When I was a child, we were a pretty poor family. This was actually a good thing, because we had a lot of love in our home, and we learned to have fun without depending on a popular toy or electronic gadget. We were very creative and found ways to entertain ourselves for hours on end, ways that could include anyone in the family.
If you find your children are perpetually planted in front of the tv or don’t know how to entertain themselves unless they are holding a playstation controller, it’s time to get old-fashioned on them and teach them to have fun using their brains (ignore the “Aww, mom!” because they’ll like it in the end). Here are three ways to have fun, no batteries required:
1. Act out a play. When we were children, acting out a play, creating make-shift scenery and costumes from household items, bed sheets and furniture was a blast. We’d then gather friends and parents to sit and watch us dramatically act out our roles, complete with hand gestures and accents. If someone has a video camera handy, tape your kids and save it for posterity (or blackmail). It teaches children how to make use of what’s available, work as a team, and feel less shy in social settings.
2. Make puppets.One of the most fun things a parent can do with their children is arts and crafts. There is just something very satisfying about making something useful and fun with your own hands, which in itself is a great tool to give your children.
Offer the supplies (socks or brown paper bags for the puppet body, glue, crayons, scissors, construction paper) and get to making goofy, pretty, or crazy puppets, then have fun playing with them, or make other fun things as well.
3. Tell stories. “But ten year olds don’t want to hear stories!” Yes they do, when they are with a group their own age and can make the stories up to be as silly or funny as they want. They will learn to speak with well, with confidence, and conjure up colorful images as they go. Give a prize for the most inventive and interesting story (let them pick the winner amongst themselves, then give the same prize to everyone).
Penelope is a mom to one and author of Penelope’s Oasis, where she writes about a variety of topics from healthy to relationships.