Is less screen time for the kids on your list of New Year’s resolutions? Sure, there are apps, videos and programs that are educational. But, sometimes you’re just looking for a different activity that gives your child a break from staring at the screen and gets them moving around.
We’ve put together a list of some activities that are not only fun, but where kids can learn through play.
With nothing more than some chalk and either a bike, scooter (or, simply yourself!), an obstacle course is a fun way for kids to be creative and get some outdoor play.
For younger kids, draw straight lines to hop over, or curved lines for them to follow. For older kids, add extra obstacles (like cones or even small stones) to maneuver around. If you have a group of kids, create side-by-side obstacles and have the kids complete the course in a relay style race (just make sure to leave enough space between the two obstacles so kids aren’t crashing into one another!)
Puzzles are fun because they come in all shapes, sizes and designs and with a variety of
difficulty levels, you can choose the challenge you’re ready for. We started with smaller puzzles, then worked our way up to ones with more pieces. Once you’ve set up a place to work on a puzzle, it’s an activity that can either be done with a small group (working on a puzzle together promotes team work), or independently (great quiet time activity).
New to puzzles? Here are some tips:
– Start by flipping over all the pieces to show the puzzle design
– Find all the pieces with a straight edge and first assemble the frame
– Sort remaining pieces by grouping pieces with similar colors or patterns
– Check thrift stores – people often donate unopened puzzles. We snagged a few really nice ones for about $1. Feel free to try a donated (opened box) puzzle – just know, we’ve tried some and got to the very end realizing a few pieces were missing. 😪
Rock painting is a fun hobby that provides a creative outlet and relaxing fun for all ages and skill levels. And, after rocks have been painted, you can really have fun and decide where you want to place the rocks for others to find. We’ve heard from many rock painters that they especially like this part of the activity because it gets them outdoors and exploring parts of their neighborhood or city they may not have otherwise explored.
If you want to add an extra element of fun, try adding a GoRock ID to your rocks. When someone finds one of your rocks, then can visit GoRock.com and enter the ID. You (and, the rock finder!) will then be able to see on a map where that rock has traveled, giving you a newfound appreciation for geography. GoRock also shows you the distance a rock has traveled – we do the math for you so you can see how far some of these journey! Also, rock finders have the option to share a message – perhaps how that rock has inspired them, or a funny story about how they stumbled upon it.
New to painting rocks? Here are some tips:
– Check out our post on How to Get Started Painting Rocks – it covers everything you need to know to get started
– Make sure you have the right rock painting supplies. We’ve tried many and these are some of our favorites.
– Want to see on a map where your painted rocks travel? Join GoRock.com and add an ID to your rock. We show you how in this post How to Track Your Painted Rocks with GoRock.com.
Make a day of it and explore a nearby park. Or, simply send the kids into your own yard for some time exploring and documenting with a camera what they find. Just be sure to scan the surroundings and make sure it’s safe – for example, keep an eye out for poison ivy or take special care if nearby a road and watch for cars.
Easily tweak the challenge level based on the age of your child.
For younger kids, you can include items like:
– something green (the grass, a plant, etc)
– something smooth (a stone, the bark of a tree)
– something long (a branch or twig on the ground)
For older kids, add items like:
– something shaped like the letter “Y” (a twig)
– an insect
– animal tracks
When they return, review the photos they’ve taken and ask them why they chose each item. It’s fun to hear their answers and to view the photos from their perspective. Who knows – you may even discover you’ve got a little photographer on your hands!