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Family Time/Activities for Kids

It’s a Dinosaur Masquerade!

Apr-08, 2020

child dressed as a dinosaur

Photo Credit - www.freepik.com

Who doesn’t love dinosaurs? Get prehistoric and tap into your wild side! Just because you’re stuck at home doesn’t mean you can’t party. Here’s some ideas to make your Dino Day Jurrasstic!

  • Cook up a dino-feast: Will you be a carnivore or an herbivore? Mix up a mouthwatering salad or grill up a rack of ribs or steaks. We prefer a little of each. Create a fossil cake from dark fudge or brownie batter, and layer in hidden fossils make of pretzel sticks or sugar cookies. You can also suspend eggs or little dino toys in Jell-O, coat pretzels or cookie pieces in white chocolate to create snackable dino bones, or add a few pop rocks to fruit punch and cream soda for a fizzy volcano drink!
  • Party Games: One of the best features of a dino party is the games! Go on a dino-egg hunt around the house and backyard. Try your luck at pin the tooth on the T-Rex. Get the whole family together for a dino-egg-and-spoon relay race. Or come up with your own games like Dinosaur Trivia or cookie decorating.
  • Make a dinosaur mask: These can be as simple or as complex as you like. Cut up and color paper plates, double-glue felt, or even build with papier-Mache. Just make sure each family member get a dinosaur of their own. Our favorites are stegosaurs, triceratops, T-rex, or pterodactyl.

Does your family like to party like it’s 99 million BCE? You can show us pictures of your Dino-Bash on social media at www.facebook.com/bestbrainsinc!


The Indoor Relay Race

Apr-08, 2020

family having fun inside

Photo Credit - www.freepik.com

Got two or more kids at home that need physical activity? Put them to the test with a fun relay race! Activities can take place in different rooms or all in one big, open area. We recommend going barefoot on non-carpeted surfaces to prevent slipping for this one. Kid Contestants complete several timed activities in a specific order. Whoever has the fastest time is the winner! Remember to adjust the length and duration of activities for the ability of your Kid Contestants. Here’s a list of suggested activities, or “legs,” for your race, but definitely come up with your own based on your child’s talents or what supplies you have in the house:

  • Strings and Things: Line up a row of shoes, ribbons and/or strings. Tie them into bows. The first Contestant to finish all the ties can move on!
  • The Obstacle Crawl – Contestants most walk on their hands and feet on a straight line over a series of obstacles (disposable cups, toilet paper rolls, etc). Contestants must make three trips forward and back across this line: forward they go straight over, and back they weave in between. Find a way to mark each pass, either by ringing a bell, stacking a block, or putting an object in a box. The first contestant to make all three laps without knocking over their obstacles can move on!
  • Over and In – Contestants lie on their backs. At their heads, place a receptacle like a plastic tub or a toy chest. And their feet, sit ready with several soft and relatively large objects, like stuffed animals or toilet paper rolls. Contestants must grip an item with their feet, and lift it over and in with their legs, depositing the item in the receptacle. Contestants will need help getting the items in their feet, so make sure you have enough helpers for this one. Once all items are in the receptacle, the Contestant can move on!
  • Fill R Up! - Due to the likelihood of spilled water, we suggest this leg for carpeted surfaces only! Set up a cup filled close to the top with water and one end of a room and a bowl of water and a spoon at the other end. Contestants most carry a spoonful of water to the other end and deposit it into the glass. The first Contestant whose glass overflows can move on!
  • Quick Peel – Contestants must sit at a table, and then peel and section several citrus fruits. Clementines or tangerines work best for this one, but older Contestants can peel oranges or even grapefruit. Be careful if using a peeler! Set out a bowl or plate for peels and another for the fruit sections. The first Contestant to peel and section all their fruits can move on!

Make sure you have a special treat for the winner! Whether it’s a trophy, medal, or ribbon, or even a special treat like an extra hour of screen time, a pizza dinner, or choice of film for your next movie night.

So, are you having an indoor relay race at your house? Who ended up the winner? Share with us on social media at www.facebook.com/bestbrainsinc!


Stuck Inside? Get the Family Together for Some Fun and Excitement

May-07, 2020

family playing together in bedroom

Photo Credit - www.freepik.com

When you’re cooped up at home, it’s easy for our energy to get pent up. Even routine activities like playing outside or regular arts and crafts can become more like work than fun. That’s when you need to shake things up! Here are six safety-first ideas for you and your family that take planning, creativity, and participation from everyone in the household.

From the smallest child up to teenagers can somehow contribute to each of these activities. Take the time to share a new skill, a new responsibility, or a secret from the rest of the household! In these extraordinary times, it’s tempting to carry on with life as normal. But this can lead to confusion and friction in the household. Find opportunities to acknowledge and even celebrate the unusual!

So, which of these ideas are you going to try first? How is your family managing the stress of staying home? Let us know below!


Keeping the Winter Blues (and Colds) at Bay…

Jan-07, 2019

Ice Skaters

Photo Credit: Henry Hemming from Flickr

Winter can be a trying time for school-age children and parents alike. The weather is colder and there just doesn’t seem to be as many fun options for time or energy to be spent. We often find ourselves stuck in the same routines, and to be honest, they are boring. The winter blues are knocking on the door and so is cold and flu season. But don’t despair. There are ways to keep both away with these fun and healthy tips for your home and family besides just remembering to wash your hands.

Healthy breakfast

Breakfast has long been known as the most important meal of the day. And for kids in school, it's even more essential. However, just as important as eating is what they are eating. Sugar filled pop-tarts and cocoa puffs will not sustain them until lunchtime and are sure to create the wrong kind of energy need for their demanding day.

Instead, whip up some eggs or, for days when you are running a little late, make sure to have some hardboiled ones in the fridge already. Yogurt topped with fruit, or on the side, is another great source of vitamins and proteins. Add some whole grains or cottage cheese and they are good to go for a full day of learning.

Exercise

Just because its colder outside doesn’t mean your child has an excuse to sit in front of a screen for long hours. Exercise is still a crucial part of their health and well-being. Not only does it keep them physically healthy but, according to many studies, has a very positive outlook on their emotional well-being and brain development.

Don’t be afraid to let your little ones enjoy the cold air outdoors. Spending time in nature, as long as they are bundled up, helps to prevent sleep deprivation, allows them to de-stress, and keeps up their immune system. A quick pre-dinner walk, ice skating, sledding, or a short trip to the park are all fun and safe outdoor activities for kiddos who need a little natural daylight and exercise.

Change up the lunches

School Children Lunch Box

Photo Credit: Melissa from Flickr

At this point in the school year, it's common to find that your child is only eating about half of their lunches each day at school. This is most likely just because they are bored with their choices. If this is the case in your home, it may be time to switch some things up a bit. Instead of the normal PB&J, try some crackers with ham and cheese. Add in some healthy fruits and veggies and maybe a small treat for a well-rounded meal.

Kids also seem to love compartmentalized meals. This allows them to create their own sandwiches from choices you send or instead of being overwhelmed by one or two large objects, they are presented with five or six smaller items such as carrots, celery, yogurt, and even a cookie.


Christmas Card Day

Dec-07, 2018

Christmas card day

Sending festive Christmas cards of season’s greeting is an age-old tradition amongst millions of families worldwide. We make a list and check it twice, ensuring that no one is forgotten or left out. Whether it’s the classic jingles of Christmas past or modern electronically sent messages, we want to make sure they receive it before Christmas Day.

History of Christmas Card Day

However, this unofficial holiday is not celebrated on this day just make sure you get your cards out to the mailbox on time. On December 9, 1843, Sir Henry Cole of England designed the first commercial Christmas Card. It showed a family raising a toast together. It was produced by J. C. Horsley, who went on to produce many more of Cole and other’s holiday cards. From there, a lithograph firm, Prang and Mayer, started creating and selling Christmas cards by the masses. By 1880, they were producing over five million cards a year.

Many of those first cards are now collector’s items and are sold for thousands of dollars at auctions. The British Museum houses Queen Mary’s early 1900s collection of them. Today, Christmas cards are made in millions of designs and themes. Some are more traditional and include the popular “Merry Christmas” messages with an image of jolly old Saint Nicolas. While others may steer in a more religious direction, quoting bible verses or blessings with wise men standing around a holy child in a manger. Still others, for those who may not celebrate Christmas, are sent wishing season’s greetings and best wishes for a new year.

How to Celebrate Christmas Card Day

Happy Holiday Card

Whatever your preference, today is the day to remember your Christmas card list and work on getting them out to your loved ones. It's always nice to be able to make handmade cards if you have the time. Grab your glue stick, markers, and glitter and get to creating. This can be an amazingly fun activity for your children as well. Maybe start a family tradition of making cards.

If you aren’t that crafty or don’t feel you have the time, there are always pre-made cards to send and even e-cards. These are sent electronically and take hardly any time at all. Plus, you don’t have to worry about missing the mailman or not making it to its recipient on time. However, nothing beats the real thing and this day is the perfect time to get those cards ready and in the mail before the last day of mail service arrives.


Thanksgiving Games for the Family

Nov-20, 2018

Thanksgiving Games

Thanksgiving is a fabulous holiday. It’s an excuse to get together with your family and friends to eat, spend time with all that you are thankful for. However, most family Thanksgiving dinners are, well, just that. They are dinners and sometimes a little on the boring side. And for those of us with children, it can seem even more boring. This year, why not make it a little different? Here are some family-friendly activities and games for every age and to put a fun spin on your large gatherings.

Traffic Yam

Supplies: metal spoons, uncooked yams, and painter’ tape (or anything to make a straight line on the floor)

Each player is given a yam and a metal spoon. The yam is placed on the floor on one end of the room. The players must then race to get their yam across the room to your tape line and back to the starting line. The yam can only be moved with the spoon. No hands. Whoever gets across the finish line first wins. Players can play defense as well and push other people’s yams.

The Feather Float

Supplies: Small, light feathers

This one is super simple and can be played individually or on teams. Each player gets a feather. Players must blow their feather in the air, keeping it afloat for as long as possible. You could also give a time limit and the players have to keep their feather in the air for that amount of time.

The Mayflower

Thanksgiving Games

Supplies: small corks, fake flowers, Large under the bed containers, plastic straws (optional)

Fill the under the bed container with water. Attach a fake flower to the corks and give one to every player. To play, each person must place their cork in the water at one end of the container and then blow it to the other end. The first boat or cork to reach the other end wins. Players can use a plastic straw to blow if they would like.

Corn to the Copia

Supplies: empty cornucopia, small fake corn, blindfold

This is a team game with two players on each team. One player stands on one side of the room and gets blindfolded and the empty cornucopia. The other stands about ten or so feet away and has a bucket of the fake corn. The player with the corn must hike the corn like a football to their teammate with the cornucopia. The idea is for the blindfolded player to catch the corn as it is hiked.

Try out a few of these ideas for your Thanksgiving gathering this year to make things a little more fun and encouraging for all. From all of us here at Best Brains, Happy Thanksgiving.