25 Ways to have more fun at home. That’s a lot of fun, friends.

I love coming up with fun and clever ideas for fun things to do with my kids, and the rewards are two-fold: 1) they have a blast, and 2) I feel like Mother of the Year (albeit briefly, but let’s be honest, I take it where I can get it). This is why I was so excited to have stumbled upon this article written by Anna of My Life and Kids who offers us 25 awesome ideas for creating fun and memories with our kids. I love #4. I’m totally wearing a bridesmaid’s dress to dinner tonight.

{#1} Just Say YES
This is one of the greatest mothering tips that I’ve ever received – and something that I need to constantly remind myself. I can say no over and over again to my kids’ requests. Until I stop myself and think – WHY is the answer no? Is it because it’s dangerous or inappropriate? Or is it because I don’t feel like getting something out or making a mess or actually playing with my kids? Just Say Yes! Yes – we can stay in our pajamas until noon or drive the car (without keys), or help me unload the groceries…Just a few Yes’s can make a huge difference in our day.

{#2} Have a Surprise Party
With little kids, it doesn’t take much to have a party. Some streamers, a few signs, and some type of special treat, and you have a celebration. Bonus if you have candles. It’s not your birthday? It’s not anyone’s birthday? Yes it is. It’s dolly’s birthday. Or the dog’s birthday. Or stuffed McBear’s birthday. Last month, it was our minivan’s birthday. You don’t need a good reason to celebrate – you just need to celebrate. And nothing gets my kids more excited than assembling all of their “stuffed” guests, helping me decorate, surprising the birthday “thing”, blowing out candles and singing Happy Birthday. Every now and then we wrap up a present of some sort. On days when I’m really not feeling festive, I tell them it’s my birthday. I always get into the celebrating mood when we’re singing to ME and giving ME presents. I’ve turned 25 at least a dozen times just in the past year.

{#3} Mini Photographers
My kids LOVE to play with my camera, and I always say “no” or “just one picture” or “not today.” But every now and then I say yes. Give your kids some supervised time with your camera. Teach them how to hold the camera, give them a special “photographer” hat to wear (completely optional), and let them loose. After everyone has had a turn, watch the pictures as a slideshow on your computer. The only thing my kids love more than taking pictures is seeing the pictures they took – and hearing how great they are. If you can’t trust them with your camera, pick up a couple disposable cameras and then actually develop the film. It could be a fun activity and a history lesson all at the same time.

{#4} Dress Up
Not them. You. One Saturday morning, I had the rare opportunity to sleep in. As I woke up, I could hear the yelling, fighting and shrieking coming from downstairs. I did not want to go downstairs and face any of that. It was not how I wanted to start my day. So I got out of bed, tossed on an old prom dress, waltzed down the stairs and introduced myself as Princess Anna. I held a magic wand and worked my magic on them for better behavior. It worked. The next hour was spent playing with dress-up clothes and taking pictures of ourselves. They didn’t care that I hadn’t brushed my hair yet or put on makeup. They loved Princess Anna – and it changed our day before it even got started.

{#5} Walk In the Rain
This is one of my least favorite activities – until we actually get outside. And then it’s so worth it. We take our umbrellas, put on our rain boots, splash in the puddles, sing Row Row Row your boat and just have fun. There’s something very special about being outside in the rain – once you actually get out there.

{#6} Have a Picnic
A picnic doesn’t have to be a perfect tablecloth outside with the perfect lunch basket packed with lovely food. A picnic can be a vinyl tablecloth on the family room floor. Or a meal served UNDER the table. And when I’m annoyed with my husband, we have picnics on his side of the bed. Picnics are fun – especially when your kids get to decide where the picnic happens.

{#7} Have Fun with Hubby
Don’t save all the fun for your kids – have some fun with your husband too. You can leave a fun note in his lunch or have a surprise party in his honor (for no reason) one day after work. My brother and sister-in-law used to hide a plastic pink flamingo around their house to surprise each other. They’d never know when it would pop out of the dryer or show up in the shower. Lame? Maybe. A little fun and different? Definitely!

{#8} Have a Day
It doesn’t matter what kind of day you have – just declare it a DAY – and it’s automatically special. A few of my favorites:

Do-Over Day: Everyone gets a chance to do something over if they make a mistake – Moms included!
Movie Day
: Make cozy beds on the floor, pop some popcorn, ignore everything you’re ever read about limiting screen time and watch movie after movie after movie. This ties in well with “Mommy is Tired Day.
Shut Up Day
: All credit for this day goes to my friend Beth, but I love it. When she was growing up, they’d have SHUT UP day, where they were allowed to say Shut Up all day long – as many times as they wanted. Whatever your forbidden word is, let your kids have a day to use it. Expect lots of giggles at this one!
Backwards Day
: Wake up in the morning and put on your pajamas, serve dinner for breakfast – do everything in backwards order all day long.
Snack Day
: Nothing but snacks – all day long. Also goes well with “Mommy Doesn’t Want to Cook Day.
Pajama Day, Red Day, Blue Day, Green Day
: You get the idea – make it a Day – and it will be fun.

{#9} Make Farting Noises
This is my all-time favorite party trick (and it’s also my favorite bedroom trick). And your kids will probably love it too. Stick a drinking straw in your armpit and start blowing. It takes a few tries to get the hang of it (and it works best if you’re a little sweaty), but the results are so worth it.

{#10} Bake, Bake, Bake
My kids LOVE to help me in the kitchen. Whether we’re making a box mix of brownies or whipping something up from scratch, it’s very popular activity at our house! If you have more than one child, it’s easy to split the recipe so everyone has their own bowl to stir. When my kids are heading for meltdowns, I know I can make things better with just a little time in the kitchen.

{#11} Celebrate the Holidays
Sometimes I think holidays were created just for stay-at-home moms to keep their kids occupied. Holidays provide tons of opportunities for holiday-related crafts, decorations, baking and fun. And a quick trip to the party store and $10 can buy you a bag full of cheap toys that can add fun to any celebration throughout the year.

  • Create a 10-day countdown for every holiday with activities to do on each day
  • Make paper rings to tear off as you count down to St. Patrick’s Day
  • Put together flower bouquets for the neighbors on May Day
  • Serve heart-shaped pancakes
  • Turn your milk green

You get the idea… celebrate!

{#12} Playing in the Sink
It doesn’t have to be a hot summer day to play in the water. I keep old bottles, funnels and eye droppers in the kitchen so that we can play in the sink at any time. This is a great activity to keep one child occupied while you do something special with the other kids (or do laundry, chat on the phone, blog, whatever…)

{#13} Scavenger Hunt
When we were little, my dad shaved off half of his moustache before he went to bed. When my brother and I woke him up in the morning, we were shocked that he had lost half his moustache during the night. We spent most of the day searching for the missing moustache. I did the same thing when I peeled some wallpaper while my kids were napping. Whether you trick your kids into spending hours searching for something that they’ll never find – or you actually hide stickers or treasure around the house – a scavenger hunt is always fun. Be as simple or as elaborate as you want, but definitely remember this activity for rainy days.

{#14} Home Movies
Every now and then we like to put together home movies. The kids perform or sing or just talk to me, and then we hook our camera up to the TV so they can see themselves on the big screen. Lately, I’ve been hooking my entire computer up to the TV so we can watch our older home videos that are on YouTube. They LOVE to see themselves now and as babies – and I do too.

{#15} Create a Craft Bag
I use my craft bag more than any other activity. I keep it stocked with the usual craft items – colorful paper, scissors, glue sticks, markers and stickers. I also added in Bingo Dotters – perfect for painting when you don’t feel like getting messy, old magazines and a few of my husband’s button down shirts to use as smocks. (And yes, I accidentally used his favorites.) We keep our craft bag tucked away so the kids can’t get into it themselves, so it’s always exciting when we bring it out and get creative.

{#16} Sensory Trays
An oldie but a goodie. Everyone’s using them because they really do work. Fill a container with whatever you want. You can make your sensory tray messy (think cold pasta noodles or shaving cream) or a little easier to manage – mine are full of rice, small pasta shells and popcorn. Each child has their own sensory tray – and you can get creative with your container. Mine are in old cake pans, shoeboxes would work – whatever you have on hand. Give your kids cars, foam shapes and other things to find in the sensory trays and let them go to work.

{#17} Flashlight Games
My kids love flashlights – and who knew? – I do too. When we really need to wind down, we head upstairs, close the room-darkening blinds, cuddle on the bed and play flashlight games. Sometimes we chase each other’s flashlights around the room, sometimes we make fun shapes, sometimes we light up our faces. It’s a great way to wind down and have fun too.

{#18} Give Them the Hose
This ties in well with the “just say Yes” motto. Give a toddler a hose, and you’ve never seen anyone quite so happy. We spend a lot of our summer days washing the wagon, picnic table, playhouse, dog…. Anything and everything gets hosed down, scrubbed up and hosed down again. Nothing occupies my kids quite like a garden hose on a hot summer day. And yes – I have totally taught them the joy of drinking out of the garden hose!

{#19} Dance Party
You may think it’s a motherhood cliché, but it works wonders. The right song can put every single one of us in a better frame of mind – and a little dancing can set the day on the right track. This is especially great when you don’t have the energy to do a single thing with your kids. Choose the right song, and you’ll have that energy you’re looking for.

{#20} Go Camping
My kids think camping is the coolest thing they’ve ever heard of or seen on TV. I’m excited to take them on a real camping trip one day. And in the meantime, there’s a lot to be said for pretend camping. When we’re inside, we roll out the sleeping bags, bring our flashlights, turn on a sound machine for nature music – and lately, we’ve been bringing our Twilight Turtle with us to provide the stars. This summer, we’ll set the tent up outside for a few days of fake camping in the yard (although I will NOT be spending the night out there.)

{#21} Shaving Cream
I keep a can of shaving cream in the kitchen for meltdown emergencies. Spread some on the table, add a few cars, and you’ve saved the day. It can get messy – but it’s usually worth it!

{#22} Mud Pies
My mom used to have special dishes for me to make my mud pies in. I had mixing bowls, wooden spoons, pie tins – and even an old cardboard box that served as my oven and stove. Nothing was more satisfying than mixing together the perfect mud pie. Teach your kids the art of baking with mud!

{#23} Have a Reading Party
Everything is more fun when you call it a party. I put the call out for a Reading Party, and we all meet on the couch with our books of choice. Sometimes we even put on party hats. Most of the time I do the reading, but I love it when my kids read me the books they’ve memorized.

{#24} Playdoh
Whether you make your own or buy it at a store, it’s popular for a reason. My kids LOVE playdoh – especially when I let them mix all the colors together.

{#25} Just Play
Your kids want your attention. Your undivided attention. Put down the basket of laundry. Stop cleaning the kitchen. Walk away from the blog – and stop pinning great activities on Pinterest that you can do with your children. Put down this book. And just play with them. Cuddle them. Snuggle with them. Kiss them. Listen to them. Talk to them. Do these fun activities. Or just play whatever they want to play. If you’re really present with your kids – it won’t matter a single bit what you’re doing. They’ll be happy as can be.

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What fun things do your kids (and you!) love to do? Share your ideas with us!

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