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25+ Things to do with your kids in any part of the world: USA, Europe & Beyond
No matter where you are in the world, you don’t need a lot of money or extravagant things to make children happy and have fun. I’m a pure example of this. Here are some ideas to get your juices flowing:
Build a tent
Seriously, who buys those pop-up store tents anymore? (I’m not judging, I used to own them lol) When you have a small living space or live out of a suitcase like us, you have the luxury of having
All. The. Things. amiright?
So, trust me, kids will much rather build their own tent with extra bedsheets, pillowcases, fabrics and chairs of all sorts.
Have bunk beds? Ohhh those are the best and bring back so many memories! #hello
(at least in my household) kids want IN on whatever you’re doing. Haha, My youngest child will harass my life to ‘help cook’ until I say yes. Obviously, I should be sterner and not give in (what the heck am I teaching her by giving in right? I know. moving on) but in this case, I adore the cuteness of a teeny tiny human with a cupcake for a face, trouting along to beg me to cook. How can I resist? So I now schedule time for the girls to cook. And what’s more fun than mixing, tasting and squishing!
Arts and crafts
This is my inner creative alter ego wanting to pry itself out. I LOVE arts and crafts (don’t be fooled, I’m by no means crafty or good haha) I enjoy it, and I promise if you let go of perfectionism you will too. Honestly, you don’t even need ‘a plan.’ Go to your craft store, i.e., any dollar store, and stock up on anything even remotely crafty, even if you think you won’t use it. Head straight to the stationary section, then head to the home/garden isle, after the tool and auto isle (you need something reasonable to hold all this crap, food aisle (for cheap dry goods. think beans, rice, and oats) and finally the kitchen isle for plastic cups, foil, etc. and those paper plates you’ll need for those maracas.
Why on Gods green earth is playdough SO DAMN EXPENSIVE???!!! Okay, I’m sorry for yelling. #Imdone. I’ve never purchased playdough for the girls because we afford it and when we could, why the heck would I pay that much anyway? And for the bargain shopper mamas reading this before you go on to tell me I can buy them in bulk, on sale, from said dollar store…I wrote above- here are my thoughts: my kids must be one a kind because these boogers go on to ‘make’ me food creations of all types and mix the playdough in all kinds of ways to make colors I didn’t even know existed. (and I’ve tried those cheaper ones and my goodness- NO THANKS) Kids enjoy cooking (see note above) and making messes, it’s a win-win. Plus it’s super easy, all types of recipes available online. So no excuses. (and no it doesn’t take that long. #aintnobodygottimeforthat
Have a Treasure Hunt
This is sooo fun. Honestly, it doesn’t need to be, and it gives you time to just sit down. Ah. You can hide anything from candy, new pencils, notes, etc. (Think the birthday section at a said dollar store)
Play dress up
we only have girls, and it goes without saying that they enjoy dressing up. (see toy section of any dollar store. do you see a pattern here lol) But I can only guess that boys would enjoy dressing up as well as it is a great pretend/imaginative play.
Let me start off by saying that if you don’t like pizza, I don’t know we can be friends. Ok just kidding maybe lol I don’t think I’ve ever met a kid but doesn’t like pizza and this is indeed such a versatile and cheap thing to make that there isn’t any excuse for you not to make it and it’s a lot of fun. I grew up pretty poor, and pizza for us consisted of a slice of white wonder bread cheap no-frills pasta sauce and a slice of what was supposed to be cheese. Then we popped it in the oven for a few minutes watching it until the cheese got ever so slightly burned and dug in. Do everyone in your family a favor and make the dough from scratch is pretty simple or you can just buy it one from the store it’s still a lot of fun!
Fly a kite (create a kite)
So self-explanatory and kids love it so go get one and get to your local park already
if you don’t have a kite , crafts to the rescue! It is super easy to make, and they work!
This is one of my favorite pastimes, so I feel kind of selfish writing it but our kids loved it, and I think it’s because we are both from big cities in you don’t see stars are often and when you think it’s the one you realize that it’s just a helicopter. Enjoy the little things
Listen to books
Another guilty pleasure here but I’ve posted this love answer my children, and it’s always a good time. There are a few ways you can do this if you’re looking for free options the best way is to download the Overdrive or Libby app and entering your details and library card details, and you get to listen to audiobooks for free. If finances are no burden for you then audible is such an excellent option, and they have pretty much anything you could look for. Except The gruffalo…they don’t have that anymore because Julia Donaldson wants to do stick to print books…ok I digress. Haha. Another more affordable option is the Scribd app. it’s pretty amazing because you pay a small fee of about 5 to 8 books of month, and you get to listen to an unlimited amount books the downside is that you don’t keep it, so it’s kind of like a music subscription you get all the music you want while you’re paying subscriber otherwise you lose all your stuff.
Same advice as above^
Make a play
Piggybacking off of the dress up here….our girls could do this all day long. Like seriously. They have. They do.
Keep all and any extra boxes you can get your hands on… The bigger, the better. (Invest in a good x-acto knife) < you’ll need this for the never-ending requests to make doors, windows and “secret exits.”
Build a snowman
If you’re in a climate where it permits this, don’t let the beauty of snow pass by because it’s bitterly cold. Trust me. I understand the struggle. But at the end of the day, it doesn’t last and the memories will.
Does this really need a caption?
Train or bus ride
So, it doesn’t matter if you’re in NYC, London, Paris, or your tiny small town that’s barely making Google maps…if there are buses or trains, use em. Kids love this stuff.
Don’t underestimate your local library. They always have fantastic free workshops going on where all the is required is a simple registration.
This is such a great way to immerse yourself where you are. If you’re traveling like us, this allows you to see and meet new people. Engage in the culture and get fresh produce, food, and knick-knacks.
Make musical instruments
Here I am with the craft stuff again! If you’re like us and travel like it’s your second job, then this is a good one. Music is good for the spirit, and you wouldn’t believe how easy it is to use common household things to make instruments out of.
Have a parade
When you’re done making said instruments^ Be super silly and have a parade! Storm and stomp around the house and have fun. (Be mindful of the hour of course if you live above anyone)
I can’t quite remember, but there was a time/age where our girls didn’t always get along so well. And the only time where there was a sense of peace was when they were taking baths. Seriously, don’t underestimate the power of simple water, soap and “toys” (I wrote that in quotes because I despise bath toys and much prefer temporary toys like plastic water bottles, used up lemon juice containers, etc)
Children do mimic what they see. Obviously, this can be a good and bad thing. In this case, it’s alright. Many times throughout the day you can find me lost in thought #heyfellowinfj and wait for it: bird or human watching
The girls love seeing birds up close and analyzing their attributes. Have your kiddos try this!
Kids love to make messes so let them! Grab any old magazines, newspapers, leaflets, flyers, and pieces of scrap paper you no longer need and cut them up. You can simply put them through the shredder (this adds to the fun, but obviously watch out for those little fingers and blades) or cut shapes snowflakes, etc. Then toss them in the air and roll around in it and have a confetti party!
One of the joys of many sports is that you can travel with said instruments. Any game that involves a ball can fit in your luggage once deflated. Cricket is super lightweight, and the ball is small. Frisbee is a fantastic choice. It can get tricky with tennis as rackets tend to be heavy and bulky. (But relatively cheap to purchase)
Chalk is typically cheap anywhere you go and works on almost any sidewalk/balcony! If you have a private area you’re using, bring out the hose, a bucket or a bowl of water to wash away the drawings and begin fresh the next day.
Go to a museum, café, library or bookstore.
To find free museums, type “free museum, city” into your browser of choice….Same with the others.
This may differ wherever you go, but in the US, most firefighters are happy to speak to children when they drop by to have a look but do call first to verify! (To avoid disappointment) We’ve never had an issue, but you never know.
Sing & dance
So I almost felt a bit hypocritical writing this one because I loathe doing both in public. Yes, even in front of my own family haha! But, I assure you, if you’re the same way, take it slow and do it scared! You’ll be glad you did. The easiest thing to do is go to YouTube and find some kid dance channels (maybe search for kid choreography) and let the magic happen. You can also use a Toca Boca dance app!
Learn a language
After a certain amount of time traveling (it’s been years for us) your kiddos will grow to love languages. Naturally, as humans, especially little humans, we love communicating. And there’s no better way than completely immersing yourself into another one’s culture: language and all.
I realize this specifies toddlers in the heading. However, these activities can be easily adapted and enjoyed by older children as well. My kiddos are in the 10 and under range (as an example.)
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What do you do for family fun?