Making Quality Time for the Family

By: ian Williamson

Many parents today would like their kids to watch a lot less TV, and instead, spend some quality family time. But how do you do that, when both parents are working, and there isn't a lot of time to prepare fun activities on a daily basis?

Let's find out what you need to have handy in order to find time to play with your family. Create a family activity center that includes fun things for everyone in the family. Here are some ideas, right from your home:

Toilet Paper Tubes: You can play your own version of "bowling" with these. Stand 10 of them up in a "V" shape, and have the kids throw a rubber ball at them (pick a 6" diameter or smaller ball). Of course, you can encourage the kids to be creative and color the tubes, and you can also come up with different ways to throw the ball: standing on one foot, blindfolded, push it with your nose, etc.

Plastic Containers & Tops: You can use pudding and yogurt containers, or any other plastic tubs to hold your crayons, markers, and paint. The tops can be used as dials for play dashboards, or even as play dishes, or cookie cutters.

Cotton from Vitamin Bottles: You can use these to make hair for puppets, smoke for volcanoes, or snow for winter games.

Used Gift Wrap: Great to decorate home-made toys, and wrap make-belief gifts.

Fabric Scraps: These have so many uses to keep your kids busy! Make doll clothes, wrap gifts, decorate tins to keep pens in, make pillows and potpourri sachets, create small quilts, etc.

Junk Mail, Catalogs, and Magazines: Great sources of pictures for your family games. You can get decor for that new doll room, people for your next activity, and even a story or two to read.

As you can see, there are many things around your home that can be put to great use for quality family time.

Now, here are some quick game ideas you can play with the family, instead of watching TV:

Reverse Writing: This can make for some great fun for everyone in the family. Ask everyone to write a message for the rest of you, but in reverse. Then look in the mirror to see how you did. Not only is this game fun, but it exercises the brain of all those involved.

Sand Paintings: Take one of your child's drawings, and make it an art piece. Using a Q-tip apply some white glue, to the drawing, then spread a handful of sand over it and let it dry for a few minutes. Shake the excess sand off, and you've got sand art. You can take this a step further, and add color to it, but painting the sand.

Create a Book: Who wouldn't love being an author? Get together several magazines, newspapers, brochures, junk mail, and mail order catalogs, and look for things your child is interested in. Then, organize the pictures into a story line, glue them onto paper, and tie them together to form a book. Add a "hard cover" made of cardboard and decorated by your kids, and you are done.

It's not hard to find ways to have quality time: all you need to do is a little planning. Go spend some time creating your own family activity center, and be ready for a lot of fun!

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