As a parent we don't always want to run around the park, dress up as Scooby Doo, pretend to be Doc McStuffins or transform impossible Transformers for the billionth time...
You know the drill: you’ve spent the whole day with the kiddos and even that tenth mug of mum coffee isn’t inspiring you to want to pretend to be an animal or a Disney princess for even one second more. What you need are cheap and cheerful activities to do with the kids that are actually fun for them AND you. You know: the stuff that scores a parenting win without having to speak like Optimus Prime or run around like a headless chicken. Here’s how to be a mindful parent without actually going out of your mind with exhaustion/boredom/exasperation.
We think that colouring in is one of the most therapeutic parenting things of all to do with the kids – and handily they love it as much as we do. No need to spend big bucks on colouring books either (there’s nothing more annoying than shelling out a wad of cash for a Minion activity book only for your child to proclaim love for Moana two seconds later). Google the kids’ fave character with the word ‘colouring sheet’ attached and voila. Print out as you go along (mandala colouring is especially fun for grown-ups). This is ‘how to ace time with your kids with minimal effort’ at its finest.
From teensy tot to grumpy teen, frazzled parent to funky ol’ grandma, playdough is a staple of every childhood through to adulthood that we never grow out of! What’s not to love about creating aliens, animals and food out of squishy coloured stuff? Ramp up the fun by making your own playdough with our handy dandy guide.
Whether you’re whipping up some simple choc-chip goodies, baking your homemade experimental muffins (who says beetroot and chocolate chip don’t work together?) or breaking out the dough for pizza night, kids LOVE getting mucky in the kitchen, and we do too! Pick recipes together – or make them up as you go along – before creating a storm with your mini-chefs.
No matter if you’re a master builder or a bit of a master fail when it comes to these little bricks of fun, there’s nothing we love more than tipping out a giant box of Lego and going wild with our awesome inner creative skills. Just make sure you’ve got your Lego storage solutions all sorted to save you from those nasty stepping on Lego lacerated feet moments. And yes we are still feeling a little proud of our recent ‘space station with hair salon attached to the side’ creation.
‘Bird’s nest hair and clown-style make up for you, madam?’ Yep, the home salon run by the kids is a sure fire hit for an afternoon of colourful laughs. Get dad in on the action to really up the hilarity-ante. Probably best to stash your best Chanel lippie before the kids go rummaging in your make up kit…
Zero room for bored kids and adults when it comes to famalam board game sessions. We’re a big fan of the ‘sitting round a table’ kind of games that don’t involve having cream launched into our eyebrows (yes, Pie Face, we’re talking about you). We just did a big guide on the board game hits amongst the HoneyKids’ offspring, so you’re all set. Hit the garage sales and charity shops and pick up secondhand games galore for your stockpile.
Hide and seek
The kids never tire of this and we – ahem – have never sat on the sofa counting to 100 and then randomly called out loudly ‘I just can’t find you anywhere’ for 15 minutes while we have a cuppa… Nope. Not us. Also this is a great alternative to a yoga class: fitting sizeable bottoms into small cupboards takes quite the effort.
Teddy bear tea party
Whack a pretty blanket on the floor and serve up those tomato and peanut butter cupcakes you whipped up earlier to all the teddy bears and playdough animals in the house. Add storytelling (books or wild imagination – either works) and you have yourself the perfect minimum effort, maximum bonding activity. Possibly not one for older kids and teens (our own permanently irritated teenager was not impressed when we tried to make him eat cheesy nibbles from the same plate as Big Ted recently), so how about organising a more grownup dinner party with them? Better still they cook and you supervise. Teddy bears optional.
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