Sitters Unlimited of Southern CA

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Archive for the ‘Family Fun’ Category

Jun
25

Don’t Let Your Rainy Day Be a Waste: These 6 Indoor Activities Will Help Your Child Learn While Having Fun

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When a lot of people think about rainy days, they think about things getting canceled or lying around wasting the day away. But inclement weather doesn’t have to ruin your day or keep your kid from learning. There are plenty of fun and educational activities that work perfectly indoors. If you want to make the most of your rainy day, here are 6 activities to get you started:

1. Math Activities

There are several ways your kid can improve their math skills while indoors. One fun architectural exercise is to have them draw up a floor plan to scale of any room in the home. Such an exercise will teach your kid proportions, ratios, estimations, and other skills. If you want to go the extra mile, you can have them continue their design on a computer-aided design (CAD) program. Cooking is another way to work math into their everyday life, as it involves measuring and weighing food, converting temperature, changing quantities, and so on.

2. Science Activities

There are also countless science activities that can be done when your kid is stuck indoors. And the best part about it is that many of them require only a few ingredients from the kitchen and minimal equipment. For instance, have your kid make their own glass of lava and observe how the oil and salt reacts with the water. Or they could try to make edible glass, in which they would watch melting sugar turn into a glassy and translucent substance.

3. Online Music Tutorials

Another activity to consider for your kid is an online music tutorial. There are numerous options for free beginner lessons, and online lessons that are catered to musicians of all levels have gained popularity over the years. Whether it’s a combination of free videos or a live consultation with a teacher, learning from the comfort of your own home is hard to beat on a rainy day! Whether your child is learning to play the guitar, saxophone, or flute, make sure to research instruments before buying.

4. YouTube Exercise Videos

YouTube is an excellent source for all kinds of free education, but it also contains a lot of helpful exercise videos. If your kid prefers yoga and meditation, Yoga with Adriene provides a variety of videos that are sure to satisfy.

5. Storytelling Circle

If your kid has friends close by, invite them over to the house for this activity. Storytelling provides kids with the opportunity to exercise their imagination, creative thinking skills, verbal skills, and social skills. Check out this article with various storytelling exercises that cover subjects from English to history to business marketing. The exercises can be applied either to a classroom or at home.

6. Scavenger Hunt

Another fun and educational indoor activity to do with a group of kids is a scavenger hunt. Hide a variety of items throughout the home, make a list of the items, and give each kid a list. To make the experience more educational, add a couple items that will require the kids to do a little extra reading, identify atypical colors, do some counting, and so on. Making the last item hard to find is a good way to build excitement toward the end. It can also be fun to offer a reward to the winner, such as a movie ticket or gift card to a store in the mall.

So, there you have it; you don’t have to let the next rainy day be a waste! Introduce your teenager to some of the many math and science activities, online tutorials, and exercise videos available. Invite some of their friends over for a storytelling game or scavenger hunt. Inclement weather is an opportunity for your kid to find new ways to be fun and productive.

 

Photo Credit: Pexels

 

Nov
24

The Easiest Cake You’ll Ever Make

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One of our fave cakes is so easy to make that the kids can do it themselves. No baking, very little time to prepare, although it does take patience for the process to work. And when it’s done, you can have fun decorating it however  you like.

Line a square or rectangular pan with graham crackers. Thickly spread any flavor pudding you like on top of the crackers. Continue layering crackers and pudding ending with a layer of pudding. Place in refrigerator overnight. Frost, decorate and serve.

May
17

Rainy Day Activities For Kids

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If you’re afraid you’ll go stir crazy with your little munchkins running around the house all day check out these ideas, many submitted by parents:

Hanging Out on the Homefront

Sitters UnlimitedKid Crafts.

Treasure Hunt – hide 10 to 50 small similar objects such as marbles, beans, plastic eggs, army men … Whoever finds the most gets to be the one who hides them for the next round.

Magazine Scavenger Hunt – make a list of items for the kids to find, give them a stack of old magazines and let them go for it. First one who finds all items on the list gets to choose what’s for lunch or dinner, depending on what time of day you’re playing.

Indoor Ball Games – place a coin or a bean inside a balloon, blow it up and you have an indoor friendly ball to use for catch, soccer, volleyball …

from Twitterer @Teach_Preschool
We play an inside relay. I make a list of 10 actions for example “Go upstairs and knock on the bedroom door”. We time how long it takes each child to go through every action on the list. Then we make a new list and play again. Other actions: jump up and down five times, sing mary had a little lamb, give everyone a hug, walk down the hall backwards …

Activities For Kids in Hotel Rooms – COMING SOON

 

Cabin Fever? Get Out of the House

From Twitterer @leighsarti
Dad Tip of the Day: Raining outside? Take your kids to the bike store and have them ride all the different bikes. Fun, free and you stay dry.

from Twitterer @mamarenew
Put on the rain gear and go out for a walk in the woods! Count the slugs …

Pet Store Window Shopping – hang out at a pet store where they can pet puppies, hold hamsters, gaze at strange looking fish …

Toy Store Hang Out – find a toy store in your area that has hands on demos.

Download Mom Maps to find kid-friendly places near you.

Check out your area for children’s museums such as:
Pretend City in Irvine, CA
Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana, CA

Kids Bowl Free at participating locations throughout the U.S. all summer long.

Take the family out for a meal at a fast food restaurant that also has an indoor play area. Take a book and relax while the kids go crazy climbing through tunnels, sliding down slides, and climbing rope walls.

Family Favorite Rainy Day Movies


Your Own Rainy Day Ideas

If you have a favorite rainy day activity or idea please help us out by adding your comments below.

Sep
07

Affordable Family Outings

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This post is courtesy of The Dollar Saver. At the end of this post you’ll find a link to their website with a host of articles on ways to save money on entertainment, on meals and in the home.


When planning family activities, always assess whether your family will actually have “fun.” Many times, I see fed-up parents dragging tired, over-stimulated kids around amusement parks, forcing their kids to go on rides when the kids are terrified just to “get their money’s worth.” I once spent $100 on circus tickets, only to find my son was more interested in the toy that the kid next to him had! Kids often don’t need or want the expensive entertainment. They may enjoy a splash pad rather than an amusement park or a petting zoo rather than one with lions and tigers.

One time I took my son for a ride to the end of the streetcar line and back. We had an ice cream at the end. The total cost included one child’s transit ticket and $4 for ice cream. I have a transit pass. On the streetcar, we passed a lot of interesting sites, including the recycling center where we could see the bales of paper and plastic bottles piled up.

Go to the school yard and draw an obstacle course with sidewalk chalk in the parking lot. Then let your kid(s) ride around it. Or use remote-control cars if you have them. I used to play traffic policeman and have the kids answer a question in order to change from stop to go (make a sign on a paper plate with a popsicle stick). I used questions like “What is your address?”. Invite other neighborhood kids.

Set up the sprinkler. We had a great time when we put a wading pool at the bottom of our backyard slide, making our own water park! I duct-taped the hose to the top of the slide and let some water dribble down to keep the slide slick.
Evelyn S.


editor’s note: For additional weekly tips, please visit click here.

And if you decide to stay in – check out these bargain-priced DVDs!

Jun
01

Southern California Free Summer Activities For Kids

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Orange County

List of free summer concerts, movies and plays. All are kid friendly, bring bubbles, frisbies, picnic fare and enjoy.

The Environmental Nature Center where you’ll be able to explore a redwood forest and the Butterfly House. Closed on Sundays. Environmental Nature Center 1601 16th St. Newport Beach, CA 92663 949-645-8489

Nationwide list of restaurants where kids eat free.

Tears of Joy Kids Drawing Contest is a way to display your kids’ artwork for the whole world to see! Scan the artwork and enter it into their “Kid’s Drawing Contest” July 12th through August 15th. Follow the link to see more contests on their website. CONTESTS SUSPENDED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE

San Diego County

La Jolla Concerts By the Sea

Point Loma Free Summer Concert Series

Encinitas Sunday Concerts by the Sea from Sunday, July 10 through Sunday, August 21 2011 from 3pm to 5pm at Moonlight State Beach in Encinitas. Bring your beach blankets. For more info: (760) 633-2740.

Pacific Beach Concerts on the Green

San Diego Balboa Park Free Concerts

Sand Castle Competition at Imperial Beach.

Urban Trees Sculpture – Stroll along the San Diego waterfront to admire the 30 trees in the Urban Trees sculpture exhibit. See the Maritime museum. Finish off with a ride on the merry-go-round.

Balboa Park Free Museum Tuesday for Residents and Military – Some Balboa Park museums are free on the 1st and 4th Tuesdays of each month. Free admission is on a rotating basis. Check out the Free Tuesday Balboa Park museum schedule.

San Diego Botanical Garden – Free admission on the first Tuesday of every month. Explore the rain forest, bamboo garden, children’s garden and tree house.

Nationwide list of restaurants where kids eat free.

Tears of Joy Kids Drawing Contest is a way to display your kids’ artwork for the whole world to see! Scan the artwork and enter it into their “Kid’s Drawing Contest” July 12th through August 15th. Follow the link to see more contests on their website. CONTESTS SUSPENDED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE

 

LA County

Nationwide list of restaurants where kids eat free.

Free Summer Concerts

Free Admission Days at Museum in Los Angeles County

Tears of Joy Kids Drawing Contest is a way to display your kids’ artwork for the whole world to see! Scan the artwork and enter it into their “Kid’s Drawing Contest” July 12th through August 15th. Follow the link to see more contests on their website. CONTESTS SUSPENDED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE

Check us out on Facebook where we continually post up-to-date family fun activities – many of them free or heavily discounted!

Find more Orange County, CA family activities & outings.

 

If you have an activity for children that takes place in Orange County California or San Diego County California please leave the info in the Comments below and we’ll add it to this post or our San Diego County California Summer Activities post.

Feb
18

Family Resources

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If you have a business or service that serves families, children, teens or pets that you would like to be included on this Family Resources page please leave your information in the Comments section.

Dec
17

Stretchofoam Recipe

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I don’t claim to have come up with this recipe but it is an old standby in our Fun Activities For Kids Book which we give out to all of our prescreened babysitters here in the Orange County and San Diego County offices. Just a word about this book which I think is unique to the licensed babysitting agency business. Our Fun Activities For Kids Book is chock full of summer activities for kids, cool kid games, outdoor activities for kids, fun arts and crafts activities. The following Stretchofoam recipe is one of several goop and slime recipes in our book.


Fill a coffee mug with about a quarter inch of acetone. Acetone is the key ingredient in nail polish remover.

Place Styrofoam in the acetone. It should fizzle. Keep adding more Styrofoam until you have a good sized blob. At this point you can pick it up and play with it.

You can wash your Stretchofoam if you don’t want to get acetone on your hands. The acetone might dry your hands out, but washing it will cause it to lose some of it’s stretchy properties.

Jul
12

Staying Connected Through the Internet and Social Media

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Families and friends across the country are tapping into technology to stay connected. At first, it was a quick email to say “hello”, then we found out how easy it is to attach a picture to an email, to post picture albums to social network websites .. . Now more and more families and friends are finding unique ways to share their experiences and keep in touch.

There are a variety of ways to share memories online:

Email – One of the most popular and easiest ways to share is through email. Simply scan images, attach them to an email and hit the Send button.

CD – Many photo developers now offer the option of having images developed onto CD-ROM. In this digital format, photos and images can be shared through email or even by presenting the CD as a gift.

Video – The best way to capture an entire story, such as a wedding, party or vacation is to use a variety of memorabilia including photos, audio message, music, journal entries and other items that can be scanned in, such as cards and event tickets. Smilebox is a popular service for scrapbooking, Ecards, and more. User can share their Smilebox creations free of charge, or select premium options for print, DVD burning, expanded music choices, and no advertisements.

Web Site – There are a variety of web sites that offer tools to build a personal web site without any knowledge of complex programming. While this can be a creative way to showcase and update information, it is important to remember that many sites can be accessed by the general public and some sites will only host personal pages for a limited time. Check out MyFamily.com or TribalPages for a private, free web site with photo and video capabilities.

Blog – In simple terms, a blog is a web site, where you write on an ongoing basis. New entries show up at the top, so your visitors can read what’s new. Then they comment on it or link to it or email you. You can share photos and video with a blog also. BlogSpot is a free and very user-friendly blogging tool with a host of applications to make everything as easy as possible.

Facebook – Millions of people use Facebook everyday to keep up with friends, upload an unlimited number of photos, share links and videos, and learn more about the people they meet. Because of the popularity of Facebook it’s ideal for staying connected with current friends, locating lost friends and family and making new friends.

Jun
10

Family Travel Games

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Getting to your family vacation place can be half the fun with the help of a few family travel games for kids and kids travel activities, which keeps the kids from asking, “are we there yet”?

Where Do You Hear It?

One person makes a sound and the rest of the family tries to guess where that sound would take place. For example, the sound of a cow mooing could either be a farm or a barn.

Alphabet Game

Starting with “A” the first person has to see a sign, a license plate, a car logo … and state where they saw it. Then the game moves to the letter “B” and so on until you’ve reached “Z”.

Tip: Playing as a team can help smooth over a quarrelsome mood as each player who identifies a letter helps the team move forward.

Travel Scavenger Hunt

Each person writes down a list of items that they think will be seen on this leg of the trip. You could include a particlar color of car, a license plate from a certain state, landmarks, fast food places or animals. Each person passes their list to the right. You can work on the lists individually or in teams. If one or more persons cannot read then they would team up with someone who can read.

Spelling Game

Someone starts out by saying a letter such as “B”. The next person thinks of a word that starts with a “B” and adds a “A”, as in “bat”. The next person has to think of a word that contains both the letters “B” and “A”, and might decide to add a “C” as in “back”. Each player must have a word in mind, because another player can challenge you at any time if they don’t think there is such a word. If a player is challenged and they don’t have a word in mind or their word is nonsense, they’re out of the game. Tip: We like to play this game with a dictionary on hand.

License Plate Game

Write down every different state license plate that passes you on the road. Decide on a goal, depending on how long your trip is. For instance, if you’re going to be on the road for an hour, your goal might be 8, but if you’re making a longer trip you may want to make 20 different plates you goal. The first person to hit the goal wins.

Jun
05

Eco-Consious Party – Save Money, Save Time, Be Green

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Save money, save time, be eco-consious at your next party. Irish Attic has posted an excellent article on how to use common household items in place of a cooler for your next party. Check it out.