April Fools’ Day is upon us! Feared by many and loved by some, make this your year to be on the giving end of the pranks. Just because you’re the parent, doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun. Here are a few fun and silly April Fools’ Day pranks to play on your kids that won’t result in tears.
Upside down house:
After the kids go to bed, turn as many things in the house as you can upside down, and watch the confusion across your kids faces as they come out in the morning. You can do everything from picture frames and kitchen utensils to coffee tables and ottomans.
Stick googly eyes on everything in the refrigerator:
When the kids go to open the fridge for breakfast or their after school snack. they’ll be greeted with quite a surprise that is sure to make them giggle.
Juice with a twist!
Instead of serving juice for dinner, put Jell-O in a drinking glass with a straw and watch them struggle to slurp up their sweet surprise!
Plant doughnut seeds
Before the kids go to school, tell them you found these new types of seeds that grow into doughnuts! Plant them together, water them, and put them in the window for sunlight. This one only works with a little follow-through. When they get home, surprise them with different varieties of doughnuts from their trees!
Tiny gift, big expectations
Give your kids a tiny gift like a piece of candy, a sticker, or a new box of crayons, but present it in a BIG way! Wrap it in a box, and then wrap that box in another box, and repeat one or two more times until the gift is very large. Watch them have fun searching deeper and deeper for their little prize.
Is the fridge running?
Ask your kid if they will do you a favor and go check to see if the fridge is running–it sounded kind of quiet. Here them giggle when they see that yes, in fact, it is!
See, April Fools’ Day doesn’t have to be mean. We hope you have fun playing these crafty pranks on your kids! Do you have any other prank ideas for kids? Share them in the comments below!
Feeling pent-up indoors and the kids need something (besides watching TV) to do?
Here are some simple indoor-games that can help fight your cabin fever.
Plastic Cup Construction
Supplies: lots of plastic cups
Want to stretch their creativity? Lighter than blocks and easy to condense for storage, “plastic cup construction” is a ridiculously simple activity that will get their brains working as they try to build structures out of cups. Whether you challenge them to build a tower, a fortress, or a mini-colosseum—this creative, low-mess activity will keep your kiddos occupied for hours. (link)
Supplies: painter’s tape, (straws and ping pong balls optional)
Another fun and low-maintenance in-door game is creating a tape maze. Using tape, (blue painter’s tape works great) create a large maze on the floor. Then have the little ones try to solve the maze with toy cars or ponies. If you really want to make it fun, give them some straws and ping pongs balls, and have them guide the balls with puffs of air. Let them change up the maze and add toy obstacles to keep the fun going. (link)
Check out this cool variation here: (link)
What’s in the Bag?
Supplies: a bag, objects found around the house
Caution: this game may not be for the faint of heart—depending on how “creative” your child can be. Give the child a bag and allow them to collect five things from around the house. Have them bring the bag back to you or another player. By feeling the objects inside the bag (no peeking!), try and guess what’s inside. (link)
Supplies: a large room, 3+ people
A grade school classic, Simon Says is a game that teaches the players to listen carefully before they act. One person who is in charge gives out any kind of command, such as, “pat your head,” “jump three times,” or [insert silly action]—except they should only do the action if the person in command (i.e. Simon) says “Simon says” before. This game can get a little competitive but it’s great to play if you need to kill some time with a group of little ones and you don’t have any props. (link)
Balloon Paddle Ball
Supplies: paper or plastic plates, tape, Popsicle sticks, balloons
For reasons unknown, kicking a balloon in the air can entertain for hours—especially with a toy paddle. Create a paddle out of a plate and a popsicle stick, blow up a balloon, and tell them the balloon cannot touch the floor. (link)
Why Less is More : How reducing your child’s toy collection is a positive thing
Toys, toys, toys! Now more than ever kids have a plethora of toys to choose from. But “toys are not merely playthings.” They are tools for molding children in their development. Toys “form the building blocks for our child’s future, teach our children about the world and about themselves.” Beyond that, they are a means of sending messages and communicating values. Therefore, it is important that parents think about how effective their children’s toys are and what foundation their toys are laying. (Why Fewer Toys will Benefit Your Kids)
Many child psychologists support the idea that ‘less is more.’ Studies show that fewer toys will benefit children in the following ways: kids learn to be more creative, develop longer attention spans, establish better social skills, learn to take greater care of things, develop a greater love for reading, writing, and art, become more resourceful, argue less with each other, learn perseverance, become less selfish, experience more of nature, learn to find satisfaction outside of the toy store, and live in a cleaner, tidier home.
Objects of play must be simple and safe and allow a child’s’ imagination to flourish. The best toys to assist in healthy development are the ones that allow kids to “fill in the blanks.” Blocks, plain dolls, art sets, musical instruments, balls, household objects, things from nature, etc., allow the child to determine what that object is and how they want to interact with it. The child is empowered to define what the ‘toy’ is and how to play with it.
One main consideration to contemplate when bringing toys home is a toy’s “play value”. Liat James, author of ‘Raising Children’ states that play value is the most important aspect when it comes to toys. In an article from bbc.com, James breaks down the three factors that make a brilliant toy and how to decide what to keep, what to buy, and what to pass on:
- Social Value: play that teaches sharing, patience, and healthy social skills
- Versatility: toys that can “be” anything
- Durability: Long-lasting and safe
To help other parents in their journey of cutting back, share your experiences and ideas by commenting, liking, and sharing!
Topics to get you started:
What’s the most imaginative toy your child has made out of an everyday object?
What toys do your children love and play with over and over again?
What art supplies or musical instruments are the best to have in the home?
Kid to Kid wants to help you work towards your new goals this year. Setting goals has proven to be most effective when goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. As you go about setting new goals in each area of your life, keep your goals within these realistic guidelines and you are more likely to have success. Remember, even just the act of writing down your goals will give your a greater likelihood of achieving them. So what are you waiting for? Good luck and Happy New Year!
Click on this image to download your S.M.A.R.T. goals chart.
‘Tis the season of giving. Here are a ten services activities that the whole family can do together.
- Adopt a family for the holiday through a local business or faith. Shop for them together as a family.
- Fill a bag or purse with hygiene supplies, gloves, socks, and snacks; give it to a homeless man or woman.
- Send holiday thank you cards to your local police officers, firemen, and librarians.
- Shovel snow and rake leaves for your neighbors.
- Babysit for a family friend so that the mom and dad can go on a date.
- Decorate and write holiday cards for senior citizens
- Put on a talent show for the local nursing home (schedule in advance).
- Bake and leave treats for your mail carrier.
- Collect extra textbooks and donate to students in need in places like Sierra Lione and other African nations.
- Host a hot chocolate stand and donate the proceeds to charity.
As you go about wrapping presents this year, try out some of these tips to turn your efforts into mini-masterpieces.
Wrapping a Gift Box
- Have the proper tools: Have workable wrapping paper (sturdier paper looks best!), sharp scissors, gift tape, a flat solid surface to work on, as well as a rectangular box to place the gift inside—we suggest re-using cardboard boxes from mail deliveries or packaging so that you won’t have to buy them.
- Measure the paper: Partially unroll the wrapping paper face-down. Place the box on the paper and measure the amount of paper you will need by pulling the paper under and around the box. Make sure that the paper reaches a little over half way on from both edges. Turn the box and do this again to see that all sides will be covered.
- Cut: Cut the paper according to your measurements. Cut the paper as straight as possible. If your scissors are sharp enough, you can make an easy straight edge by holding the paper down and slicing through with the pit of the scissor blades, no scissor-munching necessary.
- Longest side first: Make sure the gift box is top-down so that the wrapping seams will be on the bottom. Fold down the edges with that extra little length from step 2. This will help the edges straighten out if the cutting didn’t go so well. Fold the paper up and over to meet along the longest seam. Allow the paper to overlap a little bit. Make the paper taught, and tape. Press and crease the paper along the edges to keep it looking crisp.
- Folding the ends: Viewing the ends of the box, press the two non-seam sides flat against the box and tape down. You can trim the seam side and its counterpart if you see that they won’t match up well, cut them straight across—but be careful to not cut too much. Tape down the seam side. Pull up the last side and tape on the top. The key to making this look pretty is measuring well, creasing firmly, and using tape to hold the paper in place.
For a more visual tutorial, check out this video from Howdini below:
Trying to wrap a cylinder or other odd shape? Check out these helpful videos by Wrapology.
Plus, adding a special touch like a hand-made bow, strings, or artwork also make a gift beautiful. Check out some of our favorite ideas below.
Food often plays a big role in our holiday celebrations. Here are some food-themed activities that you can try out this holiday season to add to the family fun.
- Donate to Those in Need
It’s a time of loving, sharing, and giving. Look within your community to find a local food drive that you can contribute to as a family. You can especially teach your little ones the importance of giving to those in need by asking them to help you select the food (or hygienic items) to give away for donation.
- Decorate Sugar Cookies—Deliver to Loved Ones!
Sugar cookies can be molded into all shapes and sizes, plus they provide a perfect canvas for colorful icing. Sit down as a family and create some holiday cookie masterpieces together. Once the cookies are done, deliver them to neighbors, friends, and family as a way to spread holiday cheer. Need a recipe? Go here.
- Gingerbread Houses: With a Twist
Building gingerbread houses is always creative, tasty, and fun! One great family tradition is to bake and decorate a gingerbread house together, and hide a family DVD inside. Set a special day in the future to break open the gingerbread house (the kids love this part) and watch the film together. We especially like this gingerbread house tutorial.
- Decorate With Food
- Hot Cocoa & Stories
Sometimes it’s the simple things we love the most. Who can deny a toasty mug by the fire? Pour yourselves some hot cocoa and gather around a cozy place to slow down and tell family stories. This homemade peppermint hot chocolate looks right for the task.
Thanksgiving is a day of gratitude and spending quality time with family; it’s the perfect time to continue or begin family traditions.
Here are some great family activities to try out this holiday.
1. Macy’s Day Parade
This year will be the 89th Annual Macy’s Day Parade. Watching the parade is a long-time Thanksgiving Day tradition for many American families. For details on the parade this year, click here.
2. Turkey Trot Run
As these types of runs grow increasingly popular, check to see if your town is hosting a Turkey Trot Run. Turkey Trots are usually open to the whole family, and as proceeds often go to charities it’s a great way to give back on a day of gratitude. Not to mention, it’s a great way to get some exercise before the big feast!
3. Touch Football
With a chaotic Thanksgiving morning, it may be a good idea to send some of the family outside (away from the kitchen) for some athletic bonding. Football is traditionally the sport of the day, but if you have little ones, try some Touch Football to keep it kid-friendly.
4. Thanksgiving Table Crafts
Another way to keep the kids occupied is to have them build Thanksgiving decorations for the table. The kids will have fun making their personal contribution and this could be a great time to sneak in a lesson on how to set the table while they’re at it. Here are some awesome craft ideas here.
5. Discuss Family History
With all of the relatives around, what better time to discuss family genealogy? You may want to bring out some photo albums to help refresh old memories or build a family tree with the little ones. If you want to keep it simple, ask each family member to tell their favorite family story. The warm memories are sure to bring many smiles!
One of the best parts about Halloween parties is creating foods to make your guests squirm. Here are a few of our favorite creepy finds.
For a filling refreshment, the wormy sliders are perfect (if you can stomach them). To created the “worm” look, simply slice hotdogs and drop them into boiling water for 1-2 minutes. Add a tasty barbecue sauce and slap them onto toasted buns. (Source)
These little bites are easy to make: hard boiled eggs, a dash of food coloring, mayonnaise, paprika and olives. (Source)
We’ve added this one because we love that it’s not only scary, but healthy too. Use toasted almonds for teeth. (Source)
Yes, they look terrifying. But combine salty pretzel sticks with white (green) chocolate and who can resist? (Source)
Cup O’ Worms
With chocolaty crumbs mixed into creamy pudding, this dessert is not so scary—but it’s definitely yummy! (Source)
It’s amazing what a little dry ice can do to transform your beverage. Try adding it to Kool Aid, juice or punch. (Source)