Five Activities for Kids to Make the Most of the Weekend
If you’re a working parent in the big city, “Thank God, it’s Friday” takes on a new meaning. You’re looking for things to do with kids that will make the bonding experience last all five days until the next weekend rolls around. But your family activities needn’t entail hours of planning and thousands of rupees. With a little effort, you can create fun activities for kids and memories for the whole family around everyday household objects. Here are some of our favorite ways to pass the time together.
Weekend activities for kids and families
Get colorful (all ages)
Crayons and color pencils are the neat way of introducing kids to colors—but wet paint is every kid’s favorite. Use water colors to paint on waste paper, or even splash some acrylic colors on a white t-shirt. Cutting up vegetables like okra and potato and dipping them in paint makes for great, textured stamps.
If you’re feeling particularly artistic (and brave), consider letting your kid decorate the walls of his or her room: Make an outline yourself and tell your child she can paint anything inside the lines in order to ensure (hopefully…) some measure of restraint. This nod to ‘rule-breaking’ may also get your kid to fall in line more during the week, if she knows she’ll have a chance for messiness on the weekend.
Kitchen band (ages 2-4)
Dig out kid-safe items in your kitchen that can double as a musical instrument — wooden spoons, plastic containers, etc. — and set them up anywhere. (Leave out anything sharp or made of glass, obviously, and make sure any plastic is non-toxic.) Then, get the band started by using boxes or plates as drums and spatulas or spoons as drum sticks (use this guy as inspiration).
Once you’ve demonstrated how these ordinary items can make music, your child is sure to join in. He’ll create his own tunes while learning a resourcefulness that will send him searching for other everyday objects that he can turn into new toys. Depending on how musically inclined your child is (or your tolerance for his or her symphonies…) this kids activity can last anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours—just be sure to shut your windows so the neighbors don’t complain.
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DIY projects (ages 3-6)
Weekends are a great time to bring out toys and activities for kids that need adult input, since you have all the time in the world to read those instructions and supervise. Bring out the Mechanix set and build that chair and little robot together, if your child is 4 or older.
For the younger kids, hone those problem-solving skills by attacking a large puzzle together or assembling the race track that’s gathering dust in the cupboard. If you’re feeling crafty, make a bottle puppet and teach your child that an object that has served its purpose can often be re-fashioned into something useful or fun.
Looking for more craft ideas for kids? Check it out.
Little chefs (ages 3-7)
Another kitchen activity for kids, but this one actually involves food. Whip up your child’s favorite food or a tasty treat, but do it with his or her help. This way, your child can participate in the process and get a sense of accomplishment when he enjoys the fruits of his own labor.
If you’re not a chef yourself, don’t worry; it doesn’t have to be from scratch. Cutting a ready cookie mix into fun shapes together can be just as fun. And remember, it’s the weekend—relax and enjoy some of the inevitable messiness. Dipping fingers into the batter and licking it off is half the fun! We love this easy recipe for a 5-minute mug cake. For more health-conscious parents, this kid-friendly salad is a great option. Kids will love the bright colors, and if you have a tough time getting yours to eat veggies, participating in the activity might increase the odds!
High tea (ages 4-7)
Tea parties are enjoyed by boys and girls alike. They are opportunities not only for tasty treats, but also to pretend with your child and subtly instill good manners in a fun way. You can use a kid’s china tea set for this, or even regular cups and jugs. Brew herbal tea (without caffeine), and heat up some milk. If you’re feeling extra fancy, add a couple of treats to nibble on. Dolls, G.I. Joes, stuffed animals and other action figures make great guests and encourage imagination. And, once the stirring is done, you can all sit down to a nice cup o’ tea and talk art, politics, or whatever gets your kid chatting.
To make the most of these family activities, we suggest enforcing a No Technology rule; in other words, switch off the TV, put the phone on mute, and turn off the tablet. This is your opportunity to show your kids that engaging with you is fun, without any TV or computer games. And the rule applies to both children and adults — those emails can wait. Don’t forget to participate wholeheartedly — who says painting on the walls is just for kids?