I’ve been struggling to come up with fun things to do with my kids this summer and it has really been weighing on me. I want to be able to spend time doing activities and games with them, but I guess I am just not that creative of a person because I cannot come up with activities that will be fun for all of us and will keep us busy. I have been feeling really bad about this lately because school has been out for about a month, and I still have yet to come up with stuff for us to do each day. Now and then I’ll find a fun little project for us to do, but I really want to be able to engage my kids in fun activities and just have fun with them.
Part of the problem also lies in that I have had very little energy lately. I get up and go to work, and by the time I get home I am exhausted and just don’t have the energy to expend on coming up with things to do. I have been researching online that my lack of energy could be due to numerous things, including; stress, low iron, low b-12, or hyperthyroidism. I am going to start with the things I can control and go from there. I already know I have low iron, so I am going to try to take a supplement, and possibly something that has b-12 in it as well. If that doesn’t help then we’ll move on and possibly consult the doc. Getting my energy up is just one step in the solution to doing things with my kids though. I still need to have some actual activities to do with them. I think that if I have some things planned out ahead of time it may also help with not being so frustrated when I get home from work. I won’t have to rush to try to think up something to do, get the activity ready, and then quickly run through it before bedtime. That just won’t be fun for anyone to do it that way.
So I’ve been searching for activities online, and to be honest it is harder than you think. If you find something you like, you have to remember the website you went to so you can find the instructions later, or write them down/print them out, and then you have to carry that paper around with you each time. Not my cup of tea. Well, I always say that things happen for a reason, so low and behold I was contacted to review this book called Play These Games, 101 Delightful Diversions Using Everyday Items. Of course I thought this was perfect, because now I would have a book at my disposal where I could just page through, pick an activity, and go with it.
When I got the book I just leafed through it quickly to see what kind of activities it had to offer, and at first I thought it was really great. The activities are all broken down by material type so you can pick something to do based on what you may have on hand, such as cardboard, craft sticks, balloons, etc. There is also a glossary at the end for any terms you may not be familiar with, and an index to find an activity by name. There is also a section at the back of the book that details 15 variations on how to play tag!
At first glance I thought this book was going to be a great tool! Then when I got a chance to actually sit down and look closer at some of the activities I was a little disappointed in quite a few of them. Many of the games had very intricate and detailed instructions that seemed a little overwhelming. Now don’t get me wrong, it is great to have such detail when reading instructions on how to create something, such as a Micro Mini Foosball Table, but the time it would take for me to create that game just seems daunting to say the least. Perhaps it goes back to my lack of energy, but I was quickly beginning to lose hope in this book being able to help me with my situation. I did find a few games that I think will be easy enough to try out for now, and hopefully when my energy returns I can try some of the more complex things.
One activity that can be played indoors or out is the Word Race. I thought this game would be perfect for both of my kids, even though neither of them can read yet, I could put pictures along side the words to help develop their skills, and we could have fun with this as a family. The basics of the game involve using craft sticks with words and/or pictures on, and you have to try to group the sticks into categories by picking up the sticks faster than anyone else for your selected category. The person who does this first is the winner for that round. It seems simple enough to set up, and easy enough to play.
Another fun game that I used to try to play when I was a kid, but forgot about until I read this book and was reminded of the Bozo Show, which pretty much ages me at this point, is bucket toss. You basically line up buckets in a row (they can be the same size or different sizes, up to you), and mark each with a point value. You have to try to get a ball in each bucket with the number of balls given. The player with the most balls in the buckets wins!
Overall I think if you have the time and energy to put into implementing some of the games and activities in this book it would be well worth your time to pick up a copy, especially if you are not a creative person (just like me!). If you are interested in taking a peek inside at some of the content, you can do so on Amazon here: Play These Games: 101 Delightful Diversions Using Everyday Items The book is on sale at Amazon right now for $11.08 (reg. $14.00) so take a look and see if you like it! You can find out more about the author, Heather Swain, and her book on her website here: http://www.heatherswainbooks.com/
Written by Jesica.
Disclosure: The Mommy Bunch received a free product to facilitate this review, however, all opinions are strictly our own.