BY AUDREY TEOH
> Easy things to do that don’t require a big home or plenty of money
FAMILY experts say it’s important for families to bond by spending quality time together. But between work, school and extracurricular activities, there’s barely enough time for family meals.Instead of putting off family
time, plan for small shared events on a regular basis rather than relying on a grand holiday. After all, a holiday is great but only lasts a few days. Daily experiences strengthen relationships and allow parents to instil values.
As adults we map out our work day with to-do lists, but we neglect to map out time with our families. Is it any wonder then that weekends go by unfulfilled despite promises that “We’ll do something”?
Here are a few easy ideas:
Children love role-playing and pretend, so let their creativity runs free with a game of charades. Younger children may need some assistance; to make it easier, choose familiar topics or characters such as fairy tales or cartoon characters. No props or purchases required. Great for rainy days and lazy afternoons.
Lay out newspaper on the dining table, floor or patio and get a roll of brown paper so there’s more space
for everyone to get their hands dirty. There’s no need for any structure—toddlers can play freely while older children can create patterns and pictures. You will need: large roll of brown paper and poster paint. Ideal for bright and sunny afternoons.
Younger children can appreciate simple games like Snakes and Ladders, while older children can benefit from Monopoly and Scrabble. Great for rainy days and lazy afternoons.
You can do this anytime, anywhere so it’s great when you’re waiting in line or stuck in traffic. Simply pick atheme or set a rule and go with the flow. An example: build vocabulary by creating a chain of words where each subsequent word must begin with the last letter of the previous word. Improve observation skills with I Spy. Take turns to spy something in the surroundings and provide a hint such as its colour or the fi rst letter. Or improve recall with trivia. Challenge your children by asking questions about their favourite book or cartoon characters, and phrases used in movies and cartoons. Props and purchases are not required.
Perfect for any home with a garden area, it’s easy and you get to water the plants too! Prepare towels and a
change of clothes in advance so you don’t drip all over the house. You will need balloons or water guns. Ideal for bright, sunny afternoons.
Pack simple drinks and snacks, plus anything to keep the children occupied— bicycle, scooter, skipping rope, bubble blowers, a ball or frisbee. If all else fails, make paper aeroplanes and see who can throw them farthest.You will need: whatever is available. Ideal for bright, sunny mornings and afternoons.
Get a movie, pop some corn and get comfortable. If you’ve never really sat down and watched modern animation in action, you’ll be surprised at how far it has come since The Flintstones and Tom & Jerry. You will need: one good movie that everyone can enjoy. Great to do after a long day out.
CHORES MADE FUN
Build self-esteem and a team-player spirit by getting kids to chip in. Start small—give your toddler a watering can to help water the plants or get everyone involved in washing the car. Older children can help with preparing meals or washing up, and even toddlers can be taught to set the table with place mats and plastic cups. To minimise mishaps, give clear, simple instructions. You will need: patience and many compliments.
The bottom line here is to spend more time together as a family, so it’s important to loosen up and don’t fret if the laundry is neglected for one day, or if the carpet is damp. Keep things simple, make allowances for mistakes and accidents, and supplement all of the above with praises and lots of laughter.
2bz4money: To add some activities with children i.e gardening, planting, cooking and learning productive software such as MsOffice, blogging etc.