Being a parent can be hard especially on the weekends. All those fun things that you did before you had kids are out of the question and your children need entertainment. You don’t just want to put them in front of the TV in front of those awful movies all weekend but it is exhausting running around with them all day. Well we have a solution to offer that makes spending time with family relaxing, entertaining, and provides activities with children that expands their creative minds. Combine the relaxing entertainment of a movie that both children and parents will love with a creative and/or educational activity. To help get you started on this we have a list of wonderful family movies and some corresponding activities you can do with children.
Cloudy with a chance of meatballs
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs tells the story of Flint Lockwood, an unappreciated, quirky inventor. Flint’s inventions always seem to create problems until he finds a way to make food fall from the sky like rain. Everyone loves the invention but problems arise when Flint’s machine gets over used. This movie is funny for kids and adults, visually stunning, and an all-around good time for the whole family while also stimulating creative minds.
This movie gives so many great ideas for activities with children. Before you watch the movie, make dinner together as a whole family. Teach your children a simple recipe and let them do age appropriate tasks. You can have your children pick their own favorite food to make or you can pick a fun food from the movie. Or an even more creative and less messy idea for smaller children is to make a pretend dinner. Make up foods or add silly ingredients and pretend to eat them. A fun and imaginative activity with your kids that doesn't end up with you actually eating sprinkles and cheese crackers on your BBQ chicken.
Another activity you could do is after watching the movie as a family you could create your own invention. Ask your kids if they could invent anything what would it be and then start brainstorming ideas. Ask your kids to draw up what the machine would look like. You could even make up a story about how the machine goes out of control and have your kid make up a story of how to fix the machine and save the world, just like Flint.
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory explores the magical world of candy making in Willy Wonka’s factory. In this movie 5 children win the opportunity to tour the mysterious factory and see all the different candies that Willy Wonka makes and is trying to invent. Over time each child breaks a rule and ends up having to leave the tour and only the most virtuous child wins the grand prize. I have a personal preference to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971) with Gene Wilder, but if you prefer a more modern movie the 2005 version entitled Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with Johnny Depp that is also an option.
This movie also inspires some great activities with kids. A more imagination inspired activities could be to invent your own candy: flavors, gummy vs hard candy, and the magical quality that makes it special to Willy Wonka candy. Another great activity you could do as a family is make your own candy. Rock candy is a simple and delicious option and is a great science experiment to expand your child’s creative mind. Start the rock candy at least 2 days before you watch the movie to make sure you can eat your candy during the movie.
Fantasia was one of my favorite movies growing up. The original or Fantasia 2000 a great movies to engage those creative minds. If you have never seen Fantasia it’s definitely time to spend time with your family and watch it. Fantasia is a movie that takes beautiful classical music and plays the music with animated shorts that have been created as inspired by the music. It pairs amazing music with fun cartoons.
The activity you can do with your kids for this movie is simple. After watching the movie pick a song- either classical or modern- and play the music and have your kids listen to it and draw a picture and tell a story based on the music. Make it a family game- play a song one time through just listening to it and then give everyone art supplies of their choice. Then play the song one more time and draw! You get the length of the entire song to draw something and come up with a story for the song. When the song ends go around and show your pictures and tell the story that the song sounds like to you.
There are so many great family friendly movies you can watch to spend time with your family. Don’t feel like you have to watch these movies or do these activities with these movies. Use your own creative mind and find new movies and other great activities for your kids. Most importantly have fun when you spend time with family. Your kids will remember it for the rest of their lives and it will create great memories for you as a family.
Image Source: Sprout Flikr Flikr
As a future parent I want my children to have everything. I want them to be intelligent and confident. I want to provide them with opportunities, and really I just want them to be healthy and happy until they day they die. I also want my children to be creative. Not an answer you hear a lot but it’s important to me. I don’t mean I want to birth the next Beethoven or da Vinci but I do want my children to have creative minds.
Creative minds don’t just focus on the arts- a creative mind thinks about all subjects in creative ways. Instead of being able to just regurgitate times tables a creative mind might actually be able to tell you that 24 is equal to 4 x 6 because it is also equal to 2 x 12. A creative mind understands things instead of just learning or memorizing them. Unfortunately creativity is lost in most schools. Art and music programs have almost been entirely thrown out and there is a greater focus on core subjects. Now I have no problem with math or science or language arts. Are they important? YES! But so is creative learning. So is imagination and playing. Schools tend to stop allowing imagination play at a certain age when children are supposed to grow up. But why should we stop imagination play if it expands our creative minds.
I am not saying that every parent should take their children out of school and play house every day until their 18, but as parents we should take some control of our children’s education. Doing simple creative projects with our kids and letting them define the rules. Promoting imagination play in our children and asking them to think about things for themselves instead of being taught what to think. Promoting creative minds in our children. Imagination play can be hard as adults. I’ve worked with children as a nanny and a teacher and I’ll tell you my creative mind is still a bit weak as are my imagination play skills. Here are some tips on how to do some imagination play with your kids:
1. Use your surroundings:
This tip can be used for really any of the following tips. Using your surroundings is a great way to start a game of imagination play. If you’re trying to think of something to do look around you. Something as simple as a car or a basketball can start a great game of imagination play. Don’t hurt your creative mind trying to do imagination play with your kids- you’ll want to do it less. Ease into it by using what is around you as props or ideas and become more creative as it gets easier.
2. Ask your children:
Ask your children what they think about stuff. Ask your children how they think something works, like a car or an airplane. Or ask them why they think the sky is blue or why the grass is green. Sure there is a real answer to these questions but let them use their imaginations to think about it and give you a creative answer. Eventually they’ll learn how it works, and you can even tell them later, but let them think through it with their creative minds. They might surprise you with how much they already know and if nothing else it’ll be entertaining. If their answer is short or just “I don’t know” ask them to tell you a story about it even if it isn’t right. Tell them to make something up or to just say the silliest reason that comes to their heads. If your kids aren’t supper into talking ask them to write about it or draw something.
3. Play “what if?”:
Sometimes children are too smart for their own goods and actually do know how cars work and why the sky is blue, so change it up a little and make them work out their creativity. Ask questions that promote creative thinking like “What if we smelled with our ears” or “What if cars could fly and we drove airplanes”. Keep up conversations like this even if it’s just by asking why. Or dust off your creative mind and do a little imagination play and contribute your own theories. A little imagination never hurt anyone and it’ll create great memories and bonding moments with your kids.
4. Do something “wrong”:
Break the rules a little, but not the big ones! Try walking around your house like a bear for an hour or eat lunch like a squirrel. Or if you’re doing an art project, draw the nose in the wrong spot or have the person have two colors of hair. Paint the sky orange and the grass purple. Do something that isn’t perfect and show your child that even things that don’t follow the standard rules can be fun and good. Change the idea that breaking rules is always bad and promote coloring outside the lines. A lot of people have done great things by doing something “wrong”. Don’t start driving on the wrong side of the road for your imagination play but do something against the norm with your children.
5. Follow their lead:
In imagination play your child is the expert. No offense but you’re a little past your prime when it comes to playing house now that you are living it. Your game is a bit rusty your creative mind a bit dusty and well your child will kick your trash. If your child is off in some dream land while explaining to you what life would be like if we walked on our hands don’t tell them they’re wrong and the only thing that would happen is people would have calloused hands and people would pass out a lot. Even though you’re technically right telling your child they’re wrong when their imagining kills their imagination. If you’re imagination playing that you’re bears and your child starts to hiss like a snake instead of correcting them ask them what they’re doing. Maybe it’s a rare mountain hissing bear only found near the North Pole. Have fun and follow your child’s lead and don’t let that grumpy fart of an adult inside stop you.
Image Source: Sprout-Kids
By: Cody Kimball
When I was a newly-wed, I began to see just how ridiculously hard it can be (no matter how much you love each other) to bring two worlds into one! Till that point I was had the fool-proof perfect plan for finding any of my stuff. I simply put anything I might use during the week on top of my desk, anything I might need during the month under the hung-up clothes in my closet, and anything I might need some point during the year under my bed.
Everything worked great till I technically became the proud owner of 60 pairs of shoes and boots, more clothes than I owned in my life, and enough make-up to paint my self-portrait next to Mount Rushmore.
Obviously we had to do something. We tried parting with a bunch of things by donation; that lasted till she wanted to get rid of my high-basketball shoes. We tried buying more and more shelves, but in our tiny apartment and limited income, there wasn’t enough room (AND IT STILL LOOKED LIKE A BOMB WENT OFF!) But then after much confusion on my part, we found the solution.
We realized we had to break this task into several smaller tasks. It was too much to tackle “organization” all in one day; however, finding a better home for her nail polish than a big tattered shoe box was totally reasonable. For our first Christmas together, I was such a thoughtful awesome husband! ☺ I bought her this nail polish organizing rack. For my birthday, she got me a tie rack (so much better than 3 Wal-Mart bags of ties taking up a lot of our small coat rack.
With each new hobby, or each new apartment upgrade, we found that we once again had more than what we planned for. The key three steps to compartmentalizing and organizing are:
1) Focus in on very specific items that can be grouped into one category
2) Don’t overgeneralize the items (e.g. sewing, clothes, etc.)
3) Take time looking around for organizers that take up the least amount of space
With these under your belt, you are ready to tackle the world. You will be amazed with how little space is needed to store a lot of those things you can’t bear to part with. Soon you will be a master organizer and will have a closet that looks like this below …. Or better!!!
Kids Storage Bins
Of course all storage and organizing efforts will one day face the make it or break it point, KIDS! Kids somehow manage to have more and more toys every time I try to clean up and put them away. I swear birthdays were once a year, but now they are somehow too cute to resist waiting the 300 more days till their next birthday to spoil. Fortunately, Sprout’s Modern Kid’s Furniture has the fun answer to our toy problem. With their easy to assemble shelves, and reconfigurable grid, kids can not only store their toys in compartmentalized bins, but play games with the bins. Imagine playing tic-tac-toe with the toy bins!
You will be amazed with how easy these are to set up, rearrange, take-down, and store. Sprout has several individualized and styled bins that can even create a city skyline. These bins become their own life-sized puzzle! Personally I like getting the boxes with a design printed already on one side, and then being able to use the other three to add personal decorations: a label on one side, kid’s first great works of art on another side, and some type of game on the third side. The possibilities are endless! ☺
Just survived another Christmas season! Life was good, and the house was rich with the smell of both the new spiced cranberry Scentsy candle and the fresh oven pancakes being taken out in the neighboring kitchen. My brief moment of peace was rudely interrupted when I realized that with lots of new memories came lots of new toys, new pajamas from Old Faithful (i.e. my awesome mom), and new everything else. Then came the inevitable dreaded question, “Where am I going to put all of this?”
Whether it be massive clutter, overcrowded closets, or perpetual state of losing everything important, everyone has had to deal with storage problems that sadly don’t fix themselves. If you haven’t experienced this, wow (seriously that’s all I have to say). For the rest of us HUMAN BEINGS, we have to deal with finding a miracle solution to store all of our stuff. This is why we (here at Sprout-Kids) are creating this blog series for DIY storage ideas, to help us all find answers and storage tips we all desperately need!
Stay tuned for our upcoming blog posts!