Wednesday, June 24, 2009

6 Ways to Have a Ball!

Play Footsie – grab a big plastic ball, and have everyone lie down on the floor with their feet up.  Hold the ball with your feet, and try to work together to throw and catch it.

Clean it up- to keep your older toddler or preschooler busy while you’re doing stuff nearby, give her a beach ball and washable markers.  Let her decorate it and then “give it a bath” and wash the marker.

Toss It – Pair up, with each pair holding a bath towel between them.  Try to toss and catch a lightweight ball from towel to towel.  (If your indoors, use a beach ball) Count how many times you can toss it before it hits the ground.



You can find lots of cool ball-related games @  Click on the “kid games” section.     


Preschoolers On Up

·  Launch far-out fun. Let your child play Shuttle Tac Toe, Space Bounce, and other games at NASA Kids' Club @

·  Keep car trips fun:
- How high can your kids count before the next traffic light?
- Decide who'll listen for the words "new" and "old" on the radio. Whoever counts ten of her word first wins!

·  Test her memory. While you do laundry, log your child on to -- she'll have a blast clicking on lights on the turtle's shell as they come up.

·  Get in the St. Paddy's Day spirit: Cover a piece of shamrock-shaped cardboard with double-sided tape. Have your child stick on green paper, leaves, and other stuff.

·  Print out a Dr. Seuss game from

·  Kick off a buggy summer! Your child can design a cool virtual insect with wings and antennae at Build-a-Bug @

·  Engage in fowl play. Turn an orange into a turkey: Use toothpicks to attach a cherry tomato head, raisin eyes, a baby-carrot beak, and lettuce feathers.


More Toddlers On Up

· Create a love map. Draw a big heart on paper, and ask your child what's in her heart. Jot down what she says for a great Father's Day gift.

· Toss a ball in running water -- from the hose, in a shallow stream, in the ocean. Show your child how to use a small net or strainer to catch it, then throw it back and start again!

· Make a perfect valentine stamp. Slice an apple in half, then cut a "V" shape at the bottom of one of the pieces. Have your child paint the flat surface red and stamp it onto cards.

· A quick hide-and-seek game: Stick rows of Post-it notes on a piece of paper, put a sticker under one, and let your child guess where the sticker is. Then hide another!

· Declare your floors "hot lava." Your child can move around the house only by hopping on "islands" (paper taped to the floor).

· Liven up a springtime walk. Give your child a colorful lightweight scarf to hold out of the stroller and fly like a streamer in the wind.

· Make pizza cookies. Give your child lumps of cold pizza dough so she can flatten them with a potato masher. Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on top, bake, and serve.

· Play mix and match. Give him a few empty plastic bottles or jars and their caps, and let him figure out which go together (just keep an eye on him).

· Have a race: Use chalk to draw a curvy course on your sidewalk for an instant trike path.

· Play laundry basketball. While you sort, hand your kids rolled-up socks and an empty trash can, and promise a kiss for every "point" they make.

· Make "movies." Create a flip book @

More Toddlers On Up

·  Decorate balloons. Rub one until it has a static charge. Supply your child with pieces of tissue or string to put on it, and let him see what else sticks. (Just be sure to watch him.)

·  Sew fun! Punch holes in an egg carton with a pen, tape on a string of yarn, and let your child thread it through the openings.

·  Stay cool with ice hockey. Tip over a small wastebasket in your driveway, toss some ice cubes on the ground, and use broomsticks to see who can score the most before the cubes melt!



Toddlers On Up

Toddlers on up

·  Start a pickup game: Put crayons or markers in a small pile. Kids can try to remove one at a time without disturbing the others.

·  Jazz up coloring: Print out Keith Haring's imaginative artwork @



·  Boost ABC fun: Print out adorable alphabet coloring pages



7 Cheap Ways to Have Fun

1.     Throw a salon party. Start bathtime a little early and get everyone in the bathroom for hairdo makeovers. Use shampoo to style your children's hair into crazy looks -- then it's into the tub for a scrubdown!

2.     Have a crafty St. Patrick's day. 1) Design thumbprint shamrocks: Dip your child's thumb in green paint, and make three prints close together on white paper. Create a whole field of 'em! 2) Cut a paper plate in half and have kids finger-paint a rainbow on it. Then shape a pot of gold out of construction paper, and tape it to the end of the rainbow.

3.     Free field trip: The Home Depot. This is a toddlers' paradise: There are light switches to flip, doorknobs to lock and unlock, and other gadgets they can play with under your watch.

4.     Check out Choose from hundreds of silly poems and read some out loud to each other (then rate them with the "giggle meter"). Also cool: fill-in-the-blanks poetry and tongue-twister races.

5.     Cook up some laughs. Want a few minutes on the phone without a kid saying "Mommmmy"? Hand your toddler a pot and a ladle, and tell him to make you some different kinds of "soup": alphabet-block soup, toy-car soup, stuffed-animal soup...

6.     Build a marble roller coaster. Take strips of cardboard (cut the edges off boxes), and fold them in half into "V" shapes. Tape them together, then prop them around the living room. Release a marble and see where it goes. (Best for kids over 4.)

7.     Play frisbee golf. Got a warmish day? Pick a few targets in the backyard (bush, tree, lawn chair), and keep track of how many tries it takes for each person to hit the objects with the disc. The player who completes the course with the fewest tries wins.

6 Ideas for Rainy-Day Fun

6 Ideas for Rainy-Day Fun

1.    Puddle jump. Go ahead -- get wet. See who can make the biggest splash, jump across the widest puddle, and be the first to fill up her boots.

2.    Create a "tie-dye" craft. Do the first part indoors: Grab some coffee filters and have the kids color them with markers (not washable ones), and lay them on a cookie sheet. Then put them outside in the rain and watch the colors run. Bring them inside, and after they dry, the kids can make flowers: Pinch each filter in the middle and twist, then wrap a green pipe cleaner around to make a stem.

3.    Take your kids on a "rescue the worms" walk. (You don't have to touch 'em!) Stroll around the neighborhood and let your kids pick them up off the sidewalk and toss them back into the grass. When you're home, go to and search for cool info on earthworms.

4.    Do a rainy-day Monet. Head outside with some sidewalk chalk. When it's wet, it works almost like paint!

5.    Have a splash. Take a bunch of bath toys outdoors -- boats, buckets, cups -- and play in a puddle, or find a "stream" at the edge of the street (if you live on a safe one) and race a boat against a lightweight ball.

6.    Make a rain catcher. If you just want to stay inside, have your child decorate a two-liter soda bottle, and measure and mark half-inches with a Sharpie. Then you cut off the top and put it outside a window where you can see it from inside. Set some fun goals: "When it gets to half an inch, we'll play a board game. When it gets to an inch, we'll make cookies..." etc.!