Posts Tagged ‘activities’

8 Ways to Relax with Your Kids

Friday, June 1st, 2012


If you are looking for how to relax with your kids, here are a few ideas:

  1. Lie down outside on a blanket, and look up into the trees, observing nature. I remember back when we had a hammock. I looked up into the tops of the pine trees, which looked like they were converging because of perspective. If I waited long enough, I would see groups of birds come and go. I had no idea how many birds came into my yard; they were so high up that once I brought out binoculars to see them. I heard the sound of the wind through the pine trees. I saw flowers waving in the wind.
  2. Go cloud watching. Either you can point out the types of clouds (cumulus, stratus, cirrus, etc.), or you can find pictures in the clouds. I once saw a cloud in the shape of a dragon. Just yesterday I saw a cloud in the shape of an airplane. Kids will quietly stare into the sky until they excitedly tell you they see a particular shape.
  3. Find a hill, and roll down a hill. Many parks have grassy hills. My kids love lying down on the green grass, and rolling all the way down a hill. Take your shoes off, since part of the experience is feeling the grass on your feet.
  4. Take a nap. After lunch every day, my children are trained to be silent for an hour and a half. Feel free to take a nap. You will feel much better.
  5. Sit and watch your kids play in a creek. The sound of the shallow water tricking is relaxing, and you are not required to do anything. Either they can wear their swim trunks, or they can roll up their pants and walk through the water. (Bring towels.)
  6. Watch fish swimming around in an aquarium. Many public places have aquariums, including pet stores. Waiting rooms with aquariums are better, because you can sit in a chair while watching the fish swimming around. You can also go to an outdoor pond to look at the fish.
  7. Throw a frisbee, football, or softball back and forth to your kids. It’s relaxing because you just stand there in the beautiful sunshine most of the time, with occasional throwing. I think this is why men like golf. It allows them to mostly do nothing.
  8. Play on the beach. Once again, the kids play in the sand and surf while you just sit there on a towel. If you have young children or non-swimmers, putting a life vest on them will help you completely relax instead of being paranoid that they are going to drown. Yes, I am a mother. Now lean back and soak in some sunshine…


Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

croquetCroquet is a fun game to play, especially in the summer. It’s a lawn game, where you hit a wooden ball with a mallet through wickets. The wickets are the iron squared-off loops that you stab into the ground. I remember playing croquet as a kid, setting up the wickets randomly around the lawn, and trying to hit my ball through each one, taking turns with my sisters.

croquet-2The game actually has a specific pattern for placing the wickets. It looks like two diamonds stacked on top of each other, with double wickets on the top and bottom. Refer to my pencil drawing to see the arrows, as to how you go all the way down the two diamonds on one side (zig-zagging as you go), and then go back up the double diamond. The first person to hit the stick at the top wins. (You also need to have your ball hit the other stick at the bottom when you’re halfway through the game.)

croquet-3Make sure that when a kid is swinging his mallet, that the other kids are far enough away not to accidentally get hit by the mallet. It hurts.

If you don’t have level ground in your backyard, go to a local park that has a grassy level area, and set up your croquet game there. Each person has a mallet of a different color, with a ball to match, so as not to confuse people as to who is winning. That would be me, of course. (I’m kidding.)

croquet-4Many famous artists have painted games of croquet, including Norman Rockwell and Winslow Homer, who painted women in fancy dresses, playing croquet. Lewis Caroll also wrote about a crazy game of croquet in his novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. So the game of croquet is worth playing at least once. You can borrow a set from someone, if you’re not sure you will like the game. Children enjoy this game particularly, and it’s good for hand-eye coordination.


Simple Lemonade

Monday, May 28th, 2012

simple-lemonadeBuy a big bottle of lemon juice. Only a glutton for punishment will squeeze two cups’ worth of lemon juice with her bare hands. Not to mention rubbing her eyes accidentally and screaming. No sirreee. Lemon juice comes in a bottle for a reason.

Grab your funnel. Throw it up into the air so that it spins, end over end, and catch it. This will impress your children, who will cheer that you are the best mother in the world. (sigh of satisfaction) Take a bow to acknowledge that this is true.

Now onto the real lemonade-making. Pour 1 cup of sugar through the funnel, into the pitcher. Pour 2 cups of lemon juice in. Pour 6 cups of water in. Stir it. Or shake it if it has a tight lid. (If it doesn’t have a tight lid, don’t shake it, or it will fly in all directions like a sprinkler on the lawn on a hot summer day.)

That’s it. You’re done. Drink it.

Oh, and if you want to get all fancy shmancy, slice slices of lemon, lime, and orange, and throw them in. Shove a slice of lemon into the side of the glass, and serve with a bendy straw and perhaps a tiny paper umbrella. Cheers!

Japanese Activities for Children

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

Japanese-activities-for-childrenIn this fun hands-on video, I show some Japanese activities for children. The activities include the following:

  • wearing kimonos
  • eating Japanese food
  • playing with Japanese toys
  • brush painting calligraphy
  • tasting green tea at a tea ceremony
  • folding origami, including a windmill and a frog
  • playing with an abacus
  • fishing with a net
  • flying Japanese kites

Japanese-activities-for-children-2My family attended a Japanese Day at a local community college, and the college students (exchange students from Japan) had booths with the different Japanese activities for children. Each table was set up and ready for the children to mill around and enjoy the different displays. We listened to some Japanese music, too. After spending about an hour on these engaging Japanese activities, our family went out to eat at a Japanese restaurant. My children were able to sample more Japanese foods.

This would be a fun co-op activity to do with other homeschooling families. You could choose a different country once a month and set up hands-on activities at each table in a church gym, so that the children can experience different aspects of each culture. What a great way to learn geography!

More fun ideas for teaching geography to children: Living Geography: Travel the World from Your Living Room

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