Cook. Housekeeper. Teacher. Referee. Being a parent can be frustrating at times, especially when spending weeks on end inside … together … with kids … and pets … and each other. It’s time to listen to the advice of parents through the ages: “Why don’t you go outside and play?”
When inside activities turn into downside boredom, it’s time to get outside for some fresh air and fun. To help out when the well of ideas runs dry, we’ve put together some suggestions that might just help you power through another week or two or four with the family.
First up, the adventurous and interesting. We’re talking about everything from scavenger hunts and geocaching to obstacle courses.
We all know what this is. Make a list (or use ours!) of things you see around your neighborhood. Make it as easy or as challenging as your kids (or you) can take. Go along for the ride or tell them to go it alone. Make it a contest with a small prize (E.g. ice cream sundae, extra screen time) or just for fun. Whatever you end up doing, just be sure to follow the safety guidelines of your hometown.
No clue what this is? You’re not alone. You can learn more about it on Wikipedia, but it’s basically a technology-enhanced treasure hunt. While this might be ideal for the older kids, little kiddos will fun this super fun to do with mom or dad. Download an app and find additional instruction on one of the largest sites for geocaching.
SIDEWALK CHALK OBSTACLE COURSE
For many parents, sidewalk chalk is a great tool for kids to express (relatively quiet) creativity. But they can also activate that creativity (and burn off some of that pent-up energy) with a sidewalk chalk obstacle course. Start here. Hop on one foot there. Run in a squiggly line and then do 10 jumping jacks. The combinations are truly endless. The stamina, on the other hand, might not be. Let the imagination run wild or get some inspiration from this pink-loving bundle of energy.
With 30 minutes of activity under their belts, the kids are certainly worn down by now, right? Right?! Right. Even with all that fun in the history books, there’s always more to do. And while creative activities can get the juices flowing, don’t forget about those that have withstood the test of time.
Buckle up the helmet and hit the road or sidewalk or multiuse path. Wherever you choose to ride, the freedom of a bicycle is always welcome relief from staying home. Stuff some water, snacks and a blanket in a backpack and head to the park. It sounds simple because it is! Which is also why it might not be obvious at first blush.
KICK A BALL
Depending on what country in which you live, soccer might not be the most interesting sport to watch (except when your own kids are on the field). But a uniform truth is that kicking a ball around for a little while can be fun for anyone. Whether it’s soccer or a quick game of kickball, grabbing a ball and heading to the backyard can kill a little time along with a little boredom.
Scavenger hunt – done. Obstacle course – check. Bike riding – yep. It’s time for a break and a trip back in time to when kids (and adults!) had time to lounge on their backs and stare at the clouds. That one looks like a dog. That one sort of looks like an elephant. That one with the gray poking out of the top sort of looks like your mother. Yikes! Sorry. In any event, take a break and let a peaceful mind wander. Bonus points to the gazer who finds one that looks like a heart.
GET TO WORK
So, you’ve tried to have fun. And you’ve tried to relax. But everyone is still feeling a bit restless. Well, it has come to this, hasn’t it? Time to put the kids to work.
WASH THE DOG
While these days you might be going a day (or two?!) between showers or baths, the poor old pooch regularly goes for … how long?! Wow! But no judgment here. Really! We mean it! In any event, Lola or Lune or Cooper is probably due for some scrubbing. Get out the garden hose and, preferably pup-friendly soap along with your pint-sized staff to get down to business. Don’t forget the towels … for everyone. It’s a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it!
WASH THE CAR
While your car is probably about as lonely as your office chair right now, it’s likely collecting dust. And as long as you’re washing things, why not grab that garden hose again, a bucket and some suds to freshen up that Ford? While when you’re all said and done, your little helpers may not have quite the technique of that detail guy down the street, you just might have had a little fun in the process.
WATER THE YARD
Did you know that some people out West wash their cars (and dogs) in the yard to water the grass while getting things clean. Such is life in the arid parts of our fair country. If you’re not out West or otherwise didn’t think of driving a two-ton vehicle on that manicured lawn, tell the kids to go old school and water the lawn manually. With sprayer in hand, wander from corner to corner applying an even amount of water. Or, better, yet, stick your thumb over the end of the flowing tube and send those kids off screaming. They’ll have fun and you might just get a little relief from your own cabin fever.