Photo courtesy of Olmanson Photography
It’s 6:30 p.m. You just walked in the door, kiddo in tow, and set your handfuls of bags down from the day. You have an hour and a half to fit in family dinner, bathtime, and 8:00 bedtime… and time to connect with your child or children. Decompress? That maybe happens after cleaning up from dinner, preparing lunches for the following day, reading the piled-too-high mail, shoveling the walk and driveway yet again, doing a much needed load of laundry, and returning a few phone calls or emails. Decompression post 10 p.m. is just sleep deprivation when you have an early rising toddler.
You’ve got a day to spend with your child, and a to do list that could outlive you both. Amidst the four hours of house cleaning, four hours of work or homework you intend to do, three hours of errands you’d like to run, nevermind that two hour nap you’ve needed for weeks; you’ve got appointments to make, yard work, a dog to groom… you’re hoping to spend some part of the day connecting with your child.
Maybe you have nothing but time and like a little parent-to-parent sharing. I rely on it. Whether you have a partner in crime to tag team with, you want to hang out with your kiddo. Sometimes five minutes is what you have and makes all the difference. And not just for your child.
No age restrictions here - just 5 minute One-A-Day’s when you and your kiddo are ready for some fun, and time is not of the essence. Key here is spending time together. Minimal materials needed… just you+kiddo.
One-A-Days: 5 minutes of fun with the kiddo(s)
|1. Floor play:Imagine you’re different animals and pretend/act out/play your parts||2. Explore the yard:
Take a 5-10 minute walk outside the door: lift up rocks, feel leaves, smell the air
|3. Dress-up fun:
Raid Mom or Dad’s or anyone’s closet and play the role and play up the dram
|4. Child reads:Ask your child to “read you a story”. Let her/him tell the story according to memory or illustrations.||5. Scavenger hunt:
a. Energy: turn off things not in use (lights, fans, tv, etc)*
b. Things that match
c. Red things
d. “shapes” in the house
*wearing capes encouraged
|6. Create a snack together:
Ants on a log, toast, fruit salad, fruit and cheese kabobs, fruit sculptures, smoothies, etc
|7. Play perspectives:Grab any object or identify a furniture piece, then pose questions to each other, “What could a mouse use this for? A giant, a whale, family?”||8. Magic paint:Draw on paper with crayons, then watercolor paint over the crayons||9. Dance party:
Take turns choosing the music or create your own: Move and groove- all around the floor
|10. ABC voices:Sing, count or say ABC’s in different voices: mouse, opera, baby, dinosaur, silly, etc.|
|11. Build & create:
Use Tupperware, blocks or anything you find
|12. Build a fort or a clubhouse:
Use chairs, pillows, blankets, sofa, or snow
|13. Many motions:Move around the room like you’re a penguin, bird, caterpillar, puppy, baby, etc.||14. Invent an instrument/band:
What instrument(s) can you & your child invent from the drawer or cupboard? Songs?
|15. Count in a new language:
Google it & practice, your child will learn faster than you
|16. Memory game:
Make your own or use one already made
|17. Push brooms:
Push brooms or swiffers around together, floors may even get cleaner
|18. Swap jokes:
Google if you need ideas
|19. Hide ‘n Seek:
Timeless, and pretty hilarious with a toddler
|20. Ice sculptures:
Freeze a small, freezer-safe object in a cup of water. Reveal & watch melt in shallow baking pan.
It’s a big deal.
|22. Draw together:
Could start with lines, circles, then sky’s the limit.
|23. Count around the room:
Count to 3, 10, 100, infinity with books, toys, crayons, and more
|24. Look at family photos together:
On your PC, in an album or in a random stack
|25. Take photos together:
Make memories, what funny photos can you take?
|26. Wikki stix:
Worth the investment, make letters, numbers, words, pictures…
Channel gym class, jumping jacks, stretches, yoga, low risk here
Bounce back ‘n forth, roll, juggle, toss in laundry basket: can get hysterical
|29. Make a “fun” to do list together:
Prioritize this list or create your own
|30. Learn a new song:
From your memory or make one up about your pet, your home, etc.