In the busyness of the day-to-day are you wondering (or worried) if the kids in your life are doing ok?
Sometimes getting kids to open up about their thoughts and feelings can be challenging. Everyone feels more like sharing when they are interested and are having fun.There are many creative ways for kids to communicate their inner world. I have created a handy 5-day planner that has awesome activities that will help you take kids’ emotional temperature, have confident talks and more laughs.
This post will explore 15 fun activities that will really help you to connect with kids.
Going outdoors is a great way to get away from distractions and to bring everyone into the present. Turning a walk outdoors into an adventure can also make it seem more special. Maybe your adventure will allow your kids to choose which way to turn or which path to take. You will be able to talk about the things that you see and sometimes other topics will come up while you are relaxed and wandering together.
Mealtimes are a great chance to find out what is going on with everyone. However, sometimes the conversations can be lacking, especially if your kids aren’t practiced in the art of turn-taking. Using conversation starters at suppertime can be helpful for ensuring that everyone gets a chance to talk, the topics are something everyone can participate in and you learn a little bit about each other. To get some Super Supper Conversations Starters, click here.
If you are looking for a craft that will spark some conversation and insight into kids' inner world doing a “favorite things” collage won’t disappoint. Sitting down with some magazines, scissors, glue and paper to search for images and words that make them happy will be sure to get them talking about what lights them up. They may even ask to print pictures of things they don’t find. Either way, you can expect either happy chatter and cutting and or a quiet masterpiece of all that they hold dear.
When you have great weather for eating outdoors, grab a picnic blanket and ask the kids to choose the perfect nature spot. Set up and listen to the sounds around you and see how many different sounds you can name. You might hear or see something new while you are outside which can spark shared experience and connection.
Sometimes kids can keep large emotions bottled up in order to be seen as easy-going or “good”. Emotions charades allows kids to express various feelings in a fun and entertaining way. It gives kids scenarios to act out that have caused both positive and negative emotions. If adults play along, it could demonstrate that they also experience these emotions which can help kids not to always take adults feelings personally.
There are kids who love to play games and others may be lukewarm to the idea. Asking the kid in your life for a game date will let them know that you want to spend some time with them. Let them choose their favorite game and if they don’t like a particular game, see if you can make up one together. Playing cooperative games together can build a sense of trust and confidence as you work to solve a problem together.
Let’s face it, video is a very compelling way to communicate. One time, my kid sent me a video message with filters. She was able to use a unicorn filter to be cute, and a fiery one to emphasize that she was unhappy with one of my decisions. I will admit that it was a very powerful message and got me to thinking about how making and sending video messages to kids might keep their interest more than a message in person. It has the possibility of being more creative and thought out. It also has the possibility of being rewatched.
Take advantage of dinner time to draw on your shared history with the kids in your life. Spend your time at the table to think back to past moments that you enjoyed together. Pick positive memories to talk about and remember what you liked about those special moments. You could also add, in the future I would like to… and fill in the blank with a wish for a connection in the future.
Letting kids know that they are capable and competent is something that all adults who come in contact with them can strive for. As kids grow and develop their sense of self, it is helpful for the grown ups around them to mirror their strengths and let them know when they have done something well. To get a printable note that you can personalize and give to the kids in your life, click here.
Everyone likes to think about their favorite things and almost all of the kids I have met love a scavenger hunt! Combining the two is sure to be a hit with the kids in your life. To use the interest scavenger hunt that I have made click here to download. Make sure to put a time limit on the hunt (unless you are looking to kill some time). Sometimes kids have trouble deciding on which items to choose unless there is a clock ticking. Just let them know that their first instincts on what to grab will most likely be what they are drawn to naturally. To get the printable Interest Scavenger Hunt, click here.
So depending on the kids in your life, the cooking part can be as simple as making jello together or as complex as making a meal. Let your kids choose what would be the most fun for them. Ask them what jobs they would like to do and which ones you can help with. While you are spending that time together, make sure to genuinely compliment your kids while they are learning or trying new skills for the first time.
Getting moving with some positive thoughts can help everyone to feel better together. You can encourage kids to come up with their own moves and affirmations or print out the couple that I have created here.
Take a moment in the day to get quiet, nourished and smile. Choose a different space to have a special snack. Choose a couple of things that the kids will like and then introduce them to a couple of new types of snacks. They aren’t allowed to say anything. They have to tell you with their facial expressions how they feel about the snacks. This is a wonderful way to take the stress out of introducing new foods.
Grab a bowl of popcorn and get comfy on some couches with the kids. Each person eats some popcorn and then grabs a story starter from the pile. They read out the story starter and then one more sentence that pops into their head. The person on their right then continues with the next line and so on until everyone in the room has added to the story. If you would like a few popcorn story starters, click here.
In this busy world, adults need to be intentional about finding out how kids are doing. But it doesn’t have to take the form of a sit down conversation (cue bored kids) every day. Having a planner of unique, fun bonding activities to choose from will make your experience with the kids in your life easier. Instead of wondering when and how you will connect with kids, you will have a plan and activities at your fingertips. Instead of worrying about how the kids are doing, you will be artfully connecting and having fun while you do it. Download your free 5-Day Planner here!
I am a Life Coach for Kids, offering programs, materials, and support that parents can use to help their children discover interests, set goals and intentions, and most importantly have fun in the process. I am passionate about learning, growth mindset, nature, and emotional wellness.