Activities & Enrichment

Discover and share the best things to do with kids, including free and cheap ways to have fun, crafts for kids, and games that promote intellectual, social, and emotional development.

3 year olds birthday activities on a budget

I'm hosting a birthday party for our three year old at our local park. We are on a tight budget and can't afford entertainment. The park has a large sand box with two jungle gyms at either end. The park staff said the park itself should be enough at that age. I was thinking of bringing some chalk, balls, jump ropes, and bubble wands. Do you think that's enough?

  • Lani Schreibstein
    Tuesday

    That's what I did for my daughter's 3rd birthday, and I had no complaints. We only had bubbles out of the extra items you listed.

  • Sarah
    Yesterday

    Spray bottles are a fun and cheap substitute for water gun for little ones! They are easy for little hands to use and don’t get the kids soaking wet! Our dollar store stocks pretty decent ones! Bonus the kids can take them home as a prize!

Chronic pain & fatigue + baby who wants to play

I have chronic pain and fatigue and am having a hard time playing with my 11 month old. It depends how well I feel that day, but I can play for a few minutes at a time throughout the day before I'm worn out. It seems most days go by with me laying on the couch or floor with the tv on and my kid playing with toys by herself near me. Are there any activities that other parents with chronic p... More

  • ANN
    Monday

    I watch my twin granddaughters (now 3) and I suffer with severe pain daily. My husband bought some tv trays so we use them to color & do crafts on them.

  • Alys
    Monday

    Great idea! Thank you Ann! ❤

Activities for a 7mo old

I stay home with my 7 month old everyday. What are some activities to help keep him entertained? Or maybe some learning games? Just things I can do with him to help fill the day. The day seems to drag on and on and I feel like I’m not stimulating him enough. He gets bored within 10-15 minutes in his jumper, activity saucer, and playing on the floor with his toys

  • Mallory
    Jun 13

    Try some exercises together! Look up Itsy Bitsy Yoga on youtube.

  • Momof1
    Tuesday

    Sorry this is late. I just discovered an app called Kinedu on iPhone. It has limited free content but even the limited content is fantastic. We just found it and my son loves the activities for his age 10 months. I wish I had found it sooner. You might want to give it a try!

Advice

A couple of months my wife and I took our 1.5 year old daughter to the toddler gym. We all got sick a day or two after going. I want to go back because we had a great time, but I'm worried about our family getting sick again. Does anyone else feel like this and what would you do?

  • Michael
    Jun 12

    Thank you all for the replies. I worry maybe too much and your comments help me feel less nervous about taking her and getting sick. Thank you all very much :)

  • CTmomx2
    Jun 14

    Yup. Our kid gets sick almost predictably when we take her to museums, etc. it’s part of life and developing an immune system. It will either happen now or when they go to daycare/school. So, it’s unavoidable unless you want to keep her inside all of the time!

First day of summer workbooks!

Using the app chore monster to keep track of her tasks...reward at the end of the week!

Swimming

Can I take my 4 month old to a pool?

  • Kelz
    Jun 05

    My daughter is 3 months and we plan on buying this for her so we can all enjoy ourselves

  • Mandy
    Jun 11

    Yes.

Anonymous posted in Activities & Enrichment May 30

Advise

Question for SAHP, how do you deal with your child when all they want is your undivided attention. He seldom wants to be left alone. Do you let them cry or tend to their every need? I'm a FTM...

  • Erin
    May 31

    Aw I just give her all my attention. No regrets and she’s securely attaching to a parent who values her !!!! No child left behind lol or rather, no feeling of abandonment on her tiny little heart

  • Ashley
    May 31

    I would try to find ways that you can play together but still get a little break. For example, put them in the high chair with some edible fingerpaint and start playing and let them take it from there. Then you can sit and take a minute for yourself while they play but still be involved. Or have them “help” with laundry by giving them a pile of socks to play with while you’re folding. It’s tota... More

DIY program for teaching 3-5 year olds to swim?

So we got a pass for a pool near our house, but unfortunately they don’t have swim lessons for kids under 6. Can we start teaching them ourselves if we go once a week? My goal is to teach them to float and paddle without the floaties, as well as basic safety skills, but I don’t know where to start. Any resources would be appreciated!

  • Brigitte
    May 31

    Hi Valentina! Paddles can be super useful but I find that they offer too much water resistance for beginner swimmers. I'd recommend paddles for an older child who has already mastered the front crawl and is just working on perfecting their stroke. I'd recommend noodles for beginner swimmers because it offers some flotation and support while they are working on beginning skills like kick... More

  • Kelise
    May 31

    The YMCA is great

Swimming lessons

My 9 month old will start swim in about 2 weeks. Any suggestions on what I should pack or products that will make the whole thing easier?

  • Lisa
    May 28

    My friend is a life guard and she recommended a swim ways power swim floaty to help my son learn to swim and be confident at it. He loves it, learned to tread water very easy last year, this year real swimming (he is 3 this year)

  • Jonathan
    May 29

    Water gear back float. Check the Amazon ratings and reviews. All my 4 kids love them.

Handwriting and learning numbers, colors, letters, etc

When did your child start learning how to write? When do you think it is a good time to teach them the alphabet, numbers, colors, and very basic Spanish words? My dad used to use flash cards on us when we were about 4, instead of him reading to us, he had us read to him while he just guided us along, and he always had us doing those workbooks that you can get at Wal-Mart, and I was reading on m... More

  • Erin
    May 24

    Thank you everyone. This has all been some great insight :)

  • Sha
    May 26

    They say the first 5 years kids are like sponges. Start from birth. Even though they can't speak they understand. You will be surprised what they can do.

Road trip

I will be taking my son who is 12 months old on a family trip to ocean city, Maryland but the drive is 4 1/2 hours away. Do you have any tips for keeping him entertained?

  • Andy
    May 21

    Start driving at his nap time. That is usually good for half of the trip. When he wakes up stop at a park, or restaurant with a playground and let him play outside of his car seat. When you hit the road for the 2nd half of the trip go as long as possible without giving him anything to play with. Once he starts fussing offer board books, snacks, songs, and toys one at a time until you arrive. C... More

  • Rachel
    May 21

    our first long trip with my daughter was when she was around that age. we were doing an 8 hour drive. it was definitely a long one, but so worth it. do you have a spouse, friend or family member joining in on the car ride? one of us always sat in the back seat with her. when she wasn’t sleeping, one of us would read to her. i brought crayons in a Tupperware and a coloring book, stickers and a ... More

Anonymous posted in Activities & Enrichment May 21

Learning activities for one year old?

I'm a SAHM to a 13 month old. She's great at independent play and loves reading books (by herself and with me). She has TONS of toys, a lot of them are intended for "learning" but I'm looking for more enriching things to fill our days with. We have some flash cards and I try naming things/ asking her to name things when I do play with her. We do music time with an instrume... More

  • Christina
    May 21

    Sensory tables. I like edible ones at that age. Storytime. Parks. Exploratory walks. Even things like laundry and dry dusting. Coloring-bonus if you have a giant box to contain her and the crayons. Don’t use markers-they do not develop fine motor strength. Don’t stress about more, you don’t want your day so busy that you rush from thing to thing. Kids need open play time.

  • Sha
    May 26

    My LO is the same age. We have a radio flyer converter bike with a handle so we can go on strolls around the neighborhood, parks and picnics...I also bring along bubble blowers and a big ball, building blocks, "help making meals and cleaning" finger painting, coloring, we work on body parts, colors etc., ..also sand/water tables work well

Hi everyone I have a 5 yr old boy. What are some fun things I can do when I’m with him?

  • Amanda
    May 21

    My kid is 5 and has so much energy it’s scary. The park is his favorite place. Any kind of hands on kids museum is a win. Get a membership. We actually really like book stores. And despite it being a quiet place. Most local libraries have a play area in the kids section.

  • Morning66
    May 22

    My daughter is 3.5 and we loves to make slime (try different methods and recipes) talk about the science behind it etc . Playdough, go for nature walks and find creepy crawlies (if your kid is into that) scaling ingredients for a baking project, making pasta together. Making planet models out of rubber bands.

Edible homemade paint

This was such a fun idea I found on Pinterest. Just use baby rice cereal and add food coloring.

  • Holl
    May 21

    This is so cute!

  • Alana
    May 22

    Holl, thank you! It was a lot of fun

Wondering if I’m doing all I can to give our 4 mo the best start in life.

Home on paternity leave and curious if others have rituals and/or resources that make the most of a little ones first days. Or is changing, feeding, and playing with him good enough for right now?

  • Mike
    May 23

    Thanks to all for the encouragement and ideas! Particularly enjoying Baby Sparks — exactly what I was searching for. And to the Dad who recommended I listen to my music — don’t worry, Kit hears Springsteen on a regular basis. The original first and then the lullaby version as a follow up!

  • Superdad
    May 23

    Nice Mike! Good job! Mine is fluent in Zeppelin and The Beatles.. and yes, followed by Rockabye Baby versions also... keep up the good tunes bro! 👍🏻✌🏻

Anonymous posted in Activities & Enrichment May 16

Restaurant activities

Hi families! Besides screentime, how would you keep your 2.5 year old seated when eating out at a restaurant?

  • Kendi
    May 22

    We like playing, what's missing? I actually got the idea from Daniel Tiger. Set up a few things that are at the table (silverware, condiments, napkin) child covers eyes and you hide one item under the table and child guesses what's missing. Fun for the child to hide things from you too😆

  • Claire
    Jun 07

    Little trucks, gears, and pipe cleaners that can be stuck into a reused coffee cup through the drink hole.

Geocaching

Recently found out about Geocaching. A fun scavenger hunt for the kiddos and adults. Great way to get everyone outside and play a game. We use the app “Geocaching” to find local treasures.

  • DD
    May 17

    Would love to do this but can’t figure it out.

  • Finesse
    May 17

    My family and I do this as well. Love it!!

What are some tips to turn good readers into avid readers?

  • Peggy Kaye: Chief Curriculum Officer at HOMER
    May 15

    I am a strong believer in reading aloud to children even after they become good readers. My first teaching job, I read aloud to my third graders every day. I noticed how many of my students, especially those who never read for fun, began reading independently and requesting to take books home that I’d read to the class. At some point, many children lose interest in having their parents read t... More

  • Esteban
    May 18

    Wonderful advise thanks so much. Love the idea of commenting on what we read as adults

Free Crayola!

I wrote a review to Crayola telling them how awesome their products are and they sent this for free. Just in case you want to do it too.

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