A Millionaire in the Making- Kids and Money

Photo by Stoica Ionela on Unsplash

 

Every parent wants to raise a child to be a responsible adult.

One of the biggest challenges for parents is teaching kids how to use their money wisely. The ability to do this will determine if your child can afford college, if they can provide for their family, if they are comfortable or stressed, if they can get a house, if they can stay out of debt, and if they are in control of their lives.

The importance of teaching children about money cannot be over-stressed.

So how do you teach a child to be smart with his or her money?

Here’s my top money lessons for parents to teach their kids.

Preparation For Parents: Get in the Right Mindset

First- Parents, let’s level with each other.

Money and kids are tough topics to discuss together. That’s because money is kind of a tough, unforgiving fact of life. And it’s your baby that we’re talking about!

It can be difficult for parents to ask their kids to do anything, well, difficult. Like deal with money.

Remember that you have a limited time to teach your child necessary skills before they are thrown to the cold, heartless world. Either you can teach them what they need to know, or life will teach them. And life is a B!*&#.

It’s much better for you to teach them. You love them, you’re patient, you can give them second chances. Life won’t show any love or patience. They might get second chances, but only with extreme consequences- like bankruptcy, bad credit, and debt.

Lots of people assume that teaching about money can wait until their kids are older. After all, who wants to think about money beyond the day to day grind of saving, earning, and spending?

But, don’t waste time! Research shows that children form money habits by 7 years old. (See ‘Habit Forming and Learning in Young Children’, Dr. David Whitebread and Dr. Sue Bingham)

Let me say that again…. 7 years old!!

That’s no time at all! And the impact is huge- it will affect the rest of their lives!

So let’s get started.

Click the image below for a great resource on teaching children about responsible finances!

Lesson 1: Money is Hard to Get

  • Common Mistake #1: Many parents shell out money to their kids even when the child hasn’t earned it. 

Allowances are the worst and most obvious example of this. From my point of view, an allowance is being paid just for living. No work necessary. Just stay at home, do nothing, and get paid. Is anyone going to pay you for inhaling and exhaling as an adult? Not at all! So it’s not a good idea to teach your kids that this is part of life. You have to work if you want to earn money!

  • Common Mistake #2: Many parents give too much money for too little work. 

Parents, how hard do you work for your money? Pretty darn hard!

Parents, how much time do you put in for your money? A lot!

Kids aren’t ready for an adult level of time and effort, but they do need to be prepared for the level of energy and time that they will be expected to invest into making a living as an adult. Giving them a lot of money for an easy task isn’t helpful. It’s better than giving them money for nothing, but it teaches them that money is easy to get. And it isn’t. Your job isn’t easy, is it?

Don’t adults get paid less if the job requires less skill? Flipping burgers pays less than being a doctor. And that’s ok. Mimic this concept in your child’s life.

Find an appropriate task that challenges your child. The greater the challenge, the greater the compensation. Teach new skills that the child will need to earn greater amounts of money.

On the flip side, the easier the task, the less he gets for it.

The first lesson for a child to learn is that hard work pays.

Don’t trust your kids with real money yet? Try using these educational tools! Click the image below!

Lesson 2: The Money You Have is Limited

  • Common Mistake 3: If the child doesn’t have enough money for something they really want, I’ll just buy it for them.

Is anyone going to bail your child out as an adult every time he can’t afford something? No! So don’t do it now.

Teach your child that he has to wait and save for purchases. If he doesn’t save, he can’t get things he wants.

  • Common Mistake 4: If the child is going to make an impulse buy or is going to spend his money on something he’ll regret later, I’ll stop him from making the purchase in order to save him from the pain later on. 

Let the child make choices and get excited about what they want to buy. When they get distracted by potential impulse buys, remind them of their end goal. Remind them that if they purchase something now, they won’t have the money they need for the thing that they really want.

Talking through purchases like this makes your child conscious of the choices that he or she is making instead of simply responding to his own whims.

If a child insists on purchasing something impulsively, allow this to be a learning opportunity. Don’t just save him from making a mistake. This will reinforce your teaching about saving when the child realizes that he can’t afford something he wants later because he spent the money now.

Money hurts sometimes. It’s much better for a child to feel it buying Legos rather than experiencing this pain for the first time when he’s upside-down in a home loan.

Let a little pain happen now to avoid big pain later.

Don’t bail out your child because he’s a little sad right now. Let him learn.

Click the image below for a great resource to teach your kids about money!

Lesson 3: Money is not Guaranteed

  • Common Mistake 5: Money just keeps flowing from mom and dad with no end. Even if the kid is working for it, he assumes that he has hit a bottomless well that he can dip into at any time that he wants.

A while back, I heard this story about a young family.

The oldest 3 children wanted to participate in swimming lessons during the summer. It is a great goal, and something the family had done previously.

The only problem is that swimming lessons cost $50 per child, and the family was in a tougher financial position then they had been in previous years. They simply did not have $150 to send all 3 children to swim lessons.

When the parents tried to explain to the children that there was no money for swimming lessons, the kids quickly asked “Can we work for it? We can clean in the house, or we can do things in the yard!”

The parents had to explain that, although they would love to pay the children for doing jobs around the house, there really was no money. The parents could not pay them even for working.

It would be easy to end the story here. Sad kids, no swim lessons. Still a good lesson in finances. But these were good thoughtful parents who didn’t let things stop there.

Although the children were young, the parents talked to friends, family, and neighbors to see if the children could do odd jobs around their homes to earn a few bucks here and there.

With new avenues available to earn money, the parents and kids got to work. Thanks to a combined family effort, the kids were able to earn the money for their swim lessons even though their parents did not have the cash at the time.

This is a tough experience for everyone, but it taught the children that you can’t put your eggs in one basket.

Children who assume that money is an endless well turn into adults who make purchases before they can afford them, counting on that bonus that they’ll get next quarter. Of course, we know that that bonus might not come or it might be needed elsewhere by the time next quarter rolls around.

These are adults who get into massive credit card debt or who fail to save money for hard times.

They assume that because they have a job now, they will always have that income. Jobs come and go. Income is not for sure.

Help children learn to that they must have the cash in hand before they can make purchases. No parents’ credit for kids. No debt. And if they want to be able to buy things they will need in the future, they should have a glass jar or a piggy bank to put money aside in.

Teach children- Money is no guarantee. Have savings. Don’t buy until you have cash. Avoid debt.

Click the image below! Electronic, password protected piggy bank!

Lesson 4: Money can be Used for Good or Bad

  • Common Mistake 6: Teach kids the nitty gritty about money and forget about the ethics.

Once you become a responsible adult, you have responsibilities to your community.

Give back. Help others out. Serve your community. Be a friend and a neighbor.

Do good things with your money.

That’s the only way to have a positive focus about your money. People who are focused on what their money can do for them become greedy and desensitized to others’ needs.

Teach your kids to be generous by finding a reasonable way for them to share what they have. They can give a dollar to a charity or a church, they can donate to a hospital, they can buy a small gift for someone else at Christmas.

Teach children to be giving.

Click the image below for a great resource on teaching your child to save, share, and invest!

Lesson 5: Show Kids What it Looks Like

  • Common Mistake 7: Try to teach my kid to be better than I am willing to be.

None of this works without a good example to look up to.

If parents aren’t willing to do all these things for themselves- avoid debt, save money, avoid impulse buys, be generous to others, wait for things you want- then the kids won’t internalize it.

Show your child what these habits look like in daily life.

Point out when you do something right and why you made that choice. Don’t be afraid to teach them when you make a mistake too. We don’t need to hide our failures from our kids. If kids are allowed to see us mess up and fix our mistakes, they won’t have unrealistic expectations for themselves to be perfect, and hopefully they will learn from your mistake rather than making the same mistake themselves.

Teach the ultimate lesson on finances by being in control of your own money.

In all your efforts with your children, remember to be real. Teach them what it’s like to be an adult in a child-friendly and age-appropriate way.

Those things might seem contradictory. You can accomplish both by thinking a real life adult situation that you want to teach (like money) and simplifying it. It’s like instead of baking a cake from scratch, you are giving your kid a cake mix in a box to make. It’s simpler, it fits their level of understanding, but it also gets the job done in a real way.

Still have questions? Take advantage of a great book that will help you teach your child about money! Click the image below!

Have fun with your little entrepreneurs as they earn their first money and make their first purchases!!!

Sincerely,

Mrs. S

Share this post with any parent who is trying to raise a child to be a responsible adult!

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Over 60 Indoor Activities for a Rainy Day

Photo by Max Bender on Unsplash

 

Hey parents,

Are you stuck indoors?

Are your kids getting antsy?

Are things getting loud and crazy since your kids are cooped up with no way to let their energy out? And I’m sure your energy is depleting by the second.

Here are some great indoor activities that will save the day! Just keep a few of these tucked up your sleeve for those rainy days and your kids will be entertained for hours!

  1. Build a fort.

This is a classic activity that every kid loves! All you need is something for a base (chairs, card table, couches) and blankets to cover the top. You can make an extensive and detailed fort with windows, doors, hallways, various rooms, etc. Or just a basic fort.

2. Create a maze of string.

The parent asks all the kids to hide in their room for a while. While they are away, the parent ties one end of the string to the doorknob of the child’s room. Then the parent loops and winds the string all over the house. The child has to follow the string to the end. The parent can make it a “hide and seek” game by hiding an object at the end of the string. If there are multiple kids, they can work together and follow the same string or they can each have their own string of a different color.

Click the image below!

3. Play “Hot and Cold”

Choose an object in the house to hide. One person leaves the room while the others decide on where to hide the object. When the object is hidden, the seeker begins to look for it. Everyone else gives the seeker clues. If they are moving in the right direction towards the object, they say “hotter…” but if the seeker is going in the wrong direction away from the hidden object, they say “colder….” These clues help the seeker find the hidden object.

4. Play “Hide and Go Seek”… with a twist.

This is a classic game. Everyone hides while one person covers their eyes. The seeker counts to a designated number (usually 30). Once he is done counting, he can begin looking for the hidden people until he finds everyone! There are some twists to this game to make it fun and new!

-Once you have been found by the seeker, you can sneak away and hide again if he is not looking.

-Hidden people can change their hiding places instead of staying in one place.

-Hidden people can give clues to the seeker, like making noise.

-Once you are found, you can help the seeker find the rest of the hidden people.

-All the hidden people can hide as a group, making it more difficult to find a good hiding place.

-One person can hide while everyone else is seeking.

-For very young children, everyone can hide partially in view.

5. Have a dance party.

Everyone loves a dance party! Just turn on your favorite music and let loose! You can teach your children new dance moves, they can teach you dance moves, you can have a dance off, etc.

We love to change the genre of music we are dancing to. We tell the kids to do whatever dance they think best represents the music. We put on lots of different things, like country, hip hop, classical, kids tunes, etc. to see what dances our kids come up with!

The kids also love choosing what songs they want to dance to.

6. Go “camping” in the living room.

Indoor camping features include a tent (if you don’t have one, you can build one with blankets), a sleeping bag (or blankets folded into a sleeping bag), pillows, marshmallows and/or hot dogs, flashlights, stuffed animals, etc.

Set up your tent and other supplies in the living room, a bedroom, or the back porch.

Click on the image below!

7. Watch a movie with a twist.

Make a movie night more exciting and interactive. Everyone chooses a word, color, number, etc. to look for throughout the movie. Whoever finds the most wins!

8. Create a scavenger hunt.

Create lists of items to find. Have races to see who can find each item on their list the fastest! Topics can include: things we use every day, things we can see outside from the window, things that make noise, our favorite things, etc. There are many variations on how to play.

-To build memory skills, you can ask a child to find three items and see if they can remember all three.

-To practice writing and creative thinking, the child can write their own list for a given topic and then find the objects.

-To practice reading, the parent can write the list down and ask the child to complete the scavenger hunt without help.

9. Find something that starts with every letter of the alphabet.

This is a great game for 4-5 year olds, but kids of all ages enjoy it. Walk around the house together looking for an object that starts with the letter A. This might be an apple, an avocado, an airplane, or the alphabet. Once you have found something that starts with A, look for something that starts with B. Continue through the entire alphabet.

10. Play “The Floor is Lava”.

Begin the game by standing on the couches. The floor is “lava.” Anyone who touches the floor is out. The goal is for the group to get from point A (the couch) to point B (anywhere you want- the kitchen, a bedroom, etc.). Use household items to stand on, such as couch cushions, pieces of paper, toys, etc.- Anything to keep you from stepping on the “lava”. Try to get the whole group across the lava without touching it using only the items you have around you.

11. Teach your kids “Rhythm games”.

There are lots of rhymes and songs that accompany a rhythm that the participants make by clapping, stomping feet, or patting their legs.

Make a rhythm (Ex: Clap, clap, pat. Clap, clap, pat.) Everyone joins in and must keep the rhythm steady. Sing a song to go with the rhythm without losing the rhythm or try one of these ideas!

-Think of a topic, such as colors, celebrities, shapes, states, etc. Begin the rhythm. On each down beat (the first beat in a rhythm- for example, if the rhythm is “Clap, snap, pat, Clap, snap, pat” then the downbeat is the clap), the person must say something that fits under that topic. For example, if the topic were states, I could say “Arizona” on the downbeat. Then the next person has to think of a different state to say on the next downbeat. You are out if you miss the downbeat, if you can’t think of a new state to say, if you repeat a state that has already been said, or if you get off rhythm.

-Each person is assigned an animal. The group makes a rhythm. On the downbeat, the first person says the animal of anyone else in the group. That person must then keep the rhythm and say someone else’s animal name on the following downbeat. For example: Person 1 says “Cat” on the downbeat. The cat person says “Horse” on the following downbeat. The horse person says “Bird” on the following downbeat. You are out if you get off beat, if you forget your animal, or if you forget the animals of the other people in the group.

12. Finger paint.

Messy, but worth it! Put down a drop cloth, an old table cloth, or an old shower curtain to limit the mess. Make sure you wear old clothes that can get stained, or choose washable paints (click the image below)!

13. Try to paint on a piece of paper that is hanging from a string.

This is creative art. Tape one end of string to a piece of paper. Tape the other end to the table. This will hang the piece of paper in the air. The child sits on the ground and tries to paint with the paper moving around!

It is best to put some kind of cloth underneath to limit the mess.

14. Cover the table in paper and color the whole thing!

Use your hands, feet, elbows. This is a great chance to get some energy out while using gross and fine motor skills!

This and many other crafts are easier with large butcher paper. Click the image below!

15. Have a colored bath.

Put food coloring in with your bath water! It does not stain skin or the bathtub.

We enjoy starting out by putting a few drops of one color into the water, like blue. The child can watch the color spread until the whole bath is blue. Then, we add another color, like red, and guess what will happen to the color of the bath. It is so exciting to see the color slowly change to purple.

Click the image below!

16. Cook together.

This is a great way to get something done that you have to do anyways- but still entertain the kids! Dinner is ready, and everyone had fun.

If you need to use eggs in a recipe, I recommend having the children crack the eggs into a separate bowl first. That way, if there are egg shells in the egg, you can get them out easier rather than having egg shells mixed in with your food.

17. Play “Zip your Lip.”

Choose a “buzz word” that is off limits for the day. If you catch someone saying the “buzz word” they are out! See who lasts the longest without saying the word.

You can also give each child 5 clothes pins to put on their shirt sleeve. If you catch someone saying the buzz word, you get to take one of their clothes pins and put it on your sleeve. Whoever has the most clothes pins in the end wins! This can be a fun variation because nobody is ever “out”. If you run out of clothes pins, you just keep listening for others to say the buzz word and you can get your clothes pins back!

Click on the image below!

18. Play charades.

Write down lots of things that a child can act out. These can be easier for younger kids or more difficult for older kids. Some ideas include: animals, movie characters, actions like going fishing or wrapping a present, or places. Write each thing on a separate piece of paper. The child draws one piece of paper and they must act out that thing without making any noise. The rest of the group tries to guess what they are acting out.

19. Play the “Telephone game”.

Everyone sits in a row. The first person in the row thinks of any phrase. They whisper it to the next person. That person repeats what they heard to the next person, and it continues down the line. You can only whisper to each person once- no clarifying! The last person says what he heard out loud to the group. At this point, the phrase has usually been changed as it was passed down the line. Often, it doesn’t even make any sense! The first person shares what the original phrase was.

20. Build something with household objects, like silverware, toothpicks, qtips, etc.

This is a great game to build creativity and problem solving skills! And it’s just plain fun.

21. Tell stories.

These can be true stories- parents can tell about their childhood, kids can tell their favorite family vacations, etc.- or they can be unique stories that we imagine.

22. Tell stories- with a twist.

This is a group story telling activity. Each person gets to participate in telling the story- but each person can only say one sentence to add to the story at a time. The first person starts out with one sentence to begin the story (Ex: “Once upon a time, there lived a fair maiden.”) Then the next person continues the story (Ex: “She lived in Narnia!”). Everyone gets a turn to say one sentence at a time.

The story often takes many unexpected twists and turns as each person gets to put their own unique spin on things.

23. Do the limbo!

This is great for kids who need to get some energy out. Find a stick (a broom handle works great). Two people hold each end of the stick high in the air. The participant must walk under the stick leaning backwards without letting any part of their body touch the stick. If they make it, they get to try again with the stick a little lower. Gradually, the stick is closer and closer to the ground and it becomes more and more difficult to limbo under the stick! You are out if you touch the stick, if you fall, or if you touch the ground.

Click the image below!

24. Try yoga poses, somersaults, standing on your head, or other tricky poses!

These are great to help kids use energy in a focused way instead of being crazy! These kinds of tasks also build coordination.

25. Have races with random objects.

Roll marbles down a ramp, race cars across the table, slide washers down a string, etc.

26. Play card games.

Some of my favorites to play with kids are: Spot It, Go Fish, Uno, Old Maid, Crazy 8’s, and War (in this one, all you have to do is flip over two cards and the winner is the person with the highest card).

Click the image below!

27. Play board games.

I really like Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders because they can be played with all ages.

There are lots of great games for every age group!

Click the images below!

28. Mix food coloring in a cup.

Guess what color the water will change to next??

This can also be a fun thing to do while cooking. For example, the kids can choose what color to make the pancakes.

29. Create your own board game or card game.

The rules don’t usually make sense when kids make their own games, but they have a blast doing it!

All they need is paper and crayons to decorate their cards or board game. Oh, and a patient parent who is willing to play a game with no structure in which the child is sure to be the winner in the end.

30. Ask each other “get to know you” questions.

These are great for some relaxing fun. They also help a parent get to know the ins and outs of their child’s life.

Fun topics include: the child’s future, the child’s favorite things, the child’s fears, the child’s friends, the child’s day to day routine, events coming up, fun memories, things they would like to do, etc.

Click the image below!

31. Don’t let the balloon touch the ground!

I tried this game with a ball once. I recommend the balloon because there is less of a chance that the balloon will break something.

The game is simple- throw the balloon in the air and work as a team to keep it up. Don’t let it touch the ground!

Click the image below.

32. Try science experiments.

Mix water and corn starch. Roll the mixture into a ball. When it is moving, it is a solid. As soon as it is still for a few seconds, it settles and dissolves into a liquid.

Color a jar of water with your favorite food coloring. Put white flowers into the colored water. The flowers will soak up the color from the water!

Put pop rocks into a bottle of soda. Put a balloon over the opening. The balloon will inflate!

Mix borax and glue to make homemade slime.

Use lemon juice as invisible ink. Write a message to someone, then use a blow drier to read the message.

Click the image below!

33. Read a story.

Books are wonderful. Reading to children when they are young will foster a love of reading and learning that will last into adulthood.

Click on the image below!

34. Write your own story.

This is great practice for writing in school! Tell your child that they are going to be the author and illustrator of their very own book! Then sit back and watch them imagine and create.

35. Tell jokes.

What do you call a bear with no teeth? Gummy bear!

Click on the image below!

36. Count cars that drive by the window.

For more fun, each person can choose one color of car to count. Whoever counts the most cars of their color wins!

37. Think of something you can do to make a friend smile.

Tell a joke, make them something, write them a letter, tell them thank you, give them a hug….

38. Write a letter to someone who lives far away.

Tell them everything you are up to. Ask them about themselves. Tell them your favorite memories of the two of you. Tell them what you miss about them.

39. Call your grandparents.

This is a great way to teach your kids to think about others as well as develop strong friendships with their extended family.

40. Plan a vacation.

Dream of places you would love to go. Get online and research sites you could see, restaurants to eat at, hotels you could stay in, etc. Learn about the culture and language of that area.

Click on the image below!

41. Make a budget.

Yes, this is a great activity for kids.

It doesn’t sound exciting, but kids get super excited to save money for something that they really want. Help them think of ways to earn money. Then identify what they need to spend money on and help them realize that the only way to get the things they want is to save some of their money in a special place until they have enough for the things they want.

Then stick to your guns. Don’t give them extra money for no reason or step in and buy them the thing they were saving for. That ruins the fun and the learning.

Click on the image below for an educational piggy bank!

42. Look for something to fix around the house.

Leaky faucet? Does the dresser need a fresh coat of paint? Is there a tear in the couch?

Kids are super excited to do things they have never done before. This can be a great opportunity to teach them some life skills and also get things checked off your to do list!

43. Sew something simple together- like a bean bag or a pillow case.

Square objects tend to be the easiest because you only have to sew in straight lines. Kids can learn to sew by hand or to use a sewing machine- whatever is safer for your child.

Click on the image below!

44. Tie a fleece blanket.

This is an easy project that can be a lot of fun! Buy two pieces of fleece material- each 1.5-3 yards. One piece will be the top and one piece will be the bottom of your blanket. It is fun to get patterns that are different but that still match.

Cut your material to the size and shape that you want. Both pieces should be exactly the same size and shape.

Cut fringes along all edges of the fleece. Each fringe should be about 3 inches long and 1 inch thick. When you get to the corners, cut out the corners to match the fringe length.

The fringes should be exactly the same on both pieces of material.

Tie each coordinating fringe together. This will hold the front and back together.

Or, get a kit that will take you step by step through the process by clicking on the image below!

45. Learn about your culture or ancestors.

Do family history research to learn who your ancestors were. Read their stories. Learn about their culture. Try to incorporate that culture into your own life.

46. Plant seeds.

You can use the old-fashioned dirt in a pot method, or you can plant seeds in a Ziploc bag. Place the seed in the Ziploc bag. Get a few cotton balls wet and put them into the Ziploc bag with the seed. Tape the bag to a window. Watch the seed grow!

Click on the image below for a great sunflower starter kit!

47. Make a “dream board.”

Think of your perfect future. What would your job be? Where would you live? What things would you have? Cut pictures out of magazines or print pictures from the computer to represent your dreams. Compile them onto a board and share them with your friends/family.

48. Have a pillow fight.

Just like when you were 12 years old!

49. Learn something new by researching something your child is interested in.

Dinosaurs, volcanoes, cowboys, princesses, mermaids, outer space… What is fact and what is fiction?

50. Look at family pictures.

This is especially fun to see how the child has grown and changed over the years. Show them what they looked like as a baby.

Or show them what you looked like as a baby, and as a child, and as a teenager.

51. Have “parent interviews”.

This is one-on-one time with each child. The parent interviews them to learn more about them individually. What do they like to do? Who are their friends? What are their favorite things? What are their dreams? What are they working hard to do? What do they need from you right now?

52. Have a “family meeting”.

This is a lot like a parent interview, but the whole family is involved together. The parent conducts the meeting. Kids and parents get to express concerns, ask questions, create goals, check up on each other, learn about each other, and be more united.

53. Make shadow puppets.

Shadow puppets are made out of paper in the shape of an animal or object. Glue the paper to a Popsicle stick. Then have a puppet show using a flashlight to project the shadow of the puppets onto the wall!

54. Make hand puppets with a flashlight.

No time for crafting? Skip it and use your hands to make shadows! Use the flashlight to project your shadow puppet show onto the wall!

55. Sing along to your favorite songs.

Whoever can remember the most words to the song wins!

56. Tell spooky stories.

Make sure the kids know that they aren’t real. Hopefully there won’t be any nightmares.

57. Play “The Quiet Game”.

See which child can be quiet the longest. Whoever speaks first is out! Whoever is quiet until the end wins!

58. Play “Duck, Duck, Goose”.

An old classic! My kids love to come up with new names instead of “duck” and “goose”. We have played “cake, cake, doughnut” and “worm, worm beetle”…

59. Sing Nursery Rhymes.

Adding hand motions to go along with the words can add fun to the songs or rhymes!

60. Bake cookies for a neighbor or friend.

This is a great excuse to stop in to say hi.

Or it can be anonymous. My kids love to ring the doorbell, leave the plate of cookies, and run away so that nobody knows who did the good deed.

Click on the image below!

61. Make a house out of a large card board box.

Add windows, spare rooms, bedrooms, doors. Draw curtains, couches, kitchens, dressers, and other decor. Make it just like home!

62. Play “No Bears are Out Tonight”

In this game, one person is the “bear”. They hide somewhere while all the seekers close their eyes and count to 30. There is a designated “safe area” that the bear cannot enter. Once the seekers are finished counting, they must walk around the house looking for the bear. The bear tries to chase and tag the seekers. If you are tagged, you become a bear as well. Then, both bears hide while the seekers count. Both bears try to tag more and more people until there is just one seeker left and many bears. That person is the winner!

63. Play “Musical Chairs”.

Count how many people are playing. Create a circle of chairs, but make sure that there are not enough chairs for everyone to sit down. One person plays music for the group. While the music is playing, all the others walk in a circle on the outside of the chairs. The person playing the music randomly stops the music. When the music stops, those walking in a circle hurry to sit down. One person is left without a chair and is out. Remove one more chair from the circle and restart the music. Each round, one more person is left without a chair and is out. See how long you can keep your chair! The last person sitting in a chair wins.

64. Find objects that look like the letters from A-Z.

A chair might look like a capital A. A window might look like a capital B. Find objects throughout the house the look like hidden letters. Try to find the whole alphabet in your house!

65. Have a Spa Day! 

Just follow the link above for lots of great spa day ideas! Enjoy some relaxing time with your kiddos and take a load off yourself!

66. Get some Chores done!

If you’re inside anyways… you might as well get something done, and teach some great life lessons along the way! Use any of these fun activities as a reward for the work.

With a little creativity, even a rainy day inside can be a lot of fun! Happy indoor adventures!

Sincerely,

Mrs. S

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Mom and Daughter Spa Day!

Photo by Adrian Motroc on Unsplash

 

There’s nothing better than a day at the spa!

And it’s even more fun to take your daughter along. It’s a great place to get to know each other better, to relax together, and to feel spoiled together.

But, it can be so expensive!

Massages, manicures, pedicures, facials…. The $$$ adds up fast.

Especially if your daughter is young, it can be difficult to justify spending the money for a professional spa day.

So, I created my own- which was a lot of fun and saved a lot of cash! We invited some friends and neighbors and had a great time.

This is a great activity for a girls’ day in, birthdays, before a big event like prom, or just for fun! Here are my tips for a great spa day at home with your girls!

  • Relaxing Ambiance

The first trick is to make your home feel like a getaway.

If it still feels like your house, it just isn’t a special day.

Find small things to change that make the overall atmosphere different.

  • We turned off lights.
  • We opened windows for natural light and a light breeze.
  • We lit candles. (Click the image below!)

  • We removed all unnecessary items from the room for an empty, free feel.
  • We turned on the Scentsy for a fresh new smell. (Click the image below!)

  • We turned on relaxing music or nature sounds.
  • We rearranged the couches to create a large open space.
  • We brought in comfortable arm chairs (the kind that belong on a patio or pool area) to recline in.
  • We brought in pillows, towels, blankets, and anything else we could think of to make ourselves more comfortable.
  • We prepared treats and drinks beforehand and set them out on a coffee table between us to enjoy at our leisure. We especially enjoyed snacks that we could eat easily without messing up our manicures, like crackers with cheese, fruit and dip, or pinwheels.
  • Warm Hand Towels in a Crock Pot

I thought this would just be a small touch, but it really made a difference in our spa day. The girls specifically mentioned that this little detail made our spa day feel real.

We warmed several hand towels, some for removing facials, some for drying our feet after the foot bath, and some for removing the massage oil from our hands after giving massages. (Click the image below!)

Our girls also used hand towels to put under their hands and feet while they painted each other’s nails. This made less of a mess. For this step, we reused hand towels from the foot bath because we did not have enough for each girl. They didn’t mind.

We found that there were too many girls to fit all the hand towels in the crock pot at once, so we only put in enough for the next step. When we used the first set of towels to wipe off the facials, we put the next set in so that they would be ready for drying our feet after the foot bath. When we used the foot bath towels, we put in the next set for removing massage oil from our hands, etc.

Each time we needed a towel, they were warm and cozy.

It felt luxurious, even though it was a super easy thing to do!

  • Homemade Facials

I recommend beginning your spa day with a facial. This is a nice relaxing thing to begin with, it really sets the tone for the rest of your spa day, and you can let your facial set while you get a massage or soak your feet in a foot bath!

Facials are easy and quick to put together. If you want, you can make the facial beforehand. This will prevent you from having a noisy blender in the middle of your spa day.

Or, if your daughter and girlfriends would really enjoy helping you make the facial, you can make it together during the spa day.

The most exciting thing about the facial is that it is customizable! Each ingredient adds something to your facial, so just pick which things you would like to add. Here are some common ingredients to choose from.

  • Cucumber: Cooling, healing, soothing
  • Avocado: Vitamins, moisturizer
  • Honey: Tightens skin, toning, hydrating, heals acne
  • Yogurt: Exfoliating, softens skin
  • Banana: Moisturizer, softens skin
  • Vinegar: Tones skin, cleanser
  • Oatmeal: Soothing, softens skin
  • Mayonnaise: Smooth skin, cleanser
  • Mustard: Stimulates skin (Test on a small area first in case you have a negative reaction)
  • Lemon: Exfoliating, moisturizing
  • Egg Whites: Cures oily skin
  • Powdered Milk: Exfoliating, clearer skin
  • Coconut Oil: Heals acne, soothe inflammation, healing
  • Applesauce: Exfoliates, soothing
  • Almond Oil: Hydrating, rejuvenating
  • Charcoal Powder (Click the image below!): Cleansing, clearer skin

If you prefer to follow a recipe, click the image below!

The girls enjoyed lounging in our chairs while our facials had time to set. As we sat, we talked and laughed.

Don’t forget to bring extra hair ties to keep your hair out of your facial.

As I mentioned before, we had a nice warm towel to remove the facial with later! (Don’t forget to put the next set of hand towels in the crock pot at this time so that they will be ready when your foot bath is done!)

  • Foot Bath

As our facials set, we enjoyed our foot bath.

Our foot bath had warm water, a few drops of essential oils for smell (click the image below), and flower pedals. The flower pedals added a lot of fun and fancy to our day!

This would also be a lot of fun with a bath bomb, food coloring, or bubble bath (Click the image below)!

By the time the water cooled down, our feet were nice and clean, they were soft, and they smelled yummy!

I only wished the water would say warm longer… But I did get to dry my feet using a warm hand towel! (Don’t forget to replace the hand towels in the crock pot so that they will be nice and warm when you need to clean up after massages!)

  • Massages

Next, we all took turns massaging each other’s hands and feet (I only agreed to this because the girls’ feet were freshly cleaned in the foot bath).

There was no formal training or research for this part. If you want to learn a new skill, it could be fun to print instructions on how to give massages properly.

I liked that we were not worried about using perfect technique or following any sort of structure. That allowed us to relax and enjoy each other’s company more. This was the way to go for the group of girls that participated in our spa day.

The girls used pillows, blankets, towels, chairs, etc. to make themselves comfortable for their massages.

The girls really enjoyed getting to play the “masseuse” as well as receiving massage.

The girls especially enjoyed having fancy massage oil to use (this wasn’t really fancy, just a cheap version). We put out three options of lotions and oils for the girls to choose from. Click the image below!

Each had its own scent and texture that made massages even more fun!

  • Mani/Pedi

The last step is the manicure and pedicure!

I absolutely think this step should be saved for last. All the other activities could ruin your nails, especially if you have an energetic bunch of girls!

We had a whole selection of nail polish to choose from (click the image below). We had all the various colors displayed on a Lazy Susan so that the girls could pick and choose.

Most of the girls chose multiple colors. They loved coming up with patterns or details for their nails!

The hardest part was getting the girls to sit still long enough for their nails to dry. We ended up turning on a movie for them to keep them still.

The girls brought their own flip flops to wear while their nail polish dried. Flip flops would also be a cute party favor if desired (Click the image below).

All in all, each girl had a great time pampering themselves.

They also enjoyed getting to pamper each other by helping apply each other’s facials, giving massages, and painting each other’s nails. One girl said that this is her new target career for when she grows up.

Spa day is a great mother-daughter activity, a great birthday party, and a great girls’ day in.

Enclosed is a list of supplies for you to choose from for each activity we did for our spa day. Remember- you don’t need everything. Just pick and choose!

If you have any other ideas for how to have a fantastic spa day with your girls, let us know!

Supplies Needed:

Ambiance:

  • Candles, matches
  • Scentsy
  • Towels
  • Hand Towels (3-4 per person, if desired)
  • Crock Pot (to warm hand towels)
  • Relaxing Music
  • Comfortable Chairs
  • Pillows, blankets, etc.
  • Treats and Drinks

Facial:

  • Hair Ties
  • Blender, spoon to mix
  • Facial Ingredients, which could include any of the following:
    • Cucumber
    • Avocado
    • Honey
    • Yogurt
    • Banana
    • Vinegar
    • Yogurt
    • Mayonnaise
    • Mustard
    • Lemon
    • Egg Whites
    • Powdered Milk
    • Coconut Oil
    • Applesauce
    • Almond Oil
    • Charcoal Powder

Foot Bath:

  • Bins to hold water (no taller than around 6 inches)
  • Warm Water
  • Any of the Following:
    • Essential Oils
    • Bath Bomb
    • Flower Petals
    • Bubble Bath
    • Food Coloring

Massages:

  • Various oils or lotions
  • If desired, printed directions on how to massage
  • Towels, chairs, pillows, blankets, etc. to make yourself comfortable

Mani/Pedi:

  • Various colors of nail polish
  • Lazy Susan to display nail polish (Click the image below!)

  • If desired, hand towels to limit the mess
  • If desired, nail files, nail clippers, or other nail tools
  • Toe Spacers
  • If desired, flip flops to wear while toenails dry
  • Your favorite movie to watch while nails dry

Have a great time with your daughters, and make sure you get to know their friends as well!

Make it a cheap and rewarding day by involving your child in the planning. Have fun!

Sincerely,

Mrs. S

P.S. Need more ideas of fun activities to do with your kids? Try some of these indoor activities!

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Kids In the Kitchen

Photo by Mikael Cho on Unsplash

 

I am a firm believer in cooking with your kids.

I find that it’s great parent-child quality time, it builds life skills that they will need as adults, and it is just plain fun! My kids remember the times we have spent in the kitchen together. My nieces and nephews talk about when we made brownies or cookies or homemade ice cream.

(Click on the image below for some great homemade ice cream recipes!)

And it’s something that you have to do every day anyways! It feels great to check something off of the to do list and still have quality time with your kids.

That being said, it takes some patience and practice to cook with kids around.

Here’s my top suggestions for having kids in the kitchen. Also read up on our favorite things to cook together!

  • Control the Chaos

The worst thing about cooking with kids is the mess. It is simply uncontrollable. If I’m going to allow my kids to help me cook, I’ve got to accept the fact that my kitchen is going to be messy.

That being said- I don’t have to let it turn into a disaster area.

How do I control the chaos?

I make it clear to my kids that cleaning is part of cooking. If they want to enjoy the fun, they’ve got to help with the cleanup as well. Kind of a Henny Penny lesson.

I also make sure that everyone helps along the way in simple ways rather than cleaning up a big mess later. When I wait until the end, my kids are overwhelmed at the size and magnitude of the mess. There are more tantrums, more refusal, more arguing, and less work getting done.

It kind of ruins the fun of cooking.

But, if I make sure the cleanup is manageable for each child by giving them small and simple tasks along the way, they don’t seem to mind. Especially once they are in the habit of helping.

I am constantly asking the kids to get ingredients out and put them away. We take turns wiping the counter off (this happens many, many times!). We throw away food packaging, egg shells, etc. immediately after use. We put all dirty dishes straight into the sink or dishwasher.

In the end, I only have two jobs- sweep the floor and start the dishwasher. That’s it!

If I had older kids, I would probably get their help on those two things as well. My younger children enjoy using their child-sized brooms and mops to join mom in this part of the clean up (click the image below!).

With a manageable mess, everyone (including me!) can enjoy the fun of cooking together.

If you need some extra energy before cooking with your kids, read here for some great energy boosting ideas! 

  • Let it Go

This step describes my mental state during cooking. The technical French phrase is “Mise en place”- which literally translated means “Everything in its place.”

Professional chefs use this term to describe both the physical state of the kitchen being clean and orderly as well as a mental state that the chef is in- a state of calm, control, and confidence. You reach this state by being prepared before you begin cooking.

When we apply the term “Mise en place” to cooking with kids, we have a whole new meaning.

For me, being prepared mentally before I begin cooking with my little ones makes all the difference in my level of patience throughout the cooking process.

If I expect a certain level of participation from my kids (but I don’t get it) or a certain result in what we are cooking (but I don’t get it) or active listening and responding from my kids (but I don’t get it)… I lose my patience and the experience is no fun for anyone.

(For some tips on communicating more effectively with your kids when things go wrong, read this post!)

Before I start, I remind myself that this will not go my way.

Period.

It just doesn’t happen.

Someone is going to get egg shells in the batter. Someone is going to spill the milk. Someone is going to have a different opinion on how to follow the recipe.

It’s all ok if I have prepared for these things beforehand.

My husband calls this my “thick skin”. If he reminds me before I do anything difficult to “put on thick skin”, I typically react better because I was prepared for it. If I go in with set expectations, I am easily frustrated when those expectations aren’t met.

So be ready for detours and variations in your plan.

  • Technique

Here are my top techniques for cooking with kids. These limit the mess, waste of food, and frustration for everyone.

  • Be safe.
    • Mom is in charge of using knives until children are older. When kids are old enough to use the knives, mom supervises.
    • Mom is in charge of any heat (oven, stove top, toaster, griddle, grill, etc.) until the kids are older. When they are old enough to try using these things, mom supervises.
    • Give warnings to each other before you walk behind another person. This keeps us from accidentally spilling or hurting each other with sharp objects or hot objects.
    • Mom uses the can opener until kids are older.
    • Kids are taught why each of these kitchen objects are not safe. They learn that although these things could hurt them, we can stay safe by using them properly. Kids are taught to use each object properly at an appropriate age.
  • Be healthy.
    • Wash hands before and during cooking. Be especially careful to wash hands after handling raw meat.
    • Avoid “cross contamination”. Be aware of what surfaces or utensils have touched raw meat and do not allow those things to touch other foods.
    • Be aware of how long cold foods have been left out of the fridge. Cold foods should not sit out on the counter for an extended period of time.
    • Heat foods thoroughly to avoid food borne illness.
    • Teach children about health hazards in the kitchen and how to be healthy in your cooking.
  • Break eggs into separate bowl rather than breaking eggs directly into the food you are cooking. If a child accidentally gets egg shells in the separate bowl, they are easy to scoop out with a spoon. If the child breaks the egg shells directly into the food you are cooking, they can get lost in the food.
  • Measure out things beforehand. The parent can be in charge of measuring each ingredient. Then the child can pour the ingredients together in a mixing bowl. This ensures that your food matches the recipe and will turn out great!
  • Pour liquids into a small cup or a liquid measuring cup. Avoid using a dry measuring cup for liquids as they are easy for a child to spill.
  • In all cooking skills, slowly increase child’s independence. Some things will be off limits at first, such as cutting food with a knife. Slowly teach your child how to use the knife safely. Start by allowing the child to watch you use the knife as you describe how you are being safe. Then, both the child and the parent hold the knife together to practice using a knife. Slowly help the child less and less until the child can cut food on his own under your supervision. Eventually, the child will be fully independent in using a knife. Make sure to be conscious of the child’s age and emotional standing when you consider teaching this skill.
  • Let kids choose foods to cook. This is a great way to get kids to try new foods. They are much more excited about things when they get to choose them and help make them. Take your child to the store and include him or her in the shopping, meal planning, cooking, and serving of the meal.
  • Give yourself extra time so that you can go slow. This avoids any extra headaches and allows children to learn at their own pace.
  • Teaching Moment

A common parenting mistake is to complete a task without explaining what you are doing to your child.

Cooking is an important life skill that every person will use. When your child goes to college or moves into their first apartment, they will need to know how to prepare meals for themselves.

Every time you allow your child to participate in the kitchen, they are learning bits of new information that will benefit them later on in life. You can supplement that learning by describing to your child what you are doing. Explain why. Explain how.

Teach children kitchen safety, avoiding illness, how to eat healthy, how to use various kitchen appliances and utensils, how to read and follow a recipe, how to measure ingredients, how to supplement ingredients when needed, how to make basic staple food items, etc.

Don’t assume that your child will get all that information just from watching you.

Your words, example, and explanations increase their learning. Allowing the child to try what they have learned for themselves solidifies the knowledge in their minds, making it easier to recall down the road. Be ready to help when needed and correct mistakes in a kind way.

Not sure what to cook? Read more about child-friendly recipes or click the image below for a great child-centered cookbook!

Cooking with your kids in an intentional way prepares them for an independent life.

Have fun along the way. Enjoy the wonder and excitement that young children have by teaching them a new skill. They won’t be this small for long!

Sincerely,

Mrs. S

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