Caring for kids can be stressful. Everyone needs time to unwind. You can do this alone or make it more fun and enjoyable when including your kids. Below are some inexpensive ideas to get you started.
1. Play with Slime, Play Dough, or Putty.
Get silly, creative, and a little messy!
2. Do Yoga.
You can learn easy moves by watching free YouTube videos https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kxk78inN-3Y that will put you in a calm state, both physically and mentally.
3. Ride a Bike.
Find a nice trail to ride and point out interesting sites along the way. You can take solo rides or make this a group activity.
4. Play a Board Game.
You can play age-appropriate board games as simple as Candy Land to as complex as King of Tokyo. Encourage friendly competition, problem-solving, and most of all, fun as you play.
Buy some large paper or oak tag and take turns painting. You can choose a design or just have fun making random strokes. Painting can be a relaxing and carefree activity.
6. Do a Jigsaw Puzzle.
You can make a fun competition to see who can find the most pieces and place them together. Or you could have a conversation while you form the puzzle.
7. Take a Walk.
This is another opportunity to take in some nice scenery or engage in a fun conversation about what you see or any other topic of interest. Count your steps or daze. Either way, this can be an easy exercise and enjoyable experience.
8. Watch a Television Show.
You can sit silently as a family, enjoying just each other’s presence. Other ways to enjoy TV are to talk during or after the show about the characters and events or laugh at amusing scenes.
9. Play with Pets.
Petting your cat or dog can be very comforting and soothing. You can also run around outside, go for a walk, or include your pet in play.
10. Fly a Kite.
While it might take a bit to get the kite off the ground, once it’s up, you can zone out while you watch it flap in the wind. You can also run around together, making it a game to see how far or high the kite will go.
11. Read a Book.
There are many ways to do this. You can make this a solo activity, where you set quiet time for everyone to read a book of interest. You can also read together, taking turns reading, or having your child listen as you read. Take breaks to discuss what you’ve read, think of questions, and use your imagination to think of what could come next. Audiobooks are also a good alternative for car trips.
12. Build a Model Airplane or Boat.
This will take time and force you to slow down as you delicately place pieces together. Your kids can help by taking turns putting on pieces or decorate the finished product.
13. Color or Draw a Picture.
If you’ve ever doodled or colored in a notebook, you’ve experienced the feeling of getting lost in thought. Perhaps you have your own idea that you put on paper or simply color in a coloring book. This a simple activity that allows you to relax and engage peacefully.
14. Sit Around a Campfire.
Whether you roast marshmallows, tell stories, or just listen to the crackling of the fire, this is a fun activity that can put you in a trance-like state.
15. Make a Garden.
You can enjoy running your hands through soft dirt, plant beautiful flowers or seeds that will bear fruit or vegetables. Physical activity can be enjoyable in itself. You can also take pride in keeping your garden pretty and bug-free.
16. Play with Toys.
Gather up Barbies and dinosaurs and use them for an imaginative game or story. You can also build a Legos castle or other structure to go along with it. This is an opportunity to get creative and interactive.
17. Camp Outside.
Put up a tent and set up a sleeping bag or air mattress. There are so many things you can do outside, like gaze at the stars and tell stories.
18. Decorate a Picture or Book.
Perhaps your child has a journal or notebook that could use some sprucing. You can draw, paint, and add decorations to make it more eye-catching and exciting to look at.
19. Do a Craft.
With basic supplies, such as glitter, pom poms, popsicle sticks, and markers, you can create something fun in no time.
20. Play an Instrument.
Play one that you have or learn something new. A recorder or harmonica is an easy one for beginners. It will take practice and effort initially. You can look at this as a challenge, and as you improve, you can entertain others with a sweet song.
21. Go for a Hike.
Get “lost in the woods.” You can find a trail you’ve been on many times or search for new ones. Having a destination in mind, such as a waterfall, brook, beach, or a historic site, can also be motivating and exciting as you move to get there.
Have fun with decorations, enjoy the smells, and have a nice conversation with your loved ones as you enjoy your sweet dessert.
23. Listen to Music.
Become mesmerized as you absorb the lyrics and sounds. You can also sing out loud. This is an easy, feel-good activity.
24. Go on a Mini Trip.
25. Play a Sport.
This can be competitively or for leisure. Have a baseball catch or organize a game. Playing sports can increase your emotional spirits, make you more physically fit, increase motor and social skills, improve self-confidence, and build positive relationships.
26. Tell Jokes.
Getting silly with your kids can lighten your mood and encourage flexibility and camaraderie.
27. Write a Story.
Your imagination is full of exciting ideas untapped. You can develop an idea, plot out the story, take turns adding details, and put it on paper. You can even add pictures and have your children color them.
28. Collect Rocks or Other Objects in Nature.
Rocks can be placed on window sills or tables. You can also write inspiring or cute messages on them. Some people like to rub rocks between their fingers as it creates a soothing sensation.
29. Have a Dance Party.
Your children will love running and jumping with you. You can create some fun dance moves too.
30. Laugh Together.
Your life is busy. Find time to slow down and enjoy each other’s company. Whatever you choose to do, remember to have fun and laugh. Your children will feed off of your positive energy, and you will feel better too!