Guest post from Carissa of Pretty/Hungry
I am a stay-at-home mom, and I am so thankful for the blessing of being home with my daughter all day long! It has allowed me to witness all her “milestones,” given me time to gently mold her and correct unwelcome behavior patterns, and provided me with millions of memories I get to keep forever.
But when I get together with other moms, the conversation inevitably turns to the nitty gritty day-to-day stuff. It seems all moms want to hear what other moms do with their kiddos hour after hour, day after day. And it makes sense to be curious… because those hours do stretch on sometimes! I often wonder how other families pass the time (ahem… I mean “make the most of it.”)
There are a lot of mommies out there who do an enviable job of entertaining and educating their children throughout the day… all without any help from the TV and on a razor-thin budget to boot. But to be honest, some of them intimidate me!
I’m just not someone who is going to painstakingly dye rice 10 different colors for my children to use for “sensory play.” The suggestion alone stresses me out.
Rainbow Rice hiding in every crevice of my kitchen from now to eternity? No thank you. Stay away from this household, Rainbow Rice!
(By the way, I have the utmost admiration for those of you who do make Rainbow Rice. And those of you who pull out drop cloths and aprons and let your kids cover themselves in paint. And those of you who create baking soda volcanoes, and math-themed Easter egg hunts, and hand-sewn doll clothing . I aspire toward such greatness.)
But if I’m honest with myself, that “really cool” stuff happens maybe twice a month around our house. And it’s not because I’m lazy (okay, maybe it’s a little bit because of that) but mostly it’s because I know my limits. If I stretch myself too thin with projects/goals/scheduled activities, my fuse shortens and my family suffers the consequences. And that’s no good.
So where does that leave us non-crafty moms? Those of us who want to stimulate our children’s minds, invite them to learn and grow, & include them in fun and educational activities around the house, but would rather not resort to Rainbow Rice?
Well, for me and mine, it means doing a lot of activities that are not only fun and educational, but also practical for our family!
If I need to work in the garden, my daughter comes with me to help. If I need to sort coupons and go grocery shopping, it’s an opportunity to teach my little one about budgeting and making wise purchases. If I need to get dinner on the table, I include in her in preparation.
These activities may not be Pinterest-worthy, but they are such valuable learning opportunities nonetheless! And even more importantly, they provide a backdrop for you to spend quality time with your little ones.
Pulling weeds is the perfect activity to promote conversation! I always like asking questions like, “What is one thing you did today that you are proud of?” and “What is one thing you would do differently today if you had a do-over?” These are the conversations that become the building-blocks for your children’s entire life. They are invaluable!
Here’s a short list of some FREE activities I do with my little one.
- Take long walks outside (when the weather is nice)
- Go to the park — we do this almost every day
- Cook & bake — dinner for the family, treats for friends, anything!
- Read stories
- Bath time
- Go to the library
- Collect leaves, pine cones, or flowers (depending on the season) to decorate the house
- Chores (yup! Laundry and cleaning does NOT have to wait until nap time)
- Invite friends over
- Work in the garden
- Listen to praise CDs and dance/sing along
- Exercise! — stretch, do jumping jacks, jump rope, push-ups… my little one loves trying to copy the moves
- Run errands — go to the bank, renew vehicle tags… you know, fun stuff!
- Memorize scripture — you’d be surprised how young they can start this!
What are your favorite FREE, non-TV activities for kids?
I am a wife, a stay-at-home-mom, and a food blogger! I love the Lord, my family, reading, writing, and cooking. We stick to a strict budget because we are saving up to buy our next home, so I have to get very creative in the kitchen at times. I blog at Pretty/Hungry about food, wellness, and family life!