9 Creative Ways to turn a boring activity into a Happy Family Memory
We all love spending time with our children and our families. But I’m pretty sure we all have those moments where we dread saying “Yes I’d love to play Monopoly!”Or how about the constant asking “Please can someone, anyone, set the table for dinner?” Below, I’ve listed some dreaded tasks along with some tips on how to turn them into fun Happy Family Memory.
A game of Monopoly never ends does it?? A lot of kids love playing this game that involves buying and selling real property with somewhat real money!! But the catch is that it goes on and on and on………… So your little one is super excited as you hear the dreaded question “Mum, can we play Monopoly?” All you want to do is think of an excuse as to why you cannot play Monopoly, but you see the excitement and say “Yes” through gritted teeth. Read below for some tips on how to turn a boring game of Monopoly into a fun & interactive one.
- The Chance Card. You could make up your own chance cards. For example,
- Do star jumps until it is your next turn.
- Quack like a duck until your next turn
- Kiss the person next to you 5 times on the left cheek.
- Go directly to Jail and collect $100
- Pay each player $5
- Game terminated. Whoever has the least or most property wins.
2. House Cleaning
Arrgghhh!!! The house was just tidied but once again a tornado of children have swept through and it needs help again! “Milly, can you please put your Barbies away?” “Mikey, if I see one more piece of Lego on the floor it is going in the bin! Please pack it away.” “Susie, your room is disgusting!” “Please make your bed!” “Put you’re your shoes in the shoes bucket please.” It is a constant task for us as parents to ask our children to help with tiding up of not only their belongings but their play spaces and home. It is a tricky situation because time with our children is precious and for those parents that work, spending time on the weekend cleaning and tiding is hard when you’re juggling spending quality time with your children. So we have put together some ‘Power cleaning’ tips to help make ‘tidy up time’ much more fun for everyone!
- Set the timer. Ask the children how long they think it would take if we all worked together to clean the playroom. “Great! Ok we have 7 minutes to clean play room”
- Set tasks for each child based on their age. The key here is to put your hand up for the larger job or most jobs out of all that need doing. “Mummy is going to pack away the dress ups, cushions and Lego. Susie what 2 things would you like to pack away? Mickey would you like to help me with the Lego and maybe you could do the books?”
- Have quick little looks at the timer and excitedly shout out “Quick! 3 minutes to go! WE can do it!! GO, GO, GO!”
- If all tasks are done within the time you could pause the timer and choose some more tasks that perhaps relate to another area of the house – such as bedrooms.
3. School info night
You’ve been working all day and finally get home. Or you have been racing about all day getting the kids from here to there. You’ve managed to quickly prepare something for dinner, get the kids to eat quickly and then hop into bed. The last thing you feel like doing is jumping back in the car and heading to the school for an information evening. Who really has the head space for this kind of thing at 7pm at night??
TIPS:While the teacher is talking why not write or draw a little note or picture for your child and leave it on their desk or in their locker for them to find the next day? The excitement they will show when you collect them from school will make going to info nights all worth it.
4. Car Washing
Some people love washing their cars, others find it much more acceptable to pay someone else to do it. Car washing can take a long time when done properly and leaving it to the kids as a chore may not have the desired end result……..streaks, blackness from the tyres smeared over the windows & the dashboard still covered in dust.
- Encourage the kids to put their swimmers on……… Everyone loves a water fight!!
- Each child should have their own water bucket and sponge.
- Create a game similar to the Power cleaning game above. The kids could even sit down beside the car. There is 1 minute on the timer. “Ok, we are going to clean the windows first…..GO”! All kids race out and clean the windows within the 1 minute.
- Work out all the areas of the car the need cleaning starting from the top and work down.
- Every so often, give a squirt of the hose towards the kids.
A lot of people find gardening, weeding, mowing a little too time consuming and it takes that little bit longer when you have a little one who is wanting to help out!
- If your child owns a dump truck make the weed collection into a game. “I will be the gardener and you can be the truck driver who takes all the waste to the garden tip” Tell your child where to ‘dump’ the weeds, pretending that you are the garden worker and s/he is the truck driver. Watch them have loads of fun going back and forth taking their job very seriously.
- It’s a great idea to have a pair of kids gardening gloves. A watering can too! You can tell your kids to water the areas that you have already weeded and tidied.
- Kids love to get dirty!! Give children a small spade, some polystyrene cups, soil and some seeds and watch them as they create their own little gardens. Give them a quick run through on how to create their garden cups and then leave them to their own devices! This will give you at least 15-20minutes of time to get those chores done in the garden.
- Also kids love to sweep! If you have a child sized broom get the children to sweep the pathways and paved areas that may be littered with leaves, grass or dirt.
6. Grocery Shopping
Unless you’re grocery shopping at 9 pm at night when the shops are quiet and kid free it is not really the most fun activity!! Below are some great tips on how to make grocery shopping exciting and fun when the kids are in tow.
- Make sure you’ve got a list of items that need to be purchased. This will make the shopping trip quicker.
- If you can, it could even be a great idea to have a list for everyone. The kids can have a list of items that are for them. For eg. Muesli Bars, toothpaste, small yogurts etc.
- If your grocery store offers the kid size trolleys these are great because they make the child feel involved.
- At the beginning of each aisle look at your shopping list and give each child an item to find. If you know exactly what you are looking for give them clues such as colour of packaging, size of box as well as shape.
- Keep in mind where the item might be. It will cause problems if the item you have asked your child to look for is on a high shelf they can’t reach.
- If the children want to and are able, get them to place all their items up on the conveyor belt themselves so they have completed their very own shopping experience!!
7. Preparing Dinner/setting table etc.
Not only do we have to make dinner every night…..and something different for dinner every night too, but we also need to set the table, get the drinks and serve the food! Some families have setting of the table as part of a list of chores, but personally I’ve tried that and it only creates more whining and complaining. So I began running a ‘restaurant’ in my own home.
- Call the kids to ‘start their shift’ as little waiter’s and waitress’s.
- Ask the kids questions such as “what things would we find on the table at a restaurant?” “Would the water already be on the table?” “Do we need napkins at this restaurant?”
- My daughter also loves to draw menus describing the food that I am cooking in the kitchen.
- Once the table is set I usually give them 20cents each as payment and then they can become customers!
- I seat them at our family restaurant, telling them I have already guessed that they would like milk with their dinner.
- After dinner has been eaten and the table has been cleared, it’s lovely to quickly write up a total bill to give to the children. Remember it’s a good idea for the total to not go over the 20 cents you gave them as payment for working in the restaurant earlier.
8. Long car trips
The dreaded long car trip! These car trips usually start off quite calm and everyone is smiley & happy………….then the excitement of going somewhere fades away and the “Are we there yet??” starts. The brother starts ‘annoying’ his sister. The sister begins to yell at her brother. The mum tries to keep the peace and keep everyone quiet while Dad is concentrating on the driving! Until finally Dad explodes, the kids begin to cry and we are exactly back to where we started. When we set off for our long trips interstate I am armed and ready for all that is thrown at me from the back seat!!
- Games are a good way to keep everyone involved and occupied. Obviously ‘I spy with my little eye’ has been around for years, but it’s a great game to play especially when you may have a range of ages participating. You can use the starting letter of an item, the colour of an item, and even a rhyming word of an item. Be sure to repeat guesses when playing with little ones. I know my son changes his mind half way through our guesses!!
- Another great car activity which is great for the whole family is to play a game of Spotto. Make a list of items that have be checked off when seen whilst driving along. Then the first person to tick off or see all the items wins! The prize can be determined at the next stop.
- A great way of passing the time is to tell your kids a ‘real spoken’ story about how their parents met but in a story book kind of way. “Once upon a time there was a boy named George. One day whilst visiting his favourite park he bumped into a lady named Jane…………” Kids love hearing about how their parents met, fell in love, got married etc. Another great story is about the day the kids were born.
9. Running Errands
Most of us have errands to run every week. We build up all our errands so we can run around doing them all at the same time on the same day – usually while the kids are at school, preschool or day care. But what happens when those errands are planned for day where you unexpectedly end up with the kids???
- Make them feel like they are part of a special mission. Tell them a story about the missions that need to be achieved throughout the day. Even let them dress up.
- Talking in whispers and excited tones will help keep their interests and keep the story going.
- The day’s mission can be spoken about at dinner too!
Do you have any other tips or tactics you use to turn a boring activity into a happy family memory? We would love to hear from you. Just comment in the box below. Like the article? Share it with your friends or see our other articles here.