In one of my recent articles, I talked about how I don’t play with my kids and don’t feel guilty about it. While it may sound a little harsh, it’s true. Playing Barbie or LEGOs with my kids is not something I place much value on. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t engage with my kids meaningfully. Instead of pretending to like doing an activity with my children, I will make a conscious effort to participate in kids activities that I can also enjoy. Win-win!
Engaging with your kiddos in a heartfelt way and truly enjoying your time together will create much more of a bonding experience. Here are 10 ways you can have fun with your kids in a genuine way:
10 Activities for Kids and Moms to Enjoy Together
1. Have a Picnic
This is an activity you can do indoors or outdoors. Pack up some finger foods, maybe some juice boxes (a special treat for my kids), and a few drinks for you, and head off to the nearest park. Spread a big blanket in the soft grass and let your kids run amok after a delicious feast outside in the fresh air. Or use a rainy day to have a picnic in the living room. Your kids will love the change of pace!
2. Cook together
If you like to cook or bake, this can be a fun activity for kids and parents to do together. Pick a simple recipe, maybe cookies or muffins, and have your kiddo help you measure, pour, and mix. Use it as a learning experience; kids often have no idea what work and ingredients go into their food!
I just returned from a week-long Carnival cruise, and I was surprised to see how many young families were on board. Once I got a good tour of the ship, I was no longer surprised. The cruise has a kids’ area, water slides, and activities for their youngest passengers throughout the week! While traveling alone with my kids used to scare me, I look forward to taking my kiddos on a cruise someday. You can start your travel adventures slowly, however, by taking a short road trip to a local tourist attraction or spending a weekend in a new city.
4. Have a Movie Night
Every now and then, I love to throw a bunch of pillows and blankets on the living room floor, pop some popcorn, and watch the latest family movie with my kids. They absolutely love having mommy join them in a movie night, and I really enjoy many kids’ movies! Even better, do a movie night in your jammies and let them stay up just a little late. Check here for what to watch. You will be the mom of the year!
5. Go on a date
Every year for my kids’ birthdays, I try to take each of them out on a special Mommy Date Night. We will get all dressed up, and I’ll take them to their choice of restaurant. Then we’ll go do something special: maybe a mani/pedi with my daughter or a movie with my son. Taking them on a one-on-one date makes them feel special.
6. Plant a Vegetable Garden
Full disclosure, I am not a mom that enjoys gardening. At all. I am so bad at keeping plants alive that I am surprised I have kept pets and kids alive this long. Regardless of how I feel about gardening, I know many a mom loves to get her hands in the soil and watch things grow. If you’re this mom, try planning and tending a garden with your little ones. This is a great bonding activity, but it’s also a fantastic way to teach kids how food grows and what it takes to feed the family!
7. Take a Hike
When the kiddos are a little older, try taking them on some easy trails on a beautiful, sunny day. Pack a backpack full of water and snacks, bug spray, and sunscreen, and encourage your kids to explore the wonders of nature as they hike the trail. If you’re feeling really motivated, print out some nature scavenger hunt pages to take along on your adventure.
This may sound silly, but I still love to color! Of course, I am no longer interested in coloring princesses and rainbows (although it has happened a time or two in my adult life), but I very much enjoy the popular adult coloring books. One of my favorites is Enchanted Forest by Johanna Basford. I also bought a fancy set of colored pencils. Coloring in this book while my kids color in their favorite coloring books is one of my favorite ways to spend a quiet, peaceful, fun time with them.
9. Go to the Spa
I like to surprise my daughter with a trip to the nail salon to get our nails painted every now and then. I want to treat her to a facial and massage when she gets older. These things are a huge treat for me, too, since I rarely get them done.
10. Wash the Car
This is a favorite activity of mine and my kids, especially in the warmer months. I let the kids get the bottom part of the car while I take care of the top parts. By the end of the car wash, we’re all soaked and soapy and laughing our butts off!
As you can see, there are plenty of ways you can engage and have fun with your kids without pretending to enjoy an activity. What are some other ways you enjoy spending time with your kids? We’d love to hear your suggestions!