Clapping Games

All you need are your hands and a little memory!

Most of us have used Patty Cake with babies, but much older kids can also enjoy the more complicated songs. Some of these songs have been around for hundreds of years, and others are recent nonsense fun.

Teach your kids a clapping game, and be amazing today!

This site has videos of some favorites.

This site has some great new clapping songs. We are so totally learning Four White Horses from her list. It’s an old Caribbean song with lyrics that make no sense, but I love the clapping pattern.

Four white horses on the river,
aye, aye, aye, up tomorrow,
up tomorrow is a rainy day.
Come and join our shadow play.
Shadow play is a ripe banana,
aye, aye, aye, up tomorrow,
up tomorrow is a rainy day.

While you are clapping away, try making up individual handshakes with each child. See the post here.

Have fun!

Individual Handshakes

Some simple hand action can go a long way to help your kids feel loved! 

I struggle sometimes with lumping my kids all together in our experiences. It can be hard to maintain those important individual relationships with lots of kids! When I saw this video of Barry White, Jr. welcoming his students to class with an individualized handshake, I knew I had to try it!

So. Much. Fun. Be amazing today and create a secret handshake with each of your kiddos. You could start by showing them these handshakes to get their ideas going!

The cool Baymax fist bump from Big Hero 6 here.

The cloud guy handshakes from Trolls here.

Then, let THEM develop a fun handshake you can use together in greeting, goodbyes, or when your kid needs a smile.

*Hint* Most kids will want this handshake to be home use only, so don’t pull out your moves at the school carnival or as you drop your child off at a birthday party unless they initiate it. (It may just come up with their therapist 10 years later.)

Have fun!

Dandelion Curls

I’ve said it before, but some of these ideas seem too simple to even post. But aren’t those simple things usually your kid’s favorites? I totally loved making dandelion curls when I was little, and my kids love it still.

Many of us have dandelions this time of year. My sister once had a door-to-door lawn guy ask if they needed some help with their yard, which happened to have more than its fair share of dandelions. She told him with a straight face that she was growing them on purpose for her kids and they didn’t need weed control. Most of us can find more than we need, but if you happen to have great weed control, you may have to pick a neighbor’s dandelions when it’s dark.

Let your kids pick dandelions, then peel the stem into several strips, stopping at the flower. Put them in cold water and wait for a few minutes. The dandelion strips magically curl up like little ribbons!

Good, cheap, fun…and great weed removal!

Music Critic’s Club

Bossy or a pushover? It seems like kids fall into one camp or the other. One of the most important skills of childhood is learning to express thoughts and feelings openly and appropriately. Enter the Music Critic’s Club! Kids will just think they are having fun, but they are also learning a great skill: to have an opinion and to accept other’s opinions.

Put together a varied collection of songs on CD’s, old records, or playlists. Don’t forget some tunes from when you were young! Give kids paper and write down numbers 1-10. Play a bit of each song and let them rate it, expressing reasons for their rating. Pre-teach kids to accept each other’s opinions, even if their brother gives their favorite song a 1! This is good training for opinionated parents, too! Practice validating your kiddo’s response instead of trying to convince him that Milli Vanilli deserves a solid 10, controversy notwithstanding.

If you are being amazing on the go, turn to different radio stations and rate from whatever is playing.

Have fun with your little music critics!

 

Have fun with

Spy Cookie Capers

My husband is masterful at inventing creative dates. Before we were married, he once told me to be dressed all in black when he picked me up. We went to his apartment, made cookies, donned black knit caps, and went out on “capers” as he called them. In the cover of the dark night, we found our professor’s houses. We rang the doorbell, left cookies, and ran. It’s how I’d imagine Pollyanna doorbell ditching if she ever did such a thing. I thought the date was fun, and knew he was a keeper.

Try it with your family tonight! Sneaking around corners like a spy is part of the excitement, so don’t forget to dress in black and get into character! (Just don’t act too suspicious. You don’t want to create fond family memories of jail time!)

Playdough Pictionary

I love Playdough Pictionary! Use regular Pictionary cards or simply write 5 words on scrap paper. Divide family into teams. Pick a card, show to one person on the other side, then try to sculpt out your word for your team to guess before the other team. (If you write your own words, the word-maker may need to sit out). Have fun!

Car Soap Bubbles

Need to be amazing on the go today? Grab a bottle of bubbles on your way out the door! Your air conditioner or heater makes the best bubble blower. Put the bubble solution in your cup holder, dip the wand, hold it near the vent, and watch the backseat fill up with fun!

As I started parenting different age groups, I felt bad about having to bring the little kids in the car so much as I chauffeured older kids to school and other activities, not to mention routine errands. It seemed like we didn’t get as much time at home as I was able to spend with the older ones. I decided to try and make car trips as much fun as possible. Bubbles saved me many times, especially on long car trips. Who can be grumpy when bubbles are flying? Please, only blow bubbles at stop lights, when you are in the passenger side, or when an older child is riding shotgun. I don’t want to hear that conversation when you rear end another car (“Sorry officer. I was just blowing bubbles…”).

Have fun being amazing on the go!

Here’s my favorite bubbles by far.

RC Obstacle Course

10 minutes/elementary/

Most of us have an RC vehicle lying around from some past Christmas or birthday. It seems like they get played with for a few days and then it gets a little old. Jazz it up today by making an RC obstacle course with your littles! You could build fancy structures to go around with Lincoln Logs or blocks…or just raid the plastic container drawer like we did. Time each other to see how long it takes everyone to make it around the obstacles. Have fun!

Dress-ups!

10 minutes/toddlers/elementary

Don’t have much time to be amazing today? Pull out the Halloween bin! If your kids are like mine, they plan their costumes for months. (Maybe their mom does, too…). If you don’t keep costumes around, maybe they can dress up in YOUR clothes!

Snap some pics, tell them they are adorable, and have a great time. If you want a dose of extra-amazing, dress up with them!

Peanut Butter Play Dough

10 minutes/babies and toddlers/elementary/

When one of my teenagers was little, his favorite game to play with me was to pretend he was a lost puppy. I would find him lonely on the beach, ask if he had a family, and take him home with me. (Don’t even try to psychoanalyze that one. I don’t think I’ll come out looking very good…)

To add to the game, I would make peanut butter play dough into the shape of a dog bone for him to eat…puppy style…on the floor. All my Littles are too big for much dog role playing, but they still love PB play dough!

Wash the table and their hands, and let your kids play with their food at snack time!

Peanut Butter Play Dough
1  cup peanut butter
1 cup powdered milk
1/4 cup honey
Mix well until the mixture resembles play dough.

This is a dairy-free version we usually make now…but it sometimes still makes it into a dog bone shape on their plates!

Power Play Dough
1 cup coconut
2 cups rolled oats
Pulse in food processor until fine. Add…
1 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup honey, real maple syrup, or agave
Mix in food processor until it all comes together.