From Tips and Steps
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- Tell a story. Read a favorite book or make up a story together. It's even more fun to use stuffed animals or toys as the characters in a story.
- Tell a joke. Learn a simple magic trick.
- Sing a song together.
- Blow bubbles. Mix two quarts of warm water with 1/4 cup Dawn or Joy dish washing liquid and 1 tbsp. glycerin and then use funnels, canning jar rings and anything else you can find for bubble blowers. Turn the backyard into a bubble festival.
- Go somewhere. It can be a park, the library, a pet store, a Japanese garden, a berry patch or a childrens' museum. Bring a lunch; make it a picnic.
- Keep a collection of interesting rocks, dried flowers, pennies or a jar of worms. Put six worms in a jar half-filled with soil. Cover the soil with some old leaves. Keep the jar in a cool place and wrap with dark paper to keep the light out. Unwrap the paper to peer at the worms. Keep the dirt moist by sprinkling with a few water drops every few days.
- Grow. Plant fast-growing scarlet runner beans seeds. Grow a sweet potato vine. Put the narrow end of a sweet potato in a glass of water and wait three weeks. Keep the water clean, change as needed. Once the potato sprouts move it to a sunny window.
- Build a playhouse from cardboard boxes, a fort made of card tables and blankets or sheets, or a ramp for toy cars with an ironing board.
- Explore. Take a walk on the lookout for bugs, flowers or anything that catches your eye. Lift rocks. Peer into puddles. Take along a magnifying glass, eyedropper, small plastic spoons, ice cube tray, tweezers, flashlight and jars with lids.
- Camp. Pitch a tent in the backyard and sleep outside. Look up at the stars. Gaze at the moon. Imagine. Tell stories. Giggle.
- Play with water in wading pools, washtubs or sinks. Paint with water on the sidewalk, patio, fence or house. Make mud pies or sandcastles. Mix half a box of cornstarch with a cup of water to make a fun cornstarch goo. Use funnels, spoons, cups, scoops, buckets and bottles.
- Make finger jello, frozen bananas, frozen orange slices or easy “ice cream” sandwiches. Combine plain or vanilla yogurt with peanut butter to a good consistency for spreading. Mix well, spread between two graham cracker squares. Store in containers and freeze.
- Give a child an hour of your time for free time fun. They’ll keep you busy and love you for it!
- Be a good listener to the child.
- Ask the child what the rules are to games - they'll be inventive, and besides it's easier for you to learn their rules than vice versa.
- Maintain a stable level of authority if you're the only adult in the group. Have fun, but if you let them get away with little stuff, they're less likely to respect your authority when it's important.
- Kids are often self-centered in the purest definition of the term. Each will view an event entirely based upon their own experience with little thought to the experience of others. (We learn that later in life.) With that in mind give each child equal attention so all take away the same experience. Don't let one feel left out.
Related Tips and Steps
- How to Arrange a Kid's Craft Party
- How to Entertain Kids When You Are Babysitting
- How to Play With Kids While Babysitting
- How to Pull a Coin Out Of an Ear
Sources and Citations
- Family Life Education Department at Edmonds Community College
- http://www.gocitykids.com/ -a city guide for parents
- Educators' Top 100 Children's Books
- Jokes, sing-alongs and games for kids -from the National Institutes of Health