As we grow into adulthood we tend to lose our sense of imagination by prioritizing efficiency and productivity. The imagination is a powerful tool that helps kids develop important life skills—skills that can be good markers for understanding a child’s overall development. Plus, pretending is just pure fun for kids!
Much of life’s typical tasks can feel monotonous or a chore. However, imagination and fun can transform the way we live into a much more magical life. Here are some ideas to inspire you to approach everyday tasks with your kids in a way that brings fun and imagination into the equation.
Keep in mind: every single one of these may sound very unfun for an exhausted adult who just needs to get things done. Save these ideas for when you or another care provider can prioritize the time to indulge in the fun.
Make Getting Ready For Bed Magical
- Invite your kiddo to practice some yoga poses and breathing with you to calm their overly tired body.
- Play Simon Says for all of the tasks your child needs to complete.
- Play “Mama (or Papa) Cat.” Don’t use words, only meow in different tones while you pantomime what you want the child to do. (Swap in a favorite animal of choice)
- Before bedtime, hide the kiddo’s PJs around their room and play “hot/cold” to find the things they need.
Make Learning Magical
- For emerging readers, make a kid-friendly letter-writing kit, complete with notecards, envelopes, stamps, and pre-printed address stickers (with both the sender’s and recipient’s addresses).
- For younger kiddos, go on a scavenger hunt around the house for the letters of the alphabet or objects that start with specific letters/sounds.
- Cover a cookie sheet in shaving cream and practice writing letters and short words.
- Use whipped cream for a taste-safe option.
- Use mini marshmallows for math manipulatives and eat one for each correct answer.
Make Preparing Meals Magical
- Give kids their own grocery list (use pictures if they aren’t reading yet) and pencil to cross off items as they find them.
- Allow your child to pick out a new food item in the grocery store to try.
- Write up a menu and wait on your kids as if they were dining in a high-end restaurant.
- Invite your kiddo to help. Find a recipe, shop for ingredients, and prepare it together.
Make Personal Hygiene Magical
- Have a kiddo who’s resistant to bathtime? Host a spa/salon day. Make it luxurious and pampering. Play soothing music. Sip cucumber water. Go all out with “fancy” products to clean and comb their hair or scrub, cut, and file nails. End with nail polish or a fun new ‘do.
- Turn off the lights and add some glow-sticks to the tub for a colorful, fun surprise.
- Make a playlist of fun 2-minute songs and boogie down to new tunes while brushing.
Make Morning Routines Magical
- Pretend you’re an alien who doesn’t know how to wear clothes. Make ridiculously wrong attempts then let the child teach you by doing it themselves.
- Invite your kid to pick out your outfit for the day, then do the same for them.
- Take turns playing DJ. Pick old favorites or try new tunes and sing your way to school.
Make Clean-Up Time Magical
- Turn it into a game by asking your kiddo to pick up only toys that are a certain color (or shape or start with a specific letter of the alphabet).
- Play basketball to load the dirty clothes into the machine. Liven it up with your best sportscaster voice calling all the exciting plays.
The choice to make everyday tasks longer (and more elaborate) than normal may initially feel like a painful one. However, finding creative ways to make life’s “regular” moments special is a great way to connect with your child and create memories that will shape their childhood.