Ways to add life to your years and joy to your child's heart

“It’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years” said Abraham Lincoln. Add life to your years, strengthen your relationship with your children and create endearing family memories through these DIY activities.

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  • Recently, I was in a meeting where a 60-year-old-man shared that his best memories with his children have been created while engaging in their activities. He jumps on the trampoline, skips rope, and shoots hoops. Imagining this man jumping on the trampoline motivated me to engage with my kids in their games.

  • Having fun with your kids doing what they love will strengthen your relationship and produce endearing memories. These DIY ideas are sure to produce giggles of delight and create lasting memories for you and your children.

  • Make an Air Fort

  • Your kids will love to see you scoot around inside this neat hideout.

  • Materials: Grab a large bed sheet, some packaging tape and a portable fan.

    • Tape the long side of the sheet down to the floor (preferably tile or wood).

    • Situate the fan at the far short end of the sheet.

    • Tuck the short end of the sheet under the fan.

    • Pull the long side of the sheet over the fan and tape along the opposite side.

    • To create a greater vertical space for the air to blow through, pleat the far end of the sheet a few times.

    • Get the fan going and let the fort fill with air.

    • Enter and exit the air fort by sliding the fan to one side, scooting in and then securing the fan to its original position.

  • Fool them with a banana

  • Keep things light at breakfast with this trick.

  • Materials: You’ll need a banana with firm skin and a thin long needle.

    1. Poke the needle through the peel near the top of the banana. Don’t push the needle completely through the peel.

    2. Wiggle the needle side to side until you have cut a slice inside the banana. Be careful not to make the hole any bigger or it'll be noticeable.

    3. Pull the needle out of the banana and make another hole a little way down. Repeat step 3 along the length of the banana.

    4. Put the banana on your child’s plate for breakfast and watch their surprise when they peel it. Then teach your child the trick and have them try it out on your spouse.

  • Have a paintball battle

  • Ditch the “keep your clothes clean” rule and get down and dirty with your kids.

  • Materials: You'll need water bomb balloons, clothes that can be thrown away afterward, tempura or other water-based liquid paint, a bucket for each player.

    1. Round up the kids and divide into two teams.

    2. Fill water balloons with paint. It's a good idea to keep the balloons color specific so each team knows which balloons belong to them.

    3. Give each player the same number of paint bombs to place in their bucket.

    4. Each team sets up a command post using their buckets of balloons.

    5. At the sound of the whistle, teams throw paint bombs at their opponent. If you get hit, you’re out. You can leave your fort, but be careful not to get hit.

    6. Your team must eliminate all the opposing team members. The surviving team wins.

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  • Build a paper doll house

  • Bring new meaning to paper dolls with this doll house.

  • Materials: Gather six pieces of medium-sized poster board, a ruler, craft knife, cutting mat, sewing pins, paint, glue and fabric scraps or decorative paper.

    1. Cut a piece of fabric or paper to cover one piece of poster board and glue in place. This will be the floor of the house.

    2. Set aside one rectangular piece of poster board for the back wall.

    3. Cut two pieces of poster board into identical squares to use as your side walls.

    4. Cut windows into the square pieces.

    5. Decorate the rectangular poster board wall with paint or paper.

    6. Glue the three walls and floor together. Use sewing pins to pin the boards together for added support.

    7. Cut the remaining two poster board pieces to create roof sections.

    8. Glue and pin the roof sections into place, back section first and then front. Let dry.

    9. Paint the outside of the house.

    10. Collect your daughter's favorite dolls and welcome them to their new home.

  • Peruse blogs, Family Fun magazine, or 101 Things To Do Before You Grow Up for more creative kid-friendly DIY ideas.

  • As Abraham Lincoln put it, “It’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years.” Add life to your years and joy to your child's heart by engaging in activities he loves.

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Jen Savage is the COO of her household. She loves life in Arizona.

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