University of Illinois Extension
Skipnavigation Nibbles ... Ideas for Families

Kids & Food
Help Your Child Succeed
Your Child's Health
Challenges of Parenting
Learning to Get Along
Playtime Is Fun Time
The Day Care Routine

Activities Parents and Children Can Do Together

Time out is important for children and adults. As an adult with a highly structured schedule, you may view time to play with your child(ren) as almost a "waste of time". Yet, you and your child need that relaxing time together.

Commercially, we have dozens of props from which to choose: Sports equipment, games, toys, videos. However, the most fascinating activities may come from the "something from almost nothing" category. These ideas represent a variety of skills and attention as the child creates and you work near by.

Box City

Collect cereal, pudding, gelatin, oatmeal, etc. boxes, clean milk and juice cartons...develop a city on a garage or basement floor where streets, trees,and stop signs can be drawn in with chalk.

Scavenger Hunt

On a day, unrelated to the activity, create a list of things from nature and file it away. Later, take a walk and collect...it'll not be as fresh in your mind and will be challenging for all.

Walk Bins

Using 4 to 10 plastic dish pans, fill each with something different: styrofoam packing pellets, straw, sand, pebbles--with the last one being water. Roll up pant legs and step through bare-footed. If children under 3 years of age participate, avoid small items that could be placed in their mouths.

Giant Bubbles

One cup detergent, 1/2 cup glycerin, 1 gallon water. Thread 10 inches of kite string through two plastic straws and tie into a big hoop. Push knot back in straw. Place detergent mixture in plastic dish pan. Carefully dip hoop in soap and lift. Bubbles will drift out.

Shave Cream

Spray clean counter with mounds of shave cream. "Finger paint" and create with foam.

I. . .

. . . am thinking of something...to eat that starts with the letter "m"

. . . see something you don't see...give clues (ex: and it's blue).

Take time out for a little fun. It'll be memorable for you and your family.