Aug 8, 2013

Guest Post: Lazy Afternoon Activities with the Kids!

Today's post is a guest post from the lovely Claire Thomas!

Lazy Afternoon Activities with the Kids 

Hello Living Learning Eating readers! I’m Claire, I have two girls ages 6 and 5. I’m an avid craftie, foodie, and watcher of sappy television shows – especially Pushing Daisies. When I’m not picking out cute outfits for my daughters, I’m writing articles for the blogosphere about positive activities, crafts, and attitudes. We all know the feeling: it’s after lunch, eyes are drooping, and boredom is creeping its sneaky way into the whole family. As an experienced veteran of lazy afternoon fever, I have compiled a list of tried and true activities that will make those lazy afternoons a little more productive and family-oriented.

1) Build a Fort
This is my kids’ favorite activity. It’s also my favorite activity because most of the other activities on the list below can take place in a well-fortified blanket fort. Building a fort, whether out of pillows or blankets, with your kids is a great way to think creatively and problem solve. Piece of advice: take care not to attach blankets to potentially unstable structures. One misplaced tug on a blanket could send an entire bookshelf crashing down, which you DO NOT want. So, be careful, and have your kids be careful by telling them about Newton and architectural stability.

 2) Board Games 
Board games are so important for any family. They are far more beneficial for the overall health of a family then most people believe. Think about it: board games force children unwittingly to follow stringent rules, patiently take turns, focus on specific problems, and think creatively to solve those problems. Here are some of my favorite board games to play with my family that are fun for a kid or an adult: Settlers of Catan, Scrabble, Forbidden Island, Ticket to Ride, 7 Wonders, and Alhambra. You can view these games’ ratings and other board games here. 

3) Arts and Crafts 
Most parents are pretty familiar with throwing an arts and crafts-style afternoon. I suggest being a little bit more creative so that the craft or piece of art that your children produce will be something that they can be especially proud of. Example: for boys, have them create a rocket ship from a plastic bottle. Create a contest with rules and regulations for the best rocket ship based on height and aesthetics. For girls, have a jewelry making party. For some of the more complicated projects, invest in Wubber’s jewelry pliers. Girls can give the jewelry as gifts, wear it themselves, or even make friendship bracelets.

Out and About:

1) Trip to the Library 
Taking a trip to the library ultimately means a reading party in the blanket fort or on a blanket outside in the sun. I really don’t think that I need to stress the importance of kids reading books, so I won’t bore you with the details. Suffice it to say: It’s important for kids to read! Taking them to the library is also a cheap way for them to pick their own books from a vast supply. It also shows kids the importance of libraries so that they will always have a good attitude about them. Be sure to ask follow up questions about the books that they are reading to gauge comprehension level. Kids usually love telling their parents about the books that they’ve read so it’s really very exciting for them.

2) Trip to a museum 
There’s nothing better than learning. Even the local town museum is a great venue for a fun family experience. Grab some literature, a deck of gift-shop hometown-themed cards, and head back to the blanket fort. A local Discovery Center is also a great place to take children, if a bit more expensive but still informative. A learning experience is always a good way to go. Make your children passionate about learning through enjoyable experiences. School does not always provide that (surprise, surprise).

3) Watch a Family Movie 
This is kind of a last result for the afternoon activity, as there is not much activity involved. But that doesn’t mean that watching a movie together as a family has no value. Luckily, Rotten Tomatoes has compiled a list for those of us who aren’t movie buffs. There are fewer things that help a family bond than laughing together. Watching a movie together, especially a good one (no action or teen movies), creates a common emotional experience for your family as a whole consisting of highs and lows, happy and sad, relaxation and tension. A common emotional experience equals increased family bonding. 

I hope these activities help out your family this summer as the afternoons get increasingly lazier and the air conditioner more appealing. If you have more ideas or experiences about activities on lazy summer afternoons, leave a comment! I’d love to have a conversation.

Aren't Claire's suggestions awesome? I'm definitely keeping some of these on reserve for babysitting!

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