April 29, 2020 – The current COVID-19 situation has been an obstacle to our usual day-to-day lives, but obstacles can be fun too! Let’s play Overcoming Obstacles. Have your child sketch an obstacle course that uses blankets, boxes, chairs, and other household items. Build the course according to the plan. Practice moving through and around objects. See any problems or challenges? Modify the course, as needed, for a ton of fun lay that is built on their creative ideas.
Here’s another for you…That’s Our Song. With your child, pick a favorite song and customize the lyrics to insert family members’ names or tell a personalized tale with that tune. Write and illustrate your new version to make sure you remember the words the next time you try to sing it.
One more fun one for today…let’s go to The Other Side. Sometimes a simple change in direction gives a whole new look. Have your child experiment drawing using the hand they don’t usually use. Suggest they draw a new type of furniture or an animal, then have them switch to their dominant hand and add embellishments to finish the picture. Ask them how starting with the “other side” gave them a different beginning.
April 27, 2020 – Imagination leads to curiosity, and curiosity to knowledge…so let’s exercise our imagination today with “Growing Up to Be.” Ask your child to imagine what they will be doing 10 or 20 years from now. Have them draw pictures of what they’ll look like and write a description of where they’ll live, what jobs they might have, and how they’ll be the same or different from who they are today.
Or maybe…Create a New Holiday! Everyone loves holidays — special times to celebrate an event or tradition, enjoy special foods, and gather with family & friends. What if your family could celebrate a new holiday that your child invents? Let your child plan the celebration. What is the theme and name of the holiday? Create decorations; plan the food. What new traditions would be part of this holiday? Would you repeat this holiday annually? Who would be invited to this celebration? Enjoy!
If you really want to get that imagination going, try Aliens Visit the Grocery Store! Give your kids the scenario that aliens from outer space just landed on Earth and found themselves in the middle of a grocery store. They can draw the scene. What would the aliens look like? What would they think? Might they mistake grocery shelves as new gardens where we grow food? Would they wonder how we open the canned goods? What questions would they ask and what funny thoughts might they think if this was their first introduction to planet Earth?
April 22, 2020 — Happy Earth Day! Earth Day is 50 years old today, and puts environmental consciousness and environmental concerns in the forefront. So with Earth Day in mind, here are a few off-line activities for you:
Perfect Planet – Pretend that scientists just discovered a new planet in a far-away galaxy. They call it the “Perfect Planet” since life on the planet is ideal. Ask your child what they imagine when they think of this new place. What would it look like? What plants and animals would there be? How would they get along? What would make this planet so unique?
Imagine No Batteries or Electricity – Does your child know there was a time when there were no batteries and no electricity? What games would they have played? Maybe have them call an elderly relative or family friend and ask about their childhood games to give them some ideas to create their own “kid powered” games.
On Butterfly Wings – Have your child envision flying on a butterfly or birds’ wings. What would it be like for them to soar through the air, enjoying this beautiful creature’s adventures? Your child can then draw what the garden and house look like from this point of view. Where would they go? How would the winged creature communicate?
April 20, 2020 – Let’s really get our imaginations going today! Here’s a few activities to try that will do just that:
Combo Creatures — If kids could combine different animals into one with lots of mixed-up features, what would they create? Would they combine an elephant’s trunk, a skunk’s stripe, a monkey’s tail, and a duck’s webbed feet? What might this animal be able to do that it couldn’t before? Have your child pick an animal and add a variety of other features. Give their combo creature a new name; draw it; then create an advertisement explaining why this new creature has benefits the original animal didn’t have.
Come Along to a Deserted Island — If your child was stranded on a deserted island, but could plan for it, what would he or she pack? Who would they invite? When would they decide to come back? Have them draw a scene of their time away, enjoying this special trip away from everyday routines.
Perfect Playground — Have your kid design the playground of his/her dreams. What equipment would it have? How would it be different from other playgrounds? They can draw the area (i.e. make miniature rides, benches, tree hourses, and other playground items).
April 15, 2020 – Who doesn’t like a puppet show?! For today’s Off-Line fun, create your own Sock Puppets Show. Gather worn-out or unmatched socks to make a family of sock puppets. Have your child use fabric markers to add facial expressions, hair, and outfits. Develop your puppet show that is based on a theme or improvisation. Every family member can play a part.
Here are a couple more ideas:
Have your child use crayons or markers to draw and cut out fruits and vegetables, then have them hide the cut-outs around the house. Challenge other family members to go on a treasure hunt, harvesting these foods. Bring back what was collected and ask your child to imagine new recipe inventions that combine some of these tasty treats. Pick one of the new recipes and make it with real fruits and vegetables.
Backyard Talent Show
Discover the hidden performance talents of your family. Have each family member pick their talent to showcase, and have your child draw up a program. Each family member can dress up or create costumes fitting their talents, then enjoy an afternoon in the backyard filled with magic tricks, music, dance, and more.
April 13, 2020 – Our latest Off-Line activity suggestions. Let us know if you try any of these suggestions by emailing Jim Smith at JimS@BigsInBerks.org. Send a picture, if you can.
Our Favorite Receipes:
Think about your family’s favorite foods. Have your child write a recipe book, illustrated with pictures that show how much of each ingredient is needed. If you want to share it with relatives later, make copies.
Color Nature Walk
Even during this time of social distancing, you can get some exercise and strengthen your kids’ observation by enjoying a nature walk and looking for all the colors of the rainbow. While outdoors, collect twigs and leaves. Have your child use these natural items as paintbrushes when you return home and paint a collaborative mural. Urge your child to paint what was seen.
Saturday Nights…BTV (Before Television)
Yes, believe it or not, there was a time when families did not sit in front of a television set or DVD player to be entertained. Ask your child to interview elderly friends or relatives who may remember these times. Have them draw what they envision as a fun Saturday night family activity that may have been common before televisions were around. From the editor (Jim Smith): It doesn’t necessarily have to be from when “before televisions were around.” Some of us had televisions around, but still preferred doing the family night thing. 🙂
April 8, 2020 — Here are the latest in our Off-Line activity suggestions for kids and families:
Create an Art Center in your Kitchen
Organize a shelf or rolling cart with kids’ art supplies, and let their (and your) creativity flourish while you are nearby.
Gather recycled materials (such as old shoes, worn out clothes, buttons, and paper towels). Gather craft supplies (such as Crayola Model Magic, Markers, and Glitter Glue). Have your child combine these items to create new inventions…you identify the problem, and they construct the solution.
Have your child create a multi-page illustrated storybook. Start with a title and cover page — then pass the book along to another family member, who will write an illustrate the first page. Continue to pass the book around, giving each family member several chances to see what has been added and bring a new twist or turn the plot.