the weather, they can take the contentedness with them elsewhere in life, which is a bonus.
Outdoor activities can help the community, too. Picking up public areas, visiting the ill, and feeding the hungry are all excellent ways to teach your child life lessons while building discipline and social consciousness.
Make sure that your child can help rather than simply spectate when it comes time to do community service. The difference that a child can make is huge, provided that they’re engaged. As with many other activities, making community service into a habit is an excellent way to set your child up with a great habit for life.
Community service can be a little bit challenging for some children, however. Make sure that you find the right community service opportunity that lets your child contribute and puts them slightly outside their comfort zone but allows them to retreat to the familiar relatively soon.
As your child gains experience with other people, you can move the challenge level of the community service activity out a little bit more. Eventually, your child will feel comfortable pitching in amidst all kinds of people, and they’ll be ready to be a good citizen when they grow up.
No matter which activities you and your child settle on, make sure to stay consistent. Building mastery and gaining the excellent personal growth that comes with mastery is only possible with applied effort over the long term. Your child will thank you when they grow up if you have taught them the ever-valuable skill of self-entertainment.