Want to spend more quality time with your child but are fresh out of ideas? The world is your oyster, but here are just 21 ideas that can help you out when your child is bored and you are reaching the end of your rope.
1. Dance Party
It is recommended that children should have at least one hour of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity every day, with at least three hours of bone-strengthening exercise a week.
Playing a game such as “Just Dance” or simply turning on some music to dance to will get the blood flowing and is a great way to have fun with your child while being goofy and getting some exercise in. Youtube has many dancing exercise videos that are great to follow along to such as Fitness Marshall. Let them show you all the new moves that kids are doing these days, and show them a few old-fashioned moves of your own.
2. Feed the Birds at a Local Pond
Going to the park can be a great change of scenery for a child who is used to being in their own backyard or going to a neighborhood playground. Whether they still like playing on the playground or would rather rollerblade or skateboard around the park, it is an engaging activity for both of you.
Some parks have public gardens, a duck pond, kayaks, or even a splash pad. If you are lucky enough to live close to a bigger park like this, you could spend a whole day at the park making lots of memories and having fun with your child.
3. Have a Picnic
Even though most children will be in school during lunchtime, you can have a picnic for snack time or even for dinnertime. Make it interesting and pack foods that correlate with the season you are in, with a vibrant picnic blanket that will tie together the whole thing.
Some fun picnic themes can include Polynesian Paradise, All-American, California Dreamin, Fiesta, or Around-the-World. The food options and any decorations you want to bring are somewhat self-explanatory with these titles.
However, you don’t have to have a themed picnic. Just bring your favorite foods and a few unhealthy snacks, a picnic blanket, and go to your favorite park. If you don’t want to go to the park, have a picnic in your backyard.
4. Play Sports
If your child is starting to get interested in a sport they may want to play, or even if they aren’t even remotely athletic, this can be a good bonding activity. Maybe you as a parent or guardian want to expose your child to a sport you used to play, and this could be a fun way to do that.
Local parks often have soccer nets or basketball hoops that can be used free of charge, so this can get your child into the fresh air and sunshine while learning a new sport.
5. Plant Seeds/Start a Garden
Planting seeds from a fruit or vegetable that your child likes can be a fun way to learn about gardening and growing plants while also helping teach your child about where produce comes from. It can be super exciting for a child to see their seeds turn into plants, even if you are just growing a couple of them in little cups on the windowsill.
For those who have the space and time to put into a garden, this can be a good option and help teach the child responsibility and how to nurture and take care of their plants. Picking weeds and watering the plants can either be a good bonding experience or a terrible punishment for the child, so try and make it a positive experience.
6. Go on a Bike Ride/Introduce them to Mountain Biking
If you and your child have bikes, going on a bike ride together can be fun and can be a good way to help teach them about bike safety and stranger danger.
This also has the potential to be a traumatizing experience for a child, as evidenced by a personal experience from a local college student who told a story about how as an eight-year-old child, her dad took her on a bike ride to their local church building so they could help clean it. They had to cross a couple of busy roads and ride up a steep hill, and at one point he rode out of sight, all of which terrified her and did not help cultivate of love of biking.
Mountain bike trails are relatively common and can be found at many local parks. They will often have a beginner trail with smaller obstacles that are only a couple of miles long, making them a simple and fun experience for beginning mountain bikers.
7. Wash the Car
Hot summer day and need a car wash? Turn it into a bonding activity with your child and wash the car together. Not only can you get a free car wash, but you can also teach your child how to have fun while doing a chore. Make it fun and try to help them find joy in a job well done.
8. Jump on the Trampoline
Jumping on the trampoline together is a good way to get some exercise in while having fun and playing trampoline games. If you don’t have a trampoline in your backyard, going to a trampoline park is another fun (yet slightly more expensive) option.
Trampoline parks often have fun obstacles and foam pits that can give you more options when it comes to trampoline games.
9. Bake a Treat Together
Baking a favorite treat or learning how to bake something new can be a fun activity and may even spark a love of cooking in your child. Signing up to take cooking classes together can also be a fun option, or choosing a fun cookbook and making a new recipe from it every week is also a good idea.
10. Do Science Experiments
There are many different at-home science kits that you can purchase off of Amazon that come with all the materials and a set of instructions. Although these are a bit more pricey, they can help expose your child to real science and chemistry experiments and are generally a fun way to spend a couple of hours.
You can also look up simple kitchen science experiments and use stuff that is already in your kitchen to do some fun experiments. A baking soda and vinegar volcano is always a hit.
11. Do Chores
Doing chores with your 10-year-old productive way to spend time with your child and clean up the house at the same time. There is a lot of value in teaching your child to work hard and to do a job well, and many parents find it useful to make a game out of chores in order to teach their importance.
Make sure to give your child age-appropriate chores so that they don’t become overwhelmed and the parent-child time turns into something that they want to avoid.
12. Go on a Nature Walk/Go on a Hike
This could be at a park, in a wooded area nearby, or even in your backyard. Making a scavenger hunt and listing things to find such as a butterfly, a spider web, or an anthill will be fun and can help your child to learn how to notice their surroundings and become more aware of the world around them.
Some parks will have nature trails with signs that point out certain things or give fun facts about the surrounding area and this can be fun for your child to stop and read.
If your child is up for it, you can also go hiking and make a day out of it. Pack a backpack with water and snacks and let them choose a decently long hike. Not only will this tire them out, but it will also give you a chance to have some deep talks while walking in the woods with them.
13. Make Candles
Making candles is a fun way to spend a rainy afternoon. All you need is some candle wax, a jar, some string, and something to give the candle a nice scent. Food coloring or dye can give the candle a fun color and your child will love creating something that they can use or display.
14. Pick and Press Flowers
Picking some pretty flowers and learning how to press or dry them can be a fun way to learn a new skill. Although this might not be the most engaging activity for a more active child, some children will have a lot of fun doing this with you.
15. Play a Game Together
If your child loves to play video games, it may be fun to have them teach you how to play their favorite game. Maybe you can switch off and play your favorite board game with them one week and play a video game of their choice the next week.
If you are a video-game-free family, switch off choosing board games. Two-person games such as battleship, some card games, chess, and checkers are all good options.
16. Scrapbook Together
Although scrapbooking is a trend that seems to be dying out, it is a good way to preserve memories and give your child the chance to save pictures that they find especially special.
Take them to a craft store and let them choose the scrapbook they want, the paper and stickers that they like, and have them help you choose the pictures they want to be printed out. Grab a bowl of chips and have fun decorating the pages of a scrapbook for your child.
17. Go to a Museum
The majority of public museums are free and can be a fun way to spend an afternoon. Many have interactive exhibits and presentations that can be interesting and fun for your child.
There are also children’s museums that are targeted specifically toward children under the age of 12 and provide fun learning environments. Although they generally cost money to go into, they can be a good investment if your child has fun and wants to go back.
18. Do Yoga Together
Doing yoga with your child can be a fun way to spend some time together and it will teach them a good way to deal with stress and anxiety. Countless instructional videos on YouTube have all levels of yoga and require minimal or no equipment. Simply turn it on and start practicing along with the video.
In speaking with a local college student, she shared how her mom would take turns taking her and her siblings out on Saturday mornings to play tennis at the local high school. Since her mom played tennis in high school, she was able to coach them and help them learn how to play the game properly while having fun.
The student and four of her siblings now all like to go play tennis with each other on Saturday mornings, turning a childhood activity into a fun bonding experience that may last a lifetime.
This experience also introduced the children to tennis at a young age and made them competitive in the sport when they got into high school, benefitting them in many ways.
20. Shoot Hoops Together
Playing a casual game of HORSE or even a 1 on 1 game can be a fun way to spend time with your child. If your child is not athletically inclined, making the game fun in order to have fun with them is necessary, but if they are decently good and a little competitive, don’t be afraid to show them up and give them some actual practice.
21. Go Bowling Together
Bowling with your child can be a fun way to spend a rainy day, especially if they have never been bowling before. Bowl for a couple of hours, play in the arcade, order a fresh bowling alley pizza, and just make an afternoon out of it.
Of course, if they hate bowling then the afternoon will be cut short, but if they’re having fun being there with you, don’t be afraid to get a little competitive.