1.) Construct an Indoor Obstacle Course
Your child doesn't need to go outside to burn off excess energy under the pouring rain. You can create an indoor obstacle course that will keep your child entertained for hours!
Crawl under or over a row of chairs.
Crawl under a string stretched between two chair legs.
Jump into and out of a Hula-Hoop five times.
Walk on a balance board.
Throw a beanbag into a laundry basket.
Run while balancing a beanbag on your head.
Do a ring toss.
Play one hole of Newspaper Golf.
Ride a tricycle along a predetermined route.
Somersault from one point to another.
Do a handstand.
Skip in place while reciting a jump rope rhyme.
Do ten jumping jacks.
2.) Write a Story
Do you have an aspiring novelist in your household? You and your child can create your very own story, together, one word at a time. It's a blast to see where your imagination takes you when you and your child work together!
Want to hear a great story? Then create one with your child, a word at a time. (As you'll see, this is also a neat activity to do with a word processor.)
a) Have your child say or write any word to begin the tale. Then you add a word, and your child adds another, until the first sentence is finished. This cooperative writing approach continues until the story comes to a conclusion. It may or may not be the ending you had envisioned, but that's the whole point: You never know what direction the tale will take when you and your child become co-authors.
b) Once you've gotten the hang of co-writing a story in this fashion, up the ante by introducing a new rule: No one can use the words "or," "and," or "but." That's a lot more difficult than it sounds. Take turns inventing new rules, too, just to keep each other on your toes.
c) Gee, that's going to be tough when you can only use words less than five letters long . . .
3.) Make a Time Capsule
Time capsules are a fun way to record the present and remember the past. They are easy to make, and your child will love making predictions about her life and finding trinkets she thinks will be of interest to her future self!
Help your child create a time capsule to be opened next year--or ten years from now.
Current photo of your child
Current photo of your family
Other meaningful keepsakes
Tape or ribbon
a) Help your child prepare information to put into her time capsule by asking her questions (and writing down her responses if necessary). You might ask about favorite foods, songs, activities, friends, and so on.
b) Ask your child what she looks forward to in the coming years and what she expects life to be like next year or when she's a teenager or an adult.
c) When everything is written down, place the paper in a small shoebox along with a current photo of your child, a current photo of your family, and other meaningful keepsakes.
d) Place the lid on the shoebox and write your child's name on it, the date on which the time capsule is being closed, and the date on which it's to be opened.
e) Secure the time capsule with tape or ribbon and keep it in a safe place until it's time to open it.
4.) Create Your Family Tree
Making a family tree is a great way to spend quality time with your kids, and the result will be enjoyed by everyone who comes to your house!
a) Look at home. Do a scavenger hunt in your house. A lot of us are sitting on family history and don't even know it. Go up in the attic or down in the basement. You might find a family bible with names written in the cover, certificates for births, deaths, and marriages, or medals from a grandfather who fought in the war.
b) Talk with older relatives. Talking with older people is one of the smartest things you can do. Older people are living libraries.
c) Start with yourself. Begin by tracking and documenting this generation of your family using reliable sources, like government records, and then slowly backtrack one generation at a time. Census records are great family snapshots. Because they're done every 10 years, it makes it easy to march back in time.
d) Turn to the Internet to fill in holes and document what you know. Several sites offer family tree services, such as Ancestry.com, Geni.com, Genoom.com, MyHeritage.com, and WeRelate.org.