Family Activities for All Ages
2-12 year old
The Move Jar!
We often end up spending lots of time indoors during the cold and rainy seasons so you may need to get creative at home for active play so that your children can enjoy moving around without risk of hurting themselves or breaking something. Try the "Move Jar" out today!
You can keep adding to the jar each week to really mix up the moves!
8 Years Old - Adult
Outdoor Scavenger Hunt
Try creating your own scavenger hunt with your family!
Make a short, simple list of things for your children to look for outside—such as “animal tracks,” “a shiny object,” or “something you can hold liquid in.” The satisfaction of finding the objects turns it into a such a fun activity for them, and it will keep them outside in search of the next item on your list!
Using devices to focus on the world around you
Technology & Plants
Save this activity for a sunny day!
Check out the free version of "Picture This" on your app store. Many other options exist!
Simple indoor activity with supplies you already have!
Involve your child in every step of this activity by asking them to help tear the tape and create the hopscotch layout. You can go all over the house!
0-5 year old Activities
Animal sounds & movement
Make Animal Music
There are lots of ways to be playful and support your child’s learning. Here are some ideas for how to connect children’s love of animals to musical exploration.
Watch and listen
Animals appear in different ways throughout your child’s day. They might be pets, characters in storybooks, spotted while on a walk, or part of your child’s pretend play. Watch and listen for these appearances.
If your child is pretending to be an animal, join in! Be a silly and playful partner who gives ideas but also follows your child’s lead. If you come across an animal, encourage your child to bring the animal into his or her play.
Grow a sound vocabulary
We often say a cat meows. But what other sounds does a cat make? Ask playful questions to encourage your child to develop a longer list of sounds for cats—and for other animals as well. What sounds does a cat make when it’s mad (hiss)? Happy (purr)?
Make an animal song
Help your child turn her developing sound vocabulary into an “animal song.” Together, you can make motions or draw pictures related to each sound an animal makes. You can play around with the types of animals and sounds, making up different songs.
Stay in the moment or share it later
It’s wonderful fun for your child to enjoy an animal song in the moment and then let it go. Sometimes, though, she might want to save the song so she can share it later. Make a short video or have her draw pictures to glue or tape in the “right” order, recording the important details of the animal song to share with others. Keep the experience relaxed and playful to best support your child’s musical development and joy in music making.
Simple Math & Baking
To help children with math, find where math has its groove in our life—where it's applied and practical. Don't pass on your math fears! Use simple math concepts, methods, and measurements, and enjoy the results. Children often want to help—and help sample the finished product! Find time, at least once a week, to hold baking sessions that can start math conversations and calculations!
Baking math begins with forming a habit called mis en place—everything in order—“ducks in a row”—before you ever put the flour in the bowl. Bake together and build math skills with these 10 baking habits:
1. Pick an ingredient your children have read about: apples, blueberries, carrots, butter, zucchini. Ask children “What shapes do you see?” Bake waffles, pancakes, bread, and pizza.
2. Choose a recipe with simple ingredients and 1, 2, 3, directions. Recipes at HomeBaking.org and KidsaCookin.org (Spanish or English) are a great start. Check your library for Cooking Class and Baking Class by Deanna F. Cook—perfect for young bakers.
3. Read the recipe, top to bottom, reading aloud ingredient names, amounts needed, oven temperature, baking time, and steps, beginning to end.
4. Ask, “What ingredient is used in the smallest amount?” “Which is the largest amount?” “Is there more flour than sugar or butter?”
5.Find each ingredient and place it on the counter. Ask your child to help put the ingredients in the order they will be used.
6. Offer children under age 2 the dry measuring cups to use as stacking cups. By age 3, they can hand you “the littlest cup,” (1/4 cup), the “medium-sized cup” (1/2 cup) or, you can ask, “Which cup has a 3 on it (⅓ cup)?” Help children fill the cups and level the measure off. Let them add the ingredients to the mixing bowl.
7. Bake the same-sized cookies, muffins, and loaves. This isn’t just to avoid fights over the biggest cookie! Help 4-year-olds work on hand–eye coordination by scooping batter or dough. Ask them to guess why all the cookies or muffins on one pan need to be equally spaced and the same size. (All will bake the same—if some are big and some small, the big ones might be raw while the little ones could be burnt.)
8. What is a fraction—or part of a cup? Have your 5-year-old measure two ½ cups of flour and transfer flour to the 1 cup measure. Show them that “1 over 2” is ½ cup; if the ½ cup is used twice it will equal 1 cup. This may be done with ¼ (four ¼ cups = 1 cup) or ⅓ (three ⅓ cups = 1 cup).
9. Check the oven—Ask if it is empty. “How many racks are in it?” “We will use the middle rack—which one is that?” Heat the oven to the temperature in the recipe—have your older children match the oven degrees in the recipe to the oven dial or toggle up to the degree number. Ask, “How hot will the oven be?” Compare and contrast the oven’s heat to a hot summer day—the oven is 3 to 4 times hotter! Remind your children: ONLY adults should load and remove pans from a hot oven.
10. Get a simple food scale. Help older children weigh their pancake, muffin, or bread serving to see its net weight. “Is it 1 ounce?” That’s one serving. “Does it weigh more?” “How many bread servings is your pancake?” Weigh the ingredients after measuring them. See if your child can get 1 cup of flour to weigh 4.25 ounces three times in a row!
Above all, wash hands before you begin and after you handle flour and raw batter or dough to reduce the number of bacteria on your hands.
Credit: Sharon Davis with National Association for the Education of Young Children