101 Fun Activities To Do With Your Child

By February 15, 2012 Guest Posts 73 Comments


101 Fun Activities to do With Your ChildThe Importance of One on One Time with Your Kids

Spending intentional un-interrupted time with your child has infinite rewards. No matter the quantity or quality of the toys they may have, it will never compare to simply being with you.

Do I spend every waking moment engaging with my kids? No – far from it. I believe in the value of teaching a child to have independent play as well. After all, I’ve got a house to maintain, adult relationships to foster, as well as a drive pursue my individual interests and business pursuits. I do, however, make an intentional effort to spend several regular slots of time with them daily.

IMG_1091Child development experts suggest that these little bits of ‘Special Time’ will add up to an increased trust and emotional/relational bond that will enable them to feel secure and less likely to act out negatively for attention. I have certainly seen this to be true in my home. I expect these experiences will also set a foundation for our future relationship to thrive even as they grow more and more independent.

Strive to have several 5 to 15 minutes periods of “Special Time’ rather than engaging for one long block of time with toddlers and preschoolers.

Here are some tips to get started:

  • First, tell your child, “We are going to have special time together.” Let them know when to expect it. (After you’ve finished a few chores, after school, or dinner, or perhaps at baby siblings nap time etc.)
  • Ask, “What are some things you would like to do for our special time here at home?” Give them some choices if they cannot think of anything.
  • Tell them when you will have the next special time.
  • Tell them when you are having the special time. “This is my special time with you, {insert child name}.” Say something positive like, “I like doing things with you.”
  • Warn them before the time is up and say… “Soon it is going to be baby’s turn ….or Mommies turn.”
  • Tell them when the next special time will be. Remind them to be thinking about what they would like to do.
  • Later, remind them about the special time you had together, and that another special time is coming.
  • Do not take special time away as punishment for behavior earlier in the day. Being able to count on special time with you provides them support and sense of unconditional love and connection.

“Special Time” provides children with some structured way of knowing when you’re available. It will meet the indwelt need they have to feel connected and to have a security about their place in the family. With sufficient positive interaction, they won’t have to act out negatively in order to get your attention. Knowing you’ll spend time with them at planned times throughout the day will encourage better independent play as well.
I have my own mother to thank for a great example of this habit. I recently found a list that we compiled together and I’ve added some of my own ideas to share with you:

101 things you can do with your child:

  1. Go to the library – stay for story time
  2. Bake something, anything
  3. Construct something with blocks or Lego’s
  4. Read a book
  5. Draw/Color together
  6. Go window shopping
  7. Host a play date with their favorite friend
  8. Dress Up together
  9. Go Sledding
  10. Build something in the snow (fort, snowman)
  11. Go swimming (indoor or outdoor)
  12. Have a picnic (outside or on the living room floor!)
  13. Listen to new music together
  14. Visit a museum
  15. Visit a Zoo
  16. Visit a pet store
  17. Write and mail a letter to someone special
  18. Play a card or board game
  19. Take a walk
  20. Get out baby photos and talk about them
  21. Sing Songs
  22. Take a class together at local art center
  23. Go roller or ice skating together
  24. Tell stories about when your child was a baby
  25. Hug/hold your child
  26. Build a blanket fort
  27. Tell your child what makes them special ( to you and others)
  28. Teach/tell your child about your job – take them to work for a day if you can
  29. Have a scavenger hunt (indoor or outdoor)
  30. Go to a movie together
  31. Visit your child at school
  32. Dig out your year book and share about your experiences
  33. Visit a nursing home or hospital
  34. Finger Paint
  35. Take pictures
  36. Visit and learn about places in your neighborhood (fire station, police station, post office, dairy, etc.)
  37. Clean out a room together (basement, attic, garage)
  38. Work a puzzle together
  39. Plan a vacation together – then GO!
  40. Make S’mores
  41. Build a bird house
  42. Play a sport together
  43. Make homemade pizza
  44. Rake leaves and play/jump in them
  45. Go on a hayride
  46. Visit an apple orchard / pumpkin patch
  47. Plant something
  48. Have a water fight
  49. Play hide and seek
  50. Go to the state fair
  51. Collect different fall leaves
  52. Have a block party
  53. Take a hike
  54. Make puppets and put on a show for each other
  55. Tell stories about your childhood
  56. Attend athletic event
  57. Make homemade ice cream
  58. Learn about different cultures
  59. Take flowers to a friend
  60. Go wading in a creek
  61. Go for a train ride
  62. Go horseback riding
  63. Climb a tree
  64. Go camping
  65. Have a family talent show
  66. Draw a map and have a treasure hunt
  67. Walk/play in the rain
  68. Talk about feelings/emotions
  69. Paint a picture by numbers together
  70. Go to a theater performance
  71. Complete a DIY project together
  72. Wash the car
  73. Play Frisbee
  74. Pick up litter in the community
  75. Fly a homemade kite
  76. Jump rope
  77. Exercise together
  78. Discuss nutrition and the 4 basic food groups
  79. Start a savings account – talk about budgeting and saving money
  80. Write a story (draw illustrations together too!)
  81. Go fishing
  82. Visit a relative
  83. Visit the neighbors
  84. Go bowling
  85. Dance party!
  86. Play Simon Says
  87. Have letter or color of the week and look for them together
  88. Play “I Spy”
  89. Act out a favorite story together
  90. Listen to music and play homemade instruments together
  91. Start a gratitude journal with your child – they can draw what they are thankful for
  92. Let your child pick out the menu for a meal
  93. Start a collection
  94. Practice/teach something (reading, tying shoes, zipping zipper, sports, rhyming, sorting, telling time)
  95. Sidewalk chalk
  96. Go for a bike ride
  97. Play pretend
  98. Make a collage out of photos and/or clippings of their favorite things
  99. Tell jokes
  100. Spend time simply LISTENING to them.
  101. Make a list of things you want to do together in the future! :)

“When you look at your life, the greatest happiness’s are family happiness.”

~Joyce Brothers~

101 Fun Activities to do With Your Child

Download a Printable of ALL 101 Ideas!

Download my handy printable and stick it on your fridge or keep in your journal to make intentional family time simple. Just pop your info in the box below and I’ll send it straight to you.


And You…?

Do you plan to have ‘Special Time’ with your child for set times during the days/weeks and really engage? Try it! You’ll be amazed at how it changes their behavior (for the better) and begins to seal a bond between the two of you just by being there WITH them.

What are 2 fun things you do with your children?

Want even more ideas for children birth through age 6?
Check out: Play and Learn Family Activities

KidVentures-300x250Note from Kat: Want a “Fun Idea” guidebook? My friend Jen wrote a fabulous book called KidVentures. It’s filled with fun ideas and adventures (complete with step by step instructions) to enjoy with your kids. Click here to learn more about KidVentures.

This is a guest post from Heidi. She is a Professional Organizer and Family Manager Coach. She is passionate about helping others bring more order and peace to their home, office and family life.

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