Here are some ideas to combat boredom with your kiddos! You can either leave it in list format or create a jar with the options inside to draw when boredom strikes!
Build a Fort
Play hide and seek
Prepare a new recipe
Read a book or create your own story
Make your own board game
Draw, Paint, or Color
Make up a dance/skit
Make paper mache
Create a box structure
Go for a bike ride
Make an obstacle course
Have a picnic
Play a ball game
Build a bird nest/house
We want to make sure everyone is staying healthy and well, including the youngest in our Western community!
This time is odd and uncertain for us all! But how many of us have had a deep conversation with our kiddos to see how they are doing through all this? This is new for them too! A LOT of their daily habits, activities and joys have been totally flipped upside down!
Humans are creatures of habit, kids included! I encourage you to sit down with your kiddos, one on one, and ask some important questions to gauge where they are in their overall mental wellness. This can include a lot of different questions, but the goal is to ask open-ended ones. They will be able to better express how they are feeling when they are given the option to say anything that is currently on their mind. Follow their lead while responding in a way that makes them feel valued, care for, and safe. We want to make sure we are meeting our children on their level to understand what they need to thrive during this time!
What are some feelings you have right now?
Do you know why we are at home?
What is something you want to talk about?
How can I help you feel happy & safe?
Do you need more or less quiet time?
What are some ways we can have a better day?
Are there any activities, games, or things you would like to do together?
Stuck inside with the kiddos? Here a few fun indoor games to keep everyone entertained, brought to you by Western Childcare Director Kaila.
This game seems too simple but our kiddos LOVE it! Find an object such as a pool noodle, broom, mop, really anything you are able to safely hold for children to go under! The rules are simple, Turn up some music (your choice), line the children up ( parents are welcome to play as well), send kiddos one by one under the limbo bar! To follow the original rules... it's face up, bending backwards slightly to go under. Once the line starts over it's time to lower! Each round the bar will get lower and the challenge will get harder! If you touch the limbo bar you are out! The most important rule is to have FUN! If you need to take turns holding the bar so everyone can play that is just fine too!
Pool Noodle Volleyball:
Find a balloon or a light ball, think beachball! Next you want to find an item to be the "net". Some ideas are a pool noodle, broom, mop, etc. Next you want to find a semi open space in the house so you have room to move! In this area you need to find a way to secure the "net". Some ideas are on some chairs, stools, or another household item to hold the item of choice up in the air. If needed you may secure the item with some masking tape or another tape that won't ruin the surface you are using. Now let the volley commence! Player one will send the ball over the net and the opponent will try to hit the ball back. You may feel free to set the rules however you would like. Typically we find one on one with a normal point system works best for children! If you miss the "ball" your opponent gets the point and vice versa.
Masking Tape Obstacle/Agility Course:
This easy breezy course is fun for all ages! To start you will need a large open space with carpeting or laminate flooring, even unfinished basements or garages work great! Next find some masking or painters tape! You want to make sure the tape you are using won't be damaging to your floors, so test run a small spot first! The fun part comes next! You are going to tape off an "obstacle course" on the floor using the tape you have. Make a variety of lines, zig zags, arrows, and other special markings to follow through the course! I also encourage you to add props to the course so there is other "obstacles" you have to get through! Some ideas include items to crawl through, under, over, around! You get the idea! I suggest removing the tape when you are done to make sure there isn't residue on the flooring. Enjoy!
Laser Beam Alley:
This specific game will require a hallway, some tape (safe for painted walls), and some party streamers or string! Think spy kids with this game! You are essentially creating a "laser beam" affect by taping streamers or string to the wall to "block" the route. You will want to stagger, crisscross, and place these at various heights and directions! Leave some space for the obstacle to be feasible for your child to get through! If it is too over crowded with the streamers it will be nearly impossible to complete the mission. To start the game simple have the kids line up and try to maneuver their way through the course using whatever movements needed! This is a great brain game to test strategy, as well as using large motor skills! Whoever makes it through untouched by the "laser beams" will be the winner!
Plastic Cup Bowling:
This simple but fun activity is great for all ages! You will need about 10 plastic or paper cups (solo cup style) and a small ball! To start simply have your kids stack the cups in a vertical pyramid style shape! Once you have this tower structure set, you can begin! Stand a generous distance from the "pins". Establishing a line on the floor may be extremely helpful if more than one child is playing. After you established the line, proceed by gently rolling the ball to knock down as many "pins" as you can! If all "pins" fall, STRIKE! You may choose to keep score however you see fit for your children and their ages!
Indoor Scavenger Hunt
Time to get creative my friends! This scavenger hunt is a bit different from your typically one! For this scavenger hunt we will be using descriptions to find our items! For example, something soft, something blue, something heavy, something smelly, something green etc. Get creative and write the ideas down! Then make the "official hunt" list with the options you find best for your kids and household items. Once the kiddos find all the items either have them collect & pile or show you the items! The child with all the items first is the WINNER!
Happy Holidays everyone! Ready or not the holiday season has officially begun, with Thanksgiving behind us, you know what follows next. The holiday extravaganza! Most of us can agree the next few months bring plenty of joy, love, and let's be honest, a little chaos. If we all agree the holiday season is a busy time for adults, can we take a minute to acknowledge the toll it takes on our children? Between the holiday parties, busy schedules, late nights and school breaks, the season can wreak havoc on our children in a lot of ways. Today I will be sharing some thoughts on overall wellness for your children as we approach this time of year.
Beating “Sugar Season”
While our awareness of cold & flu season is widespread, we are missing a serious component that contributes to illness this time of year. Sugar. How many of us have given thought to the amount of “sugar centered” holidays, parties, etc. we celebrate in the colder months? There is no coincidence when it comes to the overall health and amounts of sugar children consume during these months. Sugar has been proven to decrease immune function, cause hyperactivity and cognitive disfunction, predisposition for health issues as adults, and many more adverse effects. During this season I encourage parents to closely monitor your child's sugar intake and say “no” to treats in excess. Enjoying a sweet treat in moderation is a great way to allow your child to indulge but still be mindful of their overall health. In order to be successful with this, I recommend having a stash of “sweet” treat alternatives that encompass a healthier lifestyle on hand if your child wants something outside of the allotted treat. Some items I suggest are freeze-dried fruit, fruit/nut-based bars, veggie crisps, and my favorite a good ‘ole piece of fresh fruit. Having these items in a to-go arsenal is a must for this busy time of year! It will keep your kiddos satisfied and help curb some of the excessive sugar consumption.
If we feel tired, can you imagine what our kids feel this time of year?! So much joy, magical anticipation, hustle and bustle that we forget how much energy it takes out of them. My biggest tip is keeping sleep schedules as close to “normal” as possible. Children need adequate amounts of sleep to function at their absolute best, just like adults. Sleep is vital for your child's mood, cognitive function, stress levels, and so much more. If getting your kiddo to bed on time means leaving a function early, do it! You and your child will feel much better in the long run. Also, I want to mention rest for older kids. When school is out, I am a huge advocate for letting older children lounge more. They are overworked during the school year and holiday breaks are such a good time for some self-care. I suggest stocking up on some activities that create a sense of calm such as puzzles, board games and coloring/activity books for your kids to enjoy quietly. With you and your children well-rested, the holiday season will be much more “silent night” vs “jingle bell rock”.
If it's not frigid cold, get outside! It is such an easy way to help your child burn off energy, stay healthy, and clear their minds. Outdoor activities in the winter can vary. Some of my favorites obviously include snow, however there are plenty of additional activities that do not! I love taking it outdoors for a day at the sledding hill, building a snowman, having a snowball fight, and let’s not forget snow shoeing! No snow? Go for a walk, play a game of outdoor tag, or simply play a game of catch. Getting your children involved in winter activities is also a great way to create a positive attitude towards the cold weather. Many of us encourage outdoor play so much in the summer and less in the winter that our kids resort to indoor activities only. If we focus on shifting their mindset it will help achieve a more active lifestyle, even in the winter!
Overall wellness for our children is so much more than a multi-vitamin and proper handwashing. Let us enjoy the most wonderful time of year with our children, whole, happy and well.
Hello everyone, Kaila here! As your Western Racquet childcare director, I thought I'd share some fun summer tips for keeping your children active this summer. At Western Racquet we are committed to a better you and that means your little ones as well! We will be focusing on three main points going into this summer season with your kiddos. Keep in mind these tips can be utilized with any children, not just your own. Caregivers have an extra special place in the lives of children too! To keep our kids active and healthy this summer, let’s talk about three main things: getting involved, decreasing screen time, and getting outside! Let’s dive in!
Getting involved with your child's summer activities will simply get them moving more! We are often sidetracked with other responsibilities as adults, forgetting how vital it is to participate with our children. In my line of work, I often see firsthand how critical it truly is to get involved with little ones. Kids get amped up to have an adult play WITH them instead of just standing on the sidelines watching. We have just 18 summers with our children from birth before they are adults, so soak up those memories! It doesn’t have to be anything major or over the top! It can be as simple as climbing up the playground with them, jumping off that diving board, or including them in a bodyweight exercise circuit you love doing. Try joining in on the fun and observing the difference it makes in the overall playtime. They will have less frequent bouts of boredom, engage in active play longer, and have an overall sense of fulfilled daytime activities.
Limiting screen time
One of the hardest obstacles we may face as parents and caregivers is avoiding large amounts of screen time during summer vacation. Studies have shown that a surplus of screen time can be linked with a variety of negative consequences including, but not limited to, childhood obesity, sleep problems, behavioral issues, and an increased amount of violent behavior. With these things in mind, it’s important to really look at the amount of screen time our youth are getting per day, especially during times of educational breaks. Not only does sedentary activity affect their physical state, it affects their mental state as well. Setting their minds on activities that get them moving really help shape their overall health. We can all relate to the saying “they need to burn off some energy” and trying some new activities will help encourage them to lay down the tablets and get moving! I also recommend having an allotted duration for screen time during the day. It is vital for children to have quiet time and many children prefer television, tablets, gaming devices etc. This is perfectly healthy in moderation, as with anything. Carve out sections of “quiet time” for your children to have designated screen time if they choose and let them know ahead of time that this boundary has been set. The more structure children have around screen time the less likely they will ask for it and will be more prone to choose a different activity.
Kids love being outdoors! This alone will encourage them to get moving more regardless of the activity, but I am going to share some tried and true ideas that always work. Here in Wisconsin, we get 3 short months of sweet summertime. Take advantage of those beautiful days by getting outdoors! Some favorite activities include bike rides, swimming, and trips to the playground! However, what if we put a spin on some of our favorite activities?! With kids it’s all about variety! The following activities can be orchestrated with a single child or large groups, grown-ups are welcome too! If weather is an issue many of these activities can be brought inside!
Try setting up a backyard obstacle course fit with different age-appropriate obstacles! Think “over/under” tasks, balancing, jumping, crawling, etc. Invite the neighbors or a few friends over for a super special day! You can choose to pair the kids up together or let them run the course individually. Extra points for providing the “course day” treat! Rainy weather? Try setting up the course in a large room, basement, or even garage!
Super Soaker/Balloon Tag
Instead of a full pool day try rounding up some water balloons or a few super soakers to have a refreshing take on a classic game of tag. Kids love to compete, whether it’s with adults or kids their age. Team up and try to keep score, although in this game everyone is sure to end soaked! Extra hot day? Add a lawn sprinkler for the kids to run through as they soak their competitors! The object of this game is less winning and more playing! Rainy weather? Swap out super soaker or balloons with nerf guns! Kids can’t pass up a nerf war, and most adults can’t either!
Playground Relay Race
Take the playground to new heights by setting up a relay course! Take an object to the playground to be your “baton” and have the kids race through the playground as quickly as they can to return the baton to their “teammates” at the start line. This game can be played with multiple children or a single child with a parent or caregiver. Make sure the path through the playground is challenging yet safe for their age group.
I hope you will see the benefit of encouraging your children to stay active this summer! Let’s all enjoy the beautiful season ahead and make the most of our time off with our little ones.