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post #21 of 82
Our family spends a lot of time outdoors, regardless of the season, even though I am also one of those easily cold types. I bundle up ridiculously, with layers and layers. It takes me longer to get ready than it takes me to get them both ready! But at least I can stay outside almost as long as they want to.

Last summer we spent a lot of time identifying trees and plants. DH likes to look for fossils with the kids. This summer, I'd like to spend time drawing outside with them. Everyone will be able to bike ride by then but DS (now 3.5yo) won't be much into drawing but will no doubt find other ways to keep himself busy.

We also got into board games in the fall. I don't like to buy things we can make, so we made our own game. My niece had just sent us a gift in a box that we were able to unfold and make into a game board. The game is pretty much a version of snakes and ladders, but much more intricately decorated! We also enjoy Cariboo and the Orchard game.

Our children's favourite family time is going to a "magical world" with Daddy. The three of them (and sometimes a cat) climb under the blankets in a bed and it becomes their space ship. Off they go to a different world to discover what is there.

I don't spend a lot of time playing with my children; less now that they are so good at entertaining themselves. I am always close by and we spend hours of the day together doing things, just not often play. They help me with my chores (cooking, cleaning, feeding the chickens, shovelling, etc). We do spend time together everyday reading. I love discovering new books with them.
post #22 of 82
Looking for fossils is so much fun. I did that for hours and hours, too as a child. It's a great way to open up to the mystery of the world. The fossils we found as kids were from an ancient sea even though we were thousands of miles from the current ocean.

Anything natural that embraces the deep mystery of time, space and life itself is wonderful. Other things we like include- staring at the night sky with endless stars and recognizing constellations, looking at birds, and of course gardening- planting seeds and nurturing them to maturity and then through death as they die back and get composted.

Raising or working with animals can also be entertaining, meaningful and therapeutic for the whole family.
post #23 of 82
For going outside in all weather, I really want to do that, but DD wants to nurse within five minutes of when we get outside. : She then has a fit and we end up going home. She'll spend time outdoors with DH, but I'd love to see us get some regular outdoor time.
post #24 of 82
I try and read a minimum of 4 longer picture books a day with my 4 and 2 yr old, and I love the way they play with and enjoy books on their own, too.

We hit the library last night -- one of our most frequent family trips -- and loaded up on children's books.

I'm going to try a 10-book-a-day challenge for a week and see what happens. And let the boys know about the challenge, too. They can count to 10, lol!

Maybe after that, I'll systematically work through all the books in our three bookcases full of children's books. Why own 'em if you don't read 'em?

We are also looking forward to a stretch of warmer weather -- freezing or slightly above after weeks of minus 20-35. So a challenge of 2 hours a day outside. ETA we've been making a pile of snow in the middle of our back yard for sliding and we're going to make it as big as possible and dig a fort in the side
post #25 of 82
Speaking of playing with Daddy, very popular games here are:
*Blanket Monster (Daddy under blanket, growls and chases kids around the house)
*Making a Pizza (Daddy uses terrible Italian accent while tossing and rolling the "dough" (kid) on the bed, wrapping the dough with cheese (kid in blanket), etc. I think he bounces them while adding pepperoni or something.

We took a long road trip and I can not say enough about the books on CD from the library. We loved "A to Z mysteries" and "Magic Treehouse". They are big series, so you can listen to them as long as you can stand.
post #26 of 82
The library is a great source of entertainment-- books, videos, dvds, books on tape. Books on tape with many tapes or CDs are the best in winter! When we were snowed in fortunately we had just checked out "Wind in the Willows" with 11 cassettes.
post #27 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by boigrrrlwonder View Post

I would love recommendations on more fingerplays. I don't remember a lot of them from my youth, but DD loves the ones I know.

There are a ton here!

http://www.thebestkidsbooksite.com/f...s-for-kids.cfm


This month, for us, has been very very cold here in Chicago. We've been spending many afternoons indoors doing lots of knitting. DD is 10 and is a beginner where as DS is 3 and has not yet grasped finger knitting. Each DC has their own basket of goodies (wool, yarns, needles and notions). DS spends lots of time making little homes for his "guys" within the wool and hanging his toys on the yarn while sticking them with "the little swords", while DD and I knit and listen to books on CD. Right now we are listening to The lion, witch and the wardrobe.

In February, we are planning on making tree blocks, fencing for their play barn and doll house furniture with our christmas tree. Im on the look out for some hand tools as we speak.
post #28 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aubergine68 View Post
I try and read a minimum of 4 longer picture books a day with my 4 and 2 yr old, and I love the way they play with and enjoy books on their own, too.

We hit the library last night -- one of our most frequent family trips -- and loaded up on children's books.

I'm going to try a 10-book-a-day challenge for a week and see what happens. And let the boys know about the challenge, too. They can count to 10, lol!
Maybe after that, I'll systematically work through all the books in our three bookcases full of children's books. Why own 'em if you don't read 'em?

We are also looking forward to a stretch of warmer weather -- freezing or slightly above after weeks of minus 20-35. So a challenge of 2 hours a day outside. ETA we've been making a pile of snow in the middle of our back yard for sliding and we're going to make it as big as possible and dig a fort in the side

Ooooo! My 5 year old would love this!! Not to mention I would too!

I think I'm going to have to invest in some of those foot warmers. My toes are the part that get ice cold and then I end up not being able to get them warm again without getting in the tub, no matter how I bundle up.

Does anyone know any good fun yoga tapes for the whole family? I think the boys had one when they were a lot younger that they loved, but they have since grown out of it. I'd like one that we could all do together.
post #29 of 82
I just rediscovered Draw and Tell stories. I used to use them in my classroom but forgot all about them until I saw a book at the library. The kids love them though they caught onto the gimmick pretty quickly. I remember there are also cut and tell stories, too.
post #30 of 82
These are all great ideas, but I'd like to hear some for older kids (8+) that are calmer and really suited for evenings after work. We don't do TV during the week, but sometimes after dinner we have a bit of space that would be great to connect with each other. I'm just so exhausted and can't muster up a ton of enthusiasm.
post #31 of 82
Board games are great in the evening and a fun way to connect.
post #32 of 82
For older children, read aloud a book that excites them, a few chapters a night -- maybe the latest book in a series they love? Have everyone take turns doing the reading!

Read a play aloud together -- a screenplay, even, if you can find one. Maybe one connected to schoolwork?

Listen to a book on cd.

Plan a family vacation together -- maybe do an exercise challenge. Pick a destination and find out how far away it is. Have all members of the family log their exercise miles -- walking, running, biking on an exercise machine or using pedometers. When you have "reached" your destination, book a real trip there....
post #33 of 82
My oldest is 9, and then I have a 7 year old and 5 year old. They love love love the Redwall series so much and there are lots of them. Dh reads the books to them every nights and it's just a fun way to hang out.

Also, we have been doing family back rubs. It sounds weird, but it came out of a night when my oldest, who has some special needs, was just really reactive and volatile. I started rubbing his shoulders and then everyone got involved. I even got a nice shoulder and back rub. We tried to come up with new names for each different kind of massage: so far we have the spider, the squeeze, kneeding the dough, and the boys seem to come up with a new one each time! It's fun, relaxing and it seems that the kids like to talk about their day through the whole thing, and we change partners so the everyone has everyone else for a few minutes. It's nice that way because everyone connects.
post #34 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by beansricerevolt View Post
There are a ton here!

http://www.thebestkidsbooksite.com/f...s-for-kids.cfm


This month, for us, has been very very cold here in Chicago. We've been spending many afternoons indoors doing lots of knitting. DD is 10 and is a beginner where as DS is 3 and has not yet grasped finger knitting. Each DC has their own basket of goodies (wool, yarns, needles and notions). DS spends lots of time making little homes for his "guys" within the wool and hanging his toys on the yarn while sticking them with "the little swords", while DD and I knit and listen to books on CD. Right now we are listening to The lion, witch and the wardrobe.

In February, we are planning on making tree blocks, fencing for their play barn and doll house furniture with our christmas tree. Im on the look out for some hand tools as we speak.
Thanks for the fingerplays.


Have you made tree blocks from your Christmas tree before? We got a Christmas tree specifically for the purposes of making blocks out of it, too, but I read in a Waldorfy book about what kinds of wood are best for this (not pine) and wasn't exactly sure what seasoning is. If you know more about this, I'd love to hear where you've learned.
post #35 of 82
I am so excited about this thread! soooo need ideas! I've really been feeling like I'm not a very fun or creative mom, but we really want to be doing more stuff like the things mentioned in this discussion.

I wasn't really raised by parents who did anything fun or creative with us, and we were by no means an outdoor family. My only memory is that my step-dad and I used to play spaceship in our laundry room; we would close the door, shake the dryer, and fly among the other planets in the milky way! Other than that, I can't remember anything, not even my parents reading with me. I was an only child until I was eight, so I didn't have siblings to make stuff up with either; I did a lot of self-entertaining, which is probably why I was a bookworm!

Quote:
Originally Posted by amnesiac View Post
I've posted this before but I thought it would be great here too-

If you're looking for something to get out & about, this is something really cool we did with our kids:
http://www.atlasquest.com/
http://www.letterboxing.org/

We found several first to get the hang of the different ways people do them & then we placed some of our own. Some are really cool to try to figure out & it's a fun thing to do as a family. When we placed ours the kids really got a kick out of going to check on them to see how many people were able to figure out their clues & what sort of nice comments were left for them. Mine also think it's fun to look them up when they go like to grandma's or something.

You can buy pre-made stamps to use too but we carved our own.
Oh wow, letterboxing looks SO cool!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebirdiemama View Post
My ideas for this spring and summer include laying in the hammock with my babes reading them chapter books (ds loved the chronicles of narnia), baby in the wrap while ds and mommy garden... we got him a wagon for his bday in april so he can help move stick and dirt, etc. I dont know if Ill actually give him a space in the garden this year to manage.... although it might be necessary to save what I actually want to keep intact! We love to cook over an open fire in the back yard so maybe we'll keep it going and tell stories after it gets dark
DS is just getting into conversations so I bet he'll like this
Thank you for the reminder that I need to give DS1 his own garden space this year! I'm hoping that DS2 can safely explore in the garden (read: not put everything in his mouth), because gardening with a baby on my back just hurts too much.

Cooking over an open fire is a fantastic idea!
post #36 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaMonica View Post
The library is a great source of entertainment-- books, videos, dvds, books on tape. Books on tape with many tapes or CDs are the best in winter! When we were snowed in fortunately we had just checked out "Wind in the Willows" with 11 cassettes.


Yeah, we love the library, too.
We often play chess there, too. : And read, and borrow books/dvds etc. And sometimes we just sit there and watch people go by. Yesterday LoveBug just sat at the floor in the library, reading a book about dogs. :
post #37 of 82
Something else we have always done is cook/bake together. My kids love to watch cooking shows on Food Network & then explore how to do things in our kitchen. When my dd was little she got this book and this book for Christmas one year. It was a fun novelty for a while but then she really wanted to make "the real thing" so she started joining in with the boys & me. The boys got one called Family Fun Cook Book. It has some cute things for kids but mine aren't really into cutesy stuff so they never really used that one. This year one of my boys got a signed copy of Cat Cora's book & he was so excited.

Sort of related to their love of cooking, they also think it's cool to explore all the cool stuff at the farmer's market and at the specialty grocery stores where we don't usually shop but that have more unusual items. Sort of funny that the market could be a cool field trip.
post #38 of 82
Another fun thing that can be a little dangerous is woodworking. My kid love to pound nails and make things, often just conglomerations of boards. We have kid-sized hammers- the last one was under $2 in the bargain bin at Ace. They've also collected small crewdrivers and saws.

Sawing up fallen branches is fun and good exercise. I feel safer if they wear gloves.

We also built birdhouses, sawhorses and boats together using this book .
post #39 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by amnesiac View Post
Something else we have always done is cook/bake together. My kids love to watch cooking shows on Food Network & then explore how to do things in our kitchen. When my dd was little she got this book and this book for Christmas one year. It was a fun novelty for a while but then she really wanted to make "the real thing" so she started joining in with the boys & me. The boys got one called Family Fun Cook Book. It has some cute things for kids but mine aren't really into cutesy stuff so they never really used that one. This year one of my boys got a signed copy of Cat Cora's book & he was so excited.

Sort of related to their love of cooking, they also think it's cool to explore all the cool stuff at the farmer's market and at the specialty grocery stores where we don't usually shop but that have more unusual items. Sort of funny that the market could be a cool field trip.
We do a lot of cooking together, too. I never really thought of it as entertainment; I don't know how I'd get the cooking done without her "helping" me. Even though she's not yet two, she can still be really involved in the cooking process - mixing, pouring stuff in bowls. I even let her help me cut things up (I still help her hold the blade even though she seems to have a really good grasp of knife safety already).

Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaMonica View Post
Another fun thing that can be a little dangerous is woodworking. My kid love to pound nails and make things, often just conglomerations of boards. We have kid-sized hammers- the last one was under $2 in the bargain bin at Ace. They've also collected small crewdrivers and saws.

Sawing up fallen branches is fun and good exercise. I feel safer if they wear gloves.

We also built birdhouses, sawhorses and boats together using this book .
How old are your kids? DD loves the hammering toys we have for her. She's probably too little for this, but I tend to underestimate her skills.
post #40 of 82
[QUOTE=boigrrrlwonder;13024410


How old are your kids? DD loves the hammering toys we have for her. She's probably too little for this, but I tend to underestimate her skills.[/QUOTE]

I know that preschools often have woodworking centers -- mostly hammering, but sometimes cutting wood held in clamps.

I actually got my younger kids some good safety goggles for Christmas in anticipation of doing something like this with them (age 2.5 and almost 5)
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