For parents, it can be a challenging feat to keep children entertained. The same old visits to the lake, park, beach or mountains, even watching movies and playing video games can get a little old. What are parents to do? Here are three ideas for parents who are in the market for some good ideas to help engage their children in creative activities:
: Help your children find their inner Picasso! (This can be accomplished outdoors or in.)
You will need:
Other assorted art materials
To begin, set out the supplies on the kitchen table or out on the deck. Let your kids' imagination fly and create masterpieces. Show off their creations at home in an Art Show. Hang their creations on the wall or an easel. Give members of the family "tickets" to come visit the show. (Have your children create the tickets themselves.)
Start a carnival
: Anyone with a back or front yard can create a carnival atmosphere with games and activities for their own (and neighborhood) children.
You will need:
Prizes for winners
Treats for all
Empty garages can be a great place to set up tables for tic-tac-toe, coloring, ping pong, checkers, or chess. Help your children put together their own games for everyone to play like a ring toss, bean bag toss, fishing game, hop scotch or a simple putt-putt course. Balloon toss, three-legged races, or other racing games are great for good weather days.
Use older children to run each area and keep an eye on the younger children. After the fun, watermelon, popcorn, popsicles, cupcakes or cookies can be served for a real enjoyable and memorable day.
Build a puppet theater
: This idea has been successful in my family, and we still talk about it years later.
You will need:
A large appliance box
Washable kid's paint
1/2 yard material
Old socks, buttons, yard, etc.
To make puppet stage:
Find an appliance box big enough that will hold several small children inside.
Cut a square on the upper half of the box for the “stage” part making sure the distance is low enough for children to reach up with their hands to work the puppets.
At this point, the stage can be painted which is another great day of activity for children. Let stage dry for at least two hours.
Find left-over material for a curtain which would be large enough to cover the cut out hole in the box plus two inches longer and a foot wider. The material is sewed with a two-inch hem at the top keeping the ends open. Using a rope a little longer than the box, insert through the hem.
The curtains will look better loosely hanging from the rope which will be attached in front of the cut out square on the box. Carefully punch a hole on both sides of the cut out square making sure it is even on both sides and push one side of the rope through with the curtains already on the rope and on the outside of the box. Then tie a knot on the inside of the box to hold curtains secure. Extend the rope to the other side where the other hole is punched and push the rope through and tie a knot on the inside.
You can choose to cut the curtains down the middle and leave open or leave them as one piece and let the children hold their puppeted hands through the bottom of the curtain, depending on their preference.
Cutting the back of the box on one side only from bottom to top helps make a doorway for children to enter and exit the stage. Or if you like, cut the bottom half on both sides to make a flip-up door for children to crawl under to enter or exit.
Now the fun begins! Puppets can be made from old socks with sewn-on buttons for eyes and nose and yarn for hair. Paper lunch bags or Popsicle sticks can be decorated, or find puppets at the local children’s toy store to make a variety of animals and characters for lasting puppet shows. The sky is the limit in creating puppet creatures. There is something about creating stories that keeps children busy taking turns doing puppet shows for hours at a time.
All of these ideas require time, but they are great experiences for the long summer days. Once started, the children will take over and spend hours using what the parents have started to keep the creativity going.