Tuesday, March 1, 2011

#26 Playing Your Favorite Video Game With Your Kid

Kids love to play games and video games. Once your kid gets older and you can play together that's awesome!

Our son Valo likes to try playing NHL '11 already, but the controller is too large for his hands. But the iOS devices with swipe screen controls are great for playing together.

#25 Playing With Play-Doh

Play-doh or something similar is awesome to play with. You can easily shape animals of all kinds and from a very young age kids can do snakes even themselves and snakes are awesome. Play-doh or some other brand of non-toxic modeling compound is great to play with and not deadly even if you eat it. It contains a lot of salt so it is not good to eat lots of it. Keep it away from pets too, since they might think it's food.

You can also make Play-Doh yourself at home!

Monday, February 14, 2011

#24 Making Funny Faces

Funny faces are awesome, so is making them.

A camera is great to have to take a look at the results. Even better if you have a camera that you can point towards yourself and see the viewfinder before snapping the photo. For us it is the iPhone 4 with the FaceTime camera that we use all the time for recording and learning new funny faces.

Friday, February 11, 2011

#23 Swinging

There is something just awesome about swinging back and forth in a swing. You can do this very early on as soon as the kid can sit properly and you have a baby seat in the swing that is secure.

This is also one of those joys of playing together that you won't be able to do together once the kid gets older. So enjoy it while you get the chance.

#22 Eating Cake

Eating is fun and good for you, but eating cake is awesome! Sometimes so much that he would like that for breakfast every day after a couple of birthday parties...

#21 Sliding Together

Sliding is an awesome feeling. Snowy hills, water slides or just kiddie slides. You don't have a long time window to get to slide together on most of these and especially in kiddie slides. Do it while you can, when the kid gets older he will not allow you to slide together, he wants to go solo. You are allowed a bit longer in the sled, but to kiddie slides.

#20 Feeding Fish

There is something awesome about fish and feeding them. A gold fish pond or tank or a fish hatchery are all great places to see big schools of fish and get to feed them. Make sure to use only food that is meant for the fish and tell the kid why fish don't eat e.g. smoothies or bananas...

#19 Meeting Your Favorite TV Show Character

Favorite characters change over time, but there is always someone at the top of the list. It is awesome to get to meet your favorite character. In our case it was Postman Pat at the time of the photo.

Some smaller kids might not yet appreciate meeting "live" characters in costumes, some will, but take notice, it might be more scary than you think.

#18 Playing With Toy Boats

A small puddle and a toyboat is all you need to have an awesome time! Rubber ducks and other floating animals are great too.

Puddle's are better than lake or sea shore, so falling in is not as hazardous. Little toddlers shouldn't be left alone for a second though even with a puddle. Having a watch dog is also handy, but not enough.

#17 Sitting in a Police Car

Police cars, ambulances, fire trucks - all emergency vehicles that make loud noises and flashing lights are extremely cool.

It's even more awesome to get to sit in a real one. Of course only if the kid is there because he wants to and not because the police wants him to...

The driver's seat is the only place you would like to find your kid from in a police car

#16 Playing With Funny iPhone Apps

There are several funny and stupid iPhone apps that are fun to play with. Taking pictures and making you fat, made out of legos, old etc.

The end results are hilarious at least for father and the kid, maybe mum doesn't always agree...

Fatbooth Treatment

Monday, February 7, 2011

#15 Photo Shoots

We live in a visual world, human beings are visual. Digital cameras are great fun to have photo shoots with and look at the end results right away. Your kid will learn more about their own expressions and learn to enjoy posing.

Using the excuse of "let's take a picture of you doing X", where X is the choir or activity your kid wouldn't like to do just when it is needed like brushing teeth, eating, dressing up etc. is a perfect con to get them excited about the activity you want them to!

You can never take too many awesome pictures of every day situations and look at them and discuss.

#14 Feeding Animals

For some reason especially kids and grandmothers get a kick from feeding animals and pets.

Feeding dogs, goats, ducks etc. is awesome and the kids love it - if you make sure you are feeding the right food for their diet the animals will love it too.

#13 Sleigh Riding is Awesome

Riding downhill together or alone on a beautiful winter day is awesome. Kids are naturals as sliding down slopes etc. you just need to build their confidence and skill together for the height and slope so that they are always having fun and feeling secure. So better to ride together as long they think they need it, they will let you know once they want to go alone!

Sometimes sleigh is more convenient means to go around instead of stroller when there is a lot of snow.

When the kid gets a bit older you can graduate to steerable sleighs, downhill skis and snowboarding...

#12 Snow Angels

Snow angels are awesome if you have fresh snow and good outing gear. Let you kid fall on their back to the soft snow and move their feet and arms up and down to create the winged shape of an angel.

Just like real angels they are hard to catch on camera and require a bit of an open mind to see them...

#11 Playing Kitchenware As Instruments

Pots and pans make awesome drums. Putting cling film on top of them allows to really build some cool sounding drums.

But some other undervalued kitchenware instruments include egg cutters that sound like harpsichords, glasses and bottles filled with water and singing to a broom as a microphone.

#10 Building Snowmen and Snowdogs

Proper winter is one of the awesome aspects of cold weather. For snow men and snow animals the weather needs to be just about 0 Celsius or 32 Fahrenheit to be able to work the snow and pack it into shapes that last.

Snowmen are an all time favorite, but snow animals are awesome too. Dogs are fun and easy to build, they're also not too big so it doesn't take long and the end result is hugging good.

Good clothes and especially good gloves make the process more enjoyable for all.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

#9 Eating Fresh Fruit

There aren't a lot of things that can beat your favorite fresh fruit. A local farmer's market is a great place to learn about fruits and vegetables and get some awesome and healthy treats.

If you don't have a farmer's market, fresh fruit from anywhere is just as good as long as it is enjoyed together with your kid on a beautiful day.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

#8 Hugging Animals

Animals are awesome. Kids love them. Hugging animals, that are willing to be hugged is even more awesome.

Goats in petting zoos are a great target for hugging. Friendly dogs that like kids and are used to hugging are great too.

I'm sure there are several other animals that are awesome for hugging, but we haven't tried other than goats and dogs.

#7 Riding In A Carousel

Rides are awesome, carousels are the best rides to start with. Best to ride together at first and in a non-moving animal.

Later you can move to moving animals and more serious rides.

#6 Playing With Eye/Sun/etc. Glasses

Eyeglasses, sunglasses, safety glasses etc. are great fun and kids love to try them out.

Awesome fun guaranteed!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

#5 Being Gorillas

Kids love when parents do stupid things. Being a gorilla is very high on the list of stupid things.

Let your arms swing low on your sides, walk low and swing from side to side and make a gorilla face and noises.

Awesome fun guaranteed! For smaller kids be easy on the noises and don't be too scary...

#4 Reading Together Is Awesome

Reading is a great way to spend time together. Your kid will ask questions learn words, language, colors, numbers, concepts etc. and you'll both have an awesome time.

Favorite books will be read frequently, but even favorite books get old. Buying, borrowing and finding your old books are good ways to get variety into your active library.

Reading is good entertainment for tough days while eating, being together, it's good for traveling as well and especially good for bed time stories and setting up a familiar ending for every day.

#3 Smoothies Are Awesome

Smoothies are awesome. They are fun, nutritious, taste good and you can get them anywhere. They are great snacks instead of an endless amount of unhealthy options like ice cream, crisps and candy...

Smoothies are also great to make on your own together with your kid. Get some yoghurt, milk, banana, mango and throw them into the blender. Let your kid turn on the blender and see the ingredients to turn into a delicious smoothie.

Make some extra for yourself!

#2 Build With Legos or Duplos

First thing you need to make sure you have enough Legos or Duplos... Nothing is more frustrating than your kid asking you to build a train, car, house, ship etc. and all you have is a couple of bricks worth of building material.

We usually start off by me asking what should we build and trying to meet the demands and orders flying for different vessels and animals...

For boys at least it's good to have a set of Duplos where you have som wheels, makes it easier to try build anything close to vehicle of any kind.

Also having those base plates are really handy, they serve as a sturdy base for more elaborate settings or higher structures that would otherwise fall easily.

It's awesome to build anything tall - a tower, a robot, a skyscraper etc. - especially robots in our family.

Valo's favorite robot

It's awesome to build different animals - a crocodile, an elephant, a camel - anything that your kid likes.

A crocodile

An elephant

A camel

It's awesome to build houses and play with the Duplo characters!

It's awesome to build anything long - a snake, a ship, a train etc.

A ship

It's awesome to build a setting like where mom is or where grandpa lives!

Mom is playing a gig and tractor is listening
Grandpa's House

It's good have some advice available a couple of sources we use all the time are:

1) Legos own site, you can search for things to build and get instructions and of course order some badly needed bricks.

Duplo - http://duplo.lego.com/en-us/Parents/JustForFun/Default.aspx
Lego - http://www.lego.com/en-us/createandshare/default.aspx

2) Klasbricks is a great resource for inspiration - http://klasbricks.blogspot.com/

Buy some bricks and have an awesome time building with your kid!

# 1 Ice Skating

Skating is fun. It is also hard and so is the ice, so make sure your kid wears a helmet!

You don't even need skates for yourself, you can walk and hold hands to make sure the kid doesn't fall. I've found it easiest to be behind the little skater and hold hands or underneath the arms. This way you see where both of you are going and you can get some speed and teach the kid to glide on the ice and enjoy the speed.

It's also good to allow them to experience the balance and letting them fall down in a controlled way to learn how balance themselves upright and that falling down is frequent and to be taken seriously, but not too.

Skating is physically demanding, so take breaks, it's good carry some favorite juice/soda with you and sit down on the bench and take a break and watch the other skaters and talk about skating and how they are doing it.

But remember, it is supposed to be awesome, so go at the pace and do whatever your kid enjoys - kick snow balls, play ice hockey, glide, fall and have an awesome time.