Fun and Easy Games for your Kid’s Party

Finding games that are quick, easy, and will be fun for everyone can be a challenge.  Something that is too long may be hard for the younger ones to keep track of.  Ones involving a lot of running may not work for guests with asthma – so how do you ever find games that are not only fun for everyone, but also easy to create? It isn’t a simple feat.  Here are a few ideas to make your foray into party planning just a little less hectic!

Obstacle course

This can be as complicated or as simple as you want to make it.  Whether you set up a whole course in your backyard or use a series of chairs, ribbons, and clothes, you can make a team game that everyone can enjoy! Make sure that you have enough room for at least 2 teams.  If you have a large backyard, create one long course and do a relay style.  If not, do a game with a consistent relay style for each team member.  For example, the first team members have to run to a large paper roll, run around it three times, then put on a new pair of shoes.  Next person has to run to the paper roll, run around it three times, but put on a shirt!  Whatever you choose to do, this is a fun option that will let you get creative and have some fun while you are at it!

Easy Games for your Kid’s Party

Balloon relay races

This game is especially funny when older kids are doing it.  To play this game, you must run with a balloon between your legs to your teammate, and pass the balloon off to them for their leg.  Whoever completes this task to the finish line first, wins!

Pin the tail on the donkey

A classic, this one is a lot of fun for younger kiddos.  Using Velcro or tape, have the kids try to pin the tail onto the right spot on the donkey. The closest ones get a prize – everyone else gets candy!

A scavenger hunt!

This activity is a great way to use time. Create a hunt that will send them all over, and give you some time to either set up a new game, or kick back and relax for a little while!  Split the kids into two teams, and then give them a beginning clue list. As they move throughout the hints, give clues to each item.  All items should be following a certain theme, and should lead to an ultimate item, theme, or compilation.  This also allows you to use complete creativity and have some fun.  You can also let your child in on the fun – let them pick the theme, and have some say in how many clues there should be, etc. Even with the surprise of what you ultimately pick, they can know that it will be something everyone can enjoy!  Whatever you pick, these simple activities can make a good party great!

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Kid-Friendly BBQ

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Hosting a BBQ is a great way to enjoy good food, nice weather, and relaxed times with friends. If you are looking for ways to include some dishes that the kids at your BBQ will love, read on.

Grilled Food

Kids are notorious for loving hot dogs! Be sure to have plenty of ketchup on hand, since that seems to be the go to condiment staple for kids. Kids also tend to love any finger food, and eating corn on the cob is always a good choice. Why not throw some corn on the grill? To get corn ready for being cooked this way, peel back the surface level part of the husk, and allow corn and husk to soak in water for 15-30 minutes to allow for full moisture absorption. Then, peel back all layers of husk (but keep husk attached) and remove corn silk. Brush the corn with olive oil or butter, as well as some salt and pepper. Pull the husk back up and tie either with twine, or a pulled off piece of husk. Rotate and slowly cook on the grill, and get ready to for some satisfied guests! Remember to avoid serving grilled corn to kids until it is at a suitable temperature.

Side Dishes

An easy and satisfying side dish is sliced raw veggies with dip. Place sliced seasonal veggies in appealing containers that are easy for kids to reach, and use either the all-popular ranch dip, some hummus or make a homemade dip. Another easy and healthy side dish is watermelon slices. Adults and kids alike enjoy biting into a cool and refreshing slice of watermelon goodness!

Desserts

A summer BBQ is no time to heat up the oven. Think simple summer fun as you plan for your desserts. There are great treats such as homemade juice pops that kids will love. Simply take 100% juice and pour it into popsicle molds the day before the party. Smoothies are also a great alternative to ice cream. Place a banana, some grapes and a handful of blueberries in a small blender. Fill remaining space 1/2 with vanilla yogurt, and 1/2 with milk. Blend and serve!

Enjoy your BBQ and having fun times with friends! It's really not hard to cater to the kids in attendance. Chances are, the above mentioned food items will be equally enjoyed by the adults at your party, and everyone will be eating simple, healthy and tasty offerings!

 

Finding Some Me Time

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A common struggle for most mothers is trying to find a few minutes to get away and have some alone time to escape the chaos and noise that is often a norm when raising kids. Whether spending 30 minutes soaking in a bubble bath to getting a pedicure at the local salon, there are a number of ways to feel rejuvenated once every week or two. Schedule some time in advance, so the weeks don't slip by while you're thinking "next week" there will be time.

Journal Over Coffee

One of the best ways to get a bit of R and R for the day is to slip away to a coffee shop and enjoy journaling to catch up on thoughts and dreams for the future. Not only is it extremely therapeutic, but it's a great way to discover more about yourself without feeling like your identity is consumed with motherhood.

Go For a Walk

Whether taking the dog along or going solo, taking a walk through the neighborhood will provide peace of mind and a bit of exercise. Not only will the mobility release endorphins, but it's a great way to enjoy some peace and quiet while getting fresh air.

Grab Dessert

Spending an hour or two alone doesn't need to be complicated. In fact, it oftentimes has to be simple when leaving kids at home with a sitter or a spouse. Enjoy having fun by getting a scoop of ice cream to enjoy for a guilt-free experience that doesn't involve anyone but you (no sharing!). You can read a good book or even people watch while enjoying the dessert.

See a Movie

For just two hours, a great way to escape is by catching a movie at the local theater. You can enjoy grabbing a bag of popcorn that doesn't need to be shared, while sitting wherever you want and watching a film that appeals to your preference...all without interruptions. Plan ahead by purchasing the movie ticket earlier in the week to prevent procrastination and to have something to look forward to in your hectic schedule.

Enroll in a Class

Spend time learning more about a hobby you have by taking a class at a community center for a bit of fun. It will force you to get away at least once a week while investing time in yourself with a passion that can include cooking, photography, or even creating art. Plan ahead to ensure you reserve a space before the class becomes full.

 

Make Taking Their Lunch Fun

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Kids are notoriously picky eaters. It's hard enough to make something they'll like for a meal at home, so how are you supposed to make your child's school lunch enjoyable and healthy at the same time? Here are some tips for you to help your child realize that bringing a lunch to school can be fun.

Bite Sizes

Smaller foods are often more fun to eat. Instead of giving your child a whole sandwich, cut it up into triangles. Rather than packing him a complete orange, section it out for him and put it in a small container.

Surprise Inside

Wanting your child to eat healthy doesn't mean that you can never give him junk food. Once a week, put a small candy bar or bag of chips in your child's lunch box. To make him even more excited, change the day each week so he won't know in advance.

Sectioned Containers

When you're a kid, food usually isn't very appetizing if it's touching other food. To make sure your child's crackers aren't contaminated with broccoli, use sectioned containers. This can also help your child like sandwiches better. Keeping all the sandwich ingredients separate will keep the bread from getting soggy.

Same Meal, Same Day

If your child really wants whatever is being served at school, pack them the same thing. For instance, you could pack your child English muffins, spaghetti sauce, shredded cheese, and sandwich meat so they can make their own pizzas on pizza day.

Themes

Choosing a theme for your child's noon-time meal can make eating away from home more enjoyable for him. You could choose to only pack green food for a day, then only give him circular food the next. You could even make food from a certain culture.

Notes

Pack a note with your child's food every day to make it more fun. The notes could hint at what you're planning to make for supper, or they could each contain a word for your child to arrange into a sentence once he has them all. Simple puzzles are fun for older children.

You can pack foods with a certain theme or just stick a bite size candy bar in your child's bag once a week. Either way, your child might resist taking food from home at first, but he'll start to enjoy it once he realizes how fun it can be.

 

Zoo Day

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Animals Make Everyone Happier

If you are a mom who always wants to give your kids new experiences, then they will absolutely love spending time looking at animals. Whether or not you have pets at your home, kids enjoy looking at them and petting them if they can. If you are unsure how your kids would react to seeing a lot of animals, it may be a good idea to spend a day at your local zoo first to get a sense of what types they are attracted to. If they seem to have fun and aren't scared of them, then taking them to a petting farm or zoo another day would give them an even bigger thrill.

Your kids may not know what to expect when you tell them you are taking them to a zoo, so there are a few things you can do to prepare them. Ensure them that all of the wildlife that they see will be in a cage or enclosure and can't get out. Some of them can be intimidating so you don't want their experience to be ruined because of fear. Try to give them a visual of what to expect. Explain that there will be a lot of other people and kids there and they will all be having fun. Of course, you need to do your motherly duties as well and make sure you pack drinks, food, sunscreen, hats, etc. to make their first experience great.

Most kids will love the different wildlife they see and want to go back. If that is the case, then you could give them a different experience and take them to a petting farm. A quick search online for petting farms in your area is a good place to start looking for one. Some companies may even bring the farm to your backyard if you are having an event, like a birthday party, for your child. Kids will have even more fun petting and riding anything from horses, sheep and goats to give them a great interactive experience.

So the next time you want to give your kids a new experience, consider going to a place that it focused on animals. Hopefully, they will be fascinated by them and want to go back more often. A zoo is a great place for a safe family atmosphere that your kids will surely enjoy no matter their age.

4th of July Fun

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The fact that fireworks aren’t allowed in your city doesn’t mean you can’t have an Independence Day celebration. You and your family can still have some fun of the 4th of July. Here’s how you can provide a fun-filled Fourth, regardless of those pesky city ordinances.

Depending on the age of your kids, they may get excited about turning off the lights and making hand puppets on the wall. For older children, turn off the lights and use flashlights for a fun game of hide-and-seek with the whole family. Or play another game the kids are always begging to play, but you don't usually have time for in your hectic life.

Many people go camping for the holidays. When that isn’t an option, bring the camp to your living room! You can pitch an actual tent. Just make sure it is the right size to fit in your living room. If you are not that adventurous, you can use blanket for a make-shift tent. And if you have a good backyard space, it's perfect for at-home camping. Don’t forget to use those flashlights!

Watching a movie may not seem like good quality time, but when you bring out the popcorn and snuggle-up it can be a bonding experience. There are some patriotic movies younger children may enjoy. Some of them include This is America Charlie Brown, Liberty’s Kids, and the all-time favorite American Tale. A good patriotic movie for older children is Captain America. Be sure to look at the rating for what you are okay with your children watching. And you can time the movie so it's over before the broadcast of your local fireworks starts.

What is more American than food? Make some burgers and fries for a traditional July 4th meal. If cooking isn't your thing, put together some sandwiches and have a “picnic” in the living room. Cupcakes make a great dessert. For an even more exciting touch, have the kids decorate them by making fireworks with sprinkles and icing.

Many cities have free city-wide fireworks show. If your family won’t settle for less, pack up the picnic and head to the show.

Don’t let the lack of fireworks ruin your 4th of July fun. Celebrating indoors can be just as exciting. No matter if you are indoors or out, your children will remember that you made an effort to make their night special.

 

Simple Ideas to Create Family Fun Times

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Between work and other obligations, it's hard enough to spend quality time with their kids. When moms finally do get some free time, the last thing they want to do is waste it grasping for family-friendly activities and taking precious hours away from themselves and their kids. Here are some simple ideas that will help you create family fun times.

Mom and Daughter Day Spa

The price of a day spa for yourself is high enough. Taking your daughter or daughters along can really strain the budget. Fortunately, you can get all of the benefit without the price tag. In fact, it'll likely be even more enjoyable. Set aside an occasional day when you all treat yourselves and each other to an at-home spa treatment. Break out the lotions, scrubs, nail polish and makeup. If you really want to go all-out, you can even do each other's hair. Make sure that you have plenty of refreshments.

Homestyle Restaurant

Everyone knows that going out for dinner can cost the proverbial arm and a leg. This can put a big damper on your plans for family fun, especially if none of the adults in the house feels like cooking. However, it can actually be an opportunity in disguise. While you sit back and relax, let the kids prepare and serve dinner for everyone. There are a lot of things that are safe and easy for even young children to make. Sandwiches, salads, drinks, desserts and appetizers are all simple ideas created with basic ingredients and minimal tools or assistance. For you, the experience will be even more enjoyable if you can convince them to clean up the mess afterward.

Backyard Camp-Out

Whether you live in the big city, the middle of suburbia or a small town, it can be hard to find a good campground within a reasonable distance from your home. Camping is an excellent family activity, but the planning, spot reservations, packing and long drive can suck the joy out of the experience, turning it into a hassle. A great solution to this is having a backyard camp-out. Buy an inexpensive tent, get some sleeping bags together and grab some ingredients for camp fire grub. A good flash light will aid you in telling creepy stories before bed. For added excitement, take the kids around the yard with the flashlight after dark. Let them see how many night-dwelling insects and critters they can find.  And if you don't want to bother with the tent, you can still do a cookout. Grab the marshmallows!

 

Mom Review: Castle Bounce House

bouncehouseI am writing this while listening to my children hop, jump and squeal.  It's a little distracting...but I can't complain.

I recently purchased a Castle Inflatable Bounce House w/ Slide (12' x 9') from Amazon.com and thought I would share my thoughts with you about this product.

We used it for the first time during our Father's Day BBQ.  My kids (5 & 6 and my *almost* seven year old nephew) played in it for at least an hour.  I used it again at my daughter's birthday party one week later.  All of the children (ages 3-7) had a great time.  The only downfall...they had to take turns because it is only large enough to hold 3-4 children at a time safely.

While I was afraid I would only use the bounce house for big events - my children have been using it at least twice per week.  On rainy days - we bring it indoors and on warmer days they pull it under the shade trees.

Set up for the bounce house is simple. In fact, my 6 year old daughter is able to drag it out of our backyard shed, plug it in and start it up.  It is also fairly light and easy to maneuver.  Just the other day I set it up in our basement when I wanted the kids to get some rainy-day exercise.

What I love most about this particular bounce house is that my children also use it as a playhouse.  They've draped blankets over the top to turn it into a "movie theater" and have loaded it full of stuffed animals to create an "animal hospital".

Overall, I am thrilled with this purchase.  I bought it for $249 at Amazon.com and have since seen lower prices on the internet.  It has been well worth the cost during the summer months and I expect that during the cold winter months it will be a great addition to the basement play area!