Keeping kids entertained when school lets out can be a full-time job on its own. We all know it’s easiest to just stick a kid in front of a TV screen and let PBS play babysitter, but with a drop more effort, you can give your children super fun activities that are not only entertaining, but healthier for their mental, physical, and psychological development. Take a look at these after-school activities that will quickly replace the plasma as your child’s new favorite pastime.
Turning off the deafening din of technology and stepping outside is like the scene in the Wizard of Oz when the world changes from black and white to full color. The great outdoors is filled with all sorts of exciting, entertaining, and stimulating opportunities and tools that will keep kids busy for hours. Let them run free in the backyard, and their imaginations kick in, providing an endless arena for fun and imaginative play that you couldn’t possibly contain in a 50” flatscreen. From trees to flowers, dirt, mud, sand, animals, bugs, and beyond, there is a world of adventure waiting for your children right outside.
If you want to get hands-on with your kids, there are even more possibilities to explore outside. You can:
- Plant a flowerbed or vegetable patch with your kids and watch them grow.
- Build a treehouse or fort.
- Play hide and seek. This is especially fun if you have a swing set that will make the game more active and challenging.
- Play sports! Throw around a frisbee, football, or softball, play jump rope, or do any other type of physical activity. Not only will your kids revel in this personal one-on-one time, but you’ll both be getting some good, healthy exercise in as well!
- Get a hammock. It is fascinating what the research has shown about hammocks reducing stress levels.
An outdoor playset is one of the greatest gifts a parent can give their children. With this one-time purchase, you are ensuring your kids thousands of hours of playtime in a magnificent setting that is both exhilaratingly fun and developmentally beneficial at the same time. Did you know that swings help develop your brain in ways that help you focus, organize information, and learn better? Did you know that they promote social skills, strengthen hand-eye coordination, spatial awareness, and vestibular functioning, and reduce stress levels? Compare that to the results you get from an hour of TV time.
Learn more about the benefits of swing sets here.
Set your kids up with a few arts and craft supplies, come back an hour later, and you’d be amazed at what children will create when left to their own imaginations! If you are nervous about unfortunate glue incidents or other casualties of unsupervised imaginative play, then a little guidance can go a long way. Provide your kids with supplies like:
- Glue and scissors
- Colored paper
- Popsicle sticks
And anything else you can think of. You might just discover that one of your kids is a natural Picasso!
Is there a birthday in the family coming up? Maybe a holiday, anniversary, or other special occasion? Whatever the day, there’s usually a good reason to celebrate, and that’s another great after-school activity you can do with your kids.
Kids love baking no matter what the end results are because it’s interactive, instructive, and yields almost instantaneous results. Let your children get the baking equipment ready on the counter, add the ingredients by following the recipe, and prepare the individual items for baking. This is not only fun but an invaluable teaching moment that will develop so many skills within your child such as following instructions, measuring, and patience.
Depending on the age of your children, you can even teach kids how to bake safely and unsupervised. That way, when your birthday comes around, you might be surprised with a delectable baked treat of your very own!
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