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30 Free Activities/Games for children

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A lot of adults and children nowadays are unable to have fun without “something”, people just can’t seem to occupy themselves without some sort of technology or toy.

I have made a list of games and activities I liked as a child and/or my children enjoy, all of which are free and involve only what you can find or local services which are free of charge.

Have you got any others you can add to the list as I know there are plenty more.

Chase

All my children love this and it’s also a good one to get your child moving when they are being a slow coach. Whenever I need my children (especially Puppy) to speed up all I have to say to hurry her along is “I’m winning” and she instantly starts giggling and running. You can also play tag, Izlles loves this game and plays it everyday before school and even his sisters join in.

Wave at cars on a bridge

This is a classic activity that all children like. You can make it educational by counting all the beeps, waves or flashed lights you get, even the colours of the cars. For older children you can look out for the different types of cars.

Count the steps

When ever you go up stairs why not count them out with your child? Ok it doesn’t last long but it helps them to learn their numbers, and my children can repeatedly go up and down stairs just counting them!!!

Simon says

This is a good activity to improve children’s listening skills. It is also good for burning off some of their excess energy. You can either get involved with this game or you can play it saying the instruction with one eye on the children while doing something else around the house, multitasking yay.

Stop, go game

My children love this game while walking/running to school. It is also a good game to teach children where to stop during a repeated walk. To play you or your children need to do what they are doing normally, but when you say stop they must stop immediately and not move until you say go. This can cause a lot of laughter as my children always start doing silly things and pulling funny faces.

Scavenger hunt

Either make a list or say let’s see who can find a red car? Once it’s found, lets see who can find a brown leaf. We also play this as the ABC game. We start with A then find something beginning with every letter. This is our go to travel game, and yes we have managed to get every letter!!!! (Ok the X was a model of car but it still counts!!!!)

I spy

For younger children you can play I spy something coloured red.

Take a walk

A lot of family have just plain forgotten of the enjoyment of a simple walk, it’s quality time together and your getting exercise and fresh air to boot.

Pull funny faces at each other

I get my girls to do this to each other while I’m doing their hair as its the only way I can get them to keep their heads still!!!

Clap hands

Do you remember playing this as a child? I do, I could spend all play time singing songs while clapping hands in all sorts of different ways. Think back to your childhood and teach your children something of your happy memories.

Sing nursery rhymes/songs

So many people don’t sing together, whether it’s because they are self-conscious or another reason. But in all honesty children don’t mind how you sound they just love to sing and dance. We are always singing in this house and to be honest it gets on my hubbies nerves as I make songs up!!! 

Visit the park

I don’t know of any children that don’t love the park once they are there. It’s a safe place for them to let off steam and energy, as well as encouraging social development.

Play fight/tickle fight

This is normally a game my hubby plays with the children. They all end up on the floor with hubby being sat on by the children while they desperately tried to tickle each other.

Pooh sticks

As simple as throwing sticks into a lake/river and see who’s stick wins. This can also be done with anything that floats. It’s a classic simple game as told in Winnie the Pooh, hence the name.

Visit the library

Library’s are more than just books, most library’s have things going on, like story time, singing time and my local library even has colouring sheets and pens, my children love visiting the library just to see what’s going on.

Make loud noises

Sometimes children just need to be loud. You can help to control this by adding loud time to your day. Why not all roar like lions, trumpet like an elephant or have a screaming competition, just let it all out.

What am I?

You can play this game 2 different ways. First for younger children , give them clues, verbally and/or physically. And for the older children you can get them to ask you questions and you answer yes or no.

Make up a story

I have previously posted about this here. 

Make daisy chains

Unfortunately for me my eldest children aren’t interested in making these as they can’t sit still long enough. Posy is slightly to young for this as she keeps breaking them so looses interest.
But I have fond memories of making daisy crowns, bracelets and necklaces when I was a child.

Jump in puddles or leaves

You are never to old for this past time, it’s fun and keeps you active. See who can make the biggest splashes or bury each other in leaves.

Accronym game

This is a game for older children. Think of a saying and just give the initials, the children have to guess what it stands for like what does BT stand for? Children have to guess, bed time. MITB, mummy is the best. You can work in themes to make it easier like country’s.

Shadow puppets 

See how nimble your hands and fingers are by seeing what you can make. Turn it into a game by guessing what each other are making.

Charades

The classic game of acting out the total of a book, movie or tv series, why others try to guess. If you haven’t already introduced this game why not give it ago.

Creeping mice

One person has to be “it” and facing away the others who are lined up. They have to be creeping mice and try to creep up and touch the person who is “it”. The person who is “it” periodically turns around and if they see anyone who moves they have to go back to the start to try again. A very simple game which I spent hours playing as a child. 

Make shapes/pictures out of sticks and other things you can find.

Does this really need explaining?

Find shapes in the clouds

Another simple activity which a lot of people over look, this develops imagination and language skills, plus quality time with your children so look up to the sky and start thinking.

Follow the leader

Can you do what I do? This game is a classic for making giggles, I don’t think my children can play it without having fits of giggles.

Hold your own sports day

Have running races, find a stick so you can have relay races. Who can jump the highest, furthest? You don’t need equipment to have a fun sports day.

The yes/no game

Whatever is asked don’t reply with yes or no. This is a lot harder than it sounds!!!! How quickly can you get them to say yes or no?

I went to the shops

Have you ever played this? Well it’s quite simply really you tell a story about what you get from the shops. I went to the shops and I got…..

Now you can either use numbers or letters like I went to the shops and I got an apple, I went to the shops and I got bananas, I went to the shops and I got some chairs.

The only rule is you have to repeat what the previous people had said before you before you said yours, just like a long shopping list. This is great for memory and with children involved you end up having a funny list as you go shopping for elephants, monkeys, and toilets!!!

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Children

5 Tips To Help Structure Your Teaching Approach For Your Home Schooled Child

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Home schooling can be a lot of fun, especially for both children and parents who are tired of the traditional way of educating a child in a prototype format.

It does not however, necessarily mean that if you opt to home school your children, you can teach your child whatever you want to teach and do whatever you want to do.

Like the formal method of teaching in schools, home schooling is also a process that parents have to learn and understand in order to provide their children the benefits of the program.

Hence, parents who have decided to home school their children but do not know how to format an overall plan in order to come up with the best structure in teaching their children, here are some tips that that might help you:

1. Knowledge about the benefits

It is important to know the reasons and the benefits for which you have opted to home school your child. 

Once you are aware that you and your child are more benefited in home schooling than the usual type of schooling, it would then be easy, for you to a make a curriculum that both you and your child will appreciate.

2. Have a goal and devise some motivations

It is better if you outline your goals at the outset. Identify what you want to achieve with your children as well as for yourself. Doing this you will be inspired and focused while teaching. Your goals act as your guide in formulating the necessary approach to teaching.

3. Determine a budget

Many parents think that since home schooling provides a cheaper means of educating their children, it’s alright for them to spend on expensive books, in spite of other cheaper options. 

Home schooling materials are indeed, important in order to provide the best teaching methods. However, it does not always mean that you have to overindulge your children.

Set a budget for your home schooling program. Many items on the Internet could help you to come up with the best strategies and methods without too much expenditure. 

4. Know your child’s capacity to understand and the way he learns things

Though many home schooling programs and methods are available on the market today, nothing comes close to perfection in providing your child the best education if you do not know how you and your child should go about the program. This can only be done easily if you are familiar with your child’s style of learning.

You have to identify the curiosity level and interest of your child in order to decide on the best approach to teaching that would motivate your child.

Why most children do not excel in school is because the method of teaching is inappropriate to their interest and level of curiosity. Hence, focus on this aspect is necessary.

5. Communicate with your child.

Communication with your child helps you identify the things that bother them and the areas where they need improvement. Most parents are so focused on providing their children the best education that they forget that the best education that they could provide is to listen to their children’s needs and from then guide them however they can.

Most parents forget that the essence of learning is based on the child’s wish to study. Usually parents have the tendency to push their children into the direction that they think would be the best for them.
By this, the children wind up miserable because the things that they need, are not provided simply because their parents failed to understand their children.

The teaching approach in home schooling compared to the usual method used in the typical schools is that parents should concentrate on the child’s learning style, interest. Parents should have the ability to understand what they want to learn. Only by this method can they teach their child in the best possible manner whatever is necessary.

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Children

Why are kids picky eaters

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There are multiple factors on why a child may be a picky eater and it depends on your child’s age. Dr. Carson offers up these three reasons as to why kids can be picky eaters:

Exerting Their Independence

Kids coming into their “terrible twos” want to exert their independence. They like to say “no” which is a healthy developmental stage. Food is one way that they can declare their independency.

Children pick up right away that you can’t make them eat. Dr. Carson recommends parents implement strategies to deal with their child’s independence with food.

  1. Don’t let your child see that you are upset and worried. If the child sees a reaction then they realize they have received the upper hand. When that happens do not get worried. Stick to what you want to feed them. It is okay if they don’t eat it. Find one food they like and have it on their food plate for each meal.
  2. Take a back seat to food battles. If your child doesn’t eat it, try introducing that food to them again at another time. Dr. Allen Schwartz, M.D. (In Memoriam) also from Children’s Healthcare Medical Associates and over 32 years of pediatric care, once told me that so many families just don’t have family meals together any more, we have all gotten so busy, so when you do have a family meal, he suggested, keep it positive. There is no need for food battles at the family table. He said to establish your food “rules” before you sit down to eat.
  3. Don’t cook around the child. If your child doesn’t like their meal, don’t make them a special meal. Dr. Carson admits that cooking a around your child is a terrible approach and gives the child control.

Sensitivity to Textures

There are lots of explanations for a child’s sensitivity to textures such as variations different than the “normal swallowing” and the struggle with too thin or thick foods. Also those kids who are autistic or have developmental problems also have a challenge with healthy eating patterns. Find textures they like. If they don’t try it at first, reintroduce at a later time. Try taking foods they like and adding it to food they don’t like and augment accordingly.

Reaction to Food

Your child might have a milk, protein, or nut products allergy. If your child eats foods that they are allergic to it can create an unpleasant reaction. They might have gluten sensitivity. They might be sensitive to acidity and citrus foods.

As an example, when I was a child I would gag on applesauce and would not eat apples. My mom would never force me to eat applesauce and would then offer me some other fruit. She didn’t make a big deal out of it. Later we found out that I am allergic to apples and to this day I still don’t eat them. Not even apple pies.

Some kids don’t like spicy foods. Some kids are also born with salt cravings or a sugary tooth. Dr. Carson advices parents to not build your family’s meals around your child’s unhealthy cravings.

This answer is part of Sharon Smith’s interview with Dr. Stephen Carson from Children’s HealthCare Medical Associates in San Diego, who has been a pediatrician for 33 years.

I don’t like to point fingers, but to be honest, I have to. In the vast majority of clients I see, parents are to blame for picky eating habits. There are some medical exceptions, but they are rare.

What usually happens is kids are enthusiastically eating and trying new foods from about 6 months to 1 ½ years old. Many parents agree it’s an exciting and enjoyable time watching with wonder as their kids move through different tastes and textures. And then…pickiness sets in. Kids start refusing certain foods or skipping meals and snacks all together.

What parents don’t understand is that at about 18 months calorie needs decrease so kids just don’t need that much food. Skipping meals and snacks is normal, but not to parents who saw their little one’s love for food for so many months prior. Because parents are not use to their kids refusing food, they panic. The panic causes parents to reach for any food the kids will eat. And this is why many kids develop into picky eaters.

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Children

Parenting Pro Tips 11 ways to drive your teenager nuts

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Today’s topic: how to drive your teenager completely bull-goose loony, in just a few simple steps (without receiving a phone call from Child and Youth Services or your local equivalent). We both have considerable experience in this matter, and have decided, out of the goodness of our hearts, to share it with you.

Why would you want to know how to drive your kid up a wall? If you’re asking this, you’ve probably never actually had a teenager. Trust us. At some point, you will need this information.

Okay, your kids may have already left home, but with a little creativity you can probably find ways to apply at least a little of what you’re about to learn, even if your children have long since fled halfway around the globe. So settle in, and get ready to take notes. There will be a test.

Friend your kid on Facebook.

No caption needed, really. We think the image says it all.

For some teens, this will be taken as an act of aggression, equivalent to hiding their iPhone or implementing the parental control setting on your TV cable box, such that they only have access to one channel: the Ontario Legislature Channel, to be specific. (Actually, this isn’t a bad idea, either. We might be speaking from experience.)

2. Once you’ve friended your kid, look around for his or her friends, and send each of them a friend request, too.

This works best if you actually know who your child hangs out with, but it can be fun to branch out, too. Friend everyone your kid knows on Facebook, regardless of who they are! After all, you want your kid to be popular, right? And when your teen’s friends see how open and welcoming her parents are, they will be unbelievably impressed. Your kid’s cool factor will skyrocket.

3. If any of your child’s friends reciprocate and friend you back (don’t laugh, it has happened), make sure you post on their Wall.

Post early, post often. Post things on your own child’s wall, too. You wouldn’t want your kid to think you value his/her friends more than him/her, would you? Exactly. Oh, and “like” everything your kid does. Even those pics of your kid barfing at last Saturday’s party. This is called “unconditional positive regard,” and all the parenting books recommend it. We do, too.

4. Some parents aren’t sure what they should post.

We suggest that you simply respond (in a sensitive manner, of course) to whatever issues your kid (or their friends) seem to be experiencing that day. For example, if your teen mentions that they found it hard to get up that morning, you could say something like, “Yes, Snookums really was a fuzzy-wuzzy gwumpy bear this morning, wasn’t he?” Your child will appreciate your sympathetic approach. Pet names are optional, of course, but they do help to convey your caring message.

5. Don’t forget: teens love it when we speak their lingo.

It shows them that we are real killer-diller hep cats. And kittens. So sprinkle your posts liberally with slang and text-speak. For example, let’s say you want to respond to a picture of your kid at a recent party. Instead of saying, “My goodness, son, you look like you were inebriated!” try posting, “Yo! Dude!!1! PARTAAAAAY!1!” This may not be English, but trust us, your kid will know what you mean. And will love you for it.

6. Deliberately mis-pronounce words that have only one possible pronunciation.

A favourite word to mess with is “psychological”, which, when you give it a little effort, becomes “psy-ko-logg-ih-cal“. When they say get annoyed and try to pronounce it the other way, look at them with pity in your eyes and condescension in your soul and reply, “but that’s not logg-ih-cal“.

7. Lie.

A lot. When a big holiday comes along, like, say, Easter, who would blame you if you sat inside your locked bedroom and ate all the chocolate eggs and jelly beans? I mean, you’ve had them hidden in your room for a week prior, you’re only human, you just wanted one…and next thing you know, your face is covered in chocolate, you’ve got tinfoil in your teeth and your tongue is every colour of the rainbow. Well, oops. Sue me. I ate them and I enjoyed every pre-diabetic moment of it. But now it’s time for the Easter Egg Hunt and the cupboard is bare. This is when lying comes in handy. Tell your little kiddies that the Easter Bunny’s flight got delayed and she’ll be coming tomorrow with her baskets of joy, not today. Once you’ve placated them, run down to See’s Candies and stock up again, making sure to buy extra just in case you, um, want more.

7.1. Lie to make your life easier. I read a good one the other day: when the ice cream truck drives through the neighbourhood ringing its bells, tell your child that they only do that to announce they’ve run out of ice cream.

This is brilliant in its simplicity and cunning. I’m surprised our mother didn’t think of it back when we were young.

8. Whenever your kids ooh and aah at someone else’s startling act of genius, like winning an Olympic gold, for example, claim that you won one as well.

The bigger the story, the better. How to ease into this fabrication: “Well, Johnny, I actually invented that lightning bolt stance when I broke the 9-second barrier at the 1934 Olympics in Timbuktu. It was written up in all the record books, you know and the government gave me free cheese for life.” This one works a treat as well: “Oh my god, it’s much more difficult than it looks, wearing that lingerie, stilettos, and those angel wings down the catwalk—do you have any idea how heavy wings are???” Kids love this. Trust us.

9. Make sure to vacuum their room early and often.

Don’t do it while they’re out, as they may not notice your efforts, and won’t have the chance to thank you properly. Rather, wait for the right moment, such as when they’ve been out late the night before, and the room smells like stale beer. While you’re vacuuming, it’s a nice touch to sing along with the vacuum cleaner. Kind of a “whistle while you work” thing. It’s easy: just open your mouth and go, “EEEEEEEEEEEEeeeeEEEEEEEEEEE…” as loudly as possible. We promise you, they’ll thank you for the clean living space. They may also offer you their allowance if you JUST. PLEASE. SHUT. UP.

10. On the dance floor, be the Parent With the Mostest by knowing all the words and actions to YMCA or The FunkyChicken.

If you feel ambitious, go look up the latest viral video on YouTube, Gangnam Style.

Doesn’t this look like a fun little dance move? You will definitely be Top of the Pops with your kids if you can nail this one. (Image from allkpop.com)

Your kids will be unbelievably impressed if you can emulate these dance moves—especially if you dress the part! Don’t be afraid to attempt a little air-guitar, either. Most kids will be riveted to the spot by your awesome moves. This is not the time for lip-synching. Sing loud, sing proud.

11. When the waiter comes to take your order at a restaurant, make sure you say in a plaintive but loud voice, “Mummy needs a liddle drinkie.”

Kids think this is quite hysterical, especially if it’s breakfast time. Don’t be surprised if they fall off their seats with laughter. This tip works, whether you’re ordering from McDonald’s or a 5-star Michelin restaurant. For extra bonus points, you can follow them around while they’re shopping in their favourite hip, happening places, wailing, “But [insert kid’s name here], slow down! Mummy needs a drinkie-poo!” This is sure to bring the house down.

If you follow these helpful tips, developed by us through years of hard work and diligence, you are guaranteed results of a spectacular nature.

It took us 30 years to perfect the ability of driving a teenager wonky—after reading this, you’ll be able to achieve the same positive results in just hours. You’re welcome.

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