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Keep Kids Busy All Year-Long with Fun Family Projects, Crafts, and Activities

Creative Ways to Keep Life Exciting for Kids

Why just yesterday I overheard my adult daugther tell someone about how much she enjoyed being homeschooled and how much her mom made her school days so much fun. Wow! What a compliment! I love getting together for holidays and birthday parties with our family because we always start reminicsing about days gone by. Have you ever done that? We love to do this, because we have so many special memories to remember and talk about.


This would not be the case if me, the mom, didn't put in some extra effort to make daily life special and exiting. What I came to realize is that it didn't have to be expensive or complicated, just different then the norm. Get what I mean?


Finding ways to mix things up, or switch up the mundane is essential to keeping life stimulating and exciting. Life with kids can be so rewarding for both you and them if we, the mom, makes the extra effort.


Are you at a loss for ideas? Do you need some fresh inspiration to add a spark of fun to your family life with the children?

I've complied a list of ideas I implemented with my own kids. Check it out below! They are seasonal ideas that can be customized to your own family's customs or traditions. We enjoyed the ideas listed below with delight and enthusiasm and I hope you do too!

Autumn activities for the family
Winter activities for the family to enjoy
Summer activities for the family to enjoy

My #1 Easy Tip to Execute: Make a Big Breakfast

This is an easy idea and can be done in any season and for any holiday :-) Why? Because big breakfasts are always a hit! Whatever your family LOVES to eat for breakfast - try to serve it up fancy and fun. Our fun-N-easy big breakfasts usually include bacon, pancakes, and scrambled eggs done up "dad-style" with salsa and cheese. Yum! But on Christmas mornings, we always, always, always have to do crepes instead of pancakes. We fill the crepes with vanilla yogurt then top them with a variety of fruits like, strawberries, peaches, blueberries and bananas. Oh my, these are SO good! (See picture of a Christmas morning breakfast below.)

Scrambled Eggs, "Dad's Style"
7-8 beaten eggs
1/4 cup of chunky salsa
Whisk together ingredients and scramble over greased frying pan.
Add salt and pepper to taste
Sprinkle sharp cheddar cheese on top.
Let cheese melt before serving.

Crepes aren't hard to make either! They sound so fancy but they are pretty easy to whip up. See the recipe below.
Easy to Make Crepes
Whether it is just you and your husband or a house full of kids, a big breakfast makes everyone happy! I have found a great pancake/waffle mix that tastes just as good as the homemade version: Krusteaz!

IDEA: Try pouring pancake batter into different shapes, like hearts, Mickey Mouse ears, smiley faces, or XO shapes.

IDEA: When making waffles, try adding in some chocolate chips, pecans or cinnamon to your mix.

Sometimes I put together a breakfast casserole the night before and put it in the oven after waking in the morning. This delicious addition to the breakfast meal is a must-have especially if entertaining overnight guests! See recipe below.

Overnight Breakfast Casserole
(Below is an actual picture from one of our Christmas morning breakfasts!)

Christmas Breakfast with the family

My #2 Easy-Peasy Idea for Fun: Go for a Walk! Kids Love this!

Someone gave us a red wagon for a baby shower present and it was such a great gift! It had tall wooden sides and my little toddlers felt snug and safe inside the confines of the little red wagon. After packing up snacks and toys, we would set off on long walks down our country road. They enjoyed spending time with mom like this, and it always touched my heart to see them settle into their little spot in the wagon, pull their snack bag out and take in the country setting of farms, trees, and wildlife. 


As the kids grew older, we continued our walks together, but without the wagon of course. Our walks gave them opportunities to share things they were facing at school or other issues weighing heavy on their hearts. It was a great way to give them my full attention and speak into their lives.


There is something special about walking aimlessly down a country road with your loved one that opens up your heart. Maybe its the combination of sunshine and nature? Or maybe its just stepping away from the responsibilities of home life? Whatever it is, my kids knew they would always have my loving, undivided attention as soon as we started our walks together. So make time for an afternoon stroll with your family. Set aside the to-do list and take in some sunshine and fresh air with your spouse, or the kids, or the whole family! My children are adults now, and they still like taking walks with mom, and I love it!

My #3 Super Easy Idea that Kids Love: Go for a Bike Ride!

Just like our walks became longer as the kids got older, our bike rides became longer too. We typically would ride our bikes down the country road we lived on, but occasionally we would put together a picnic lunch and head to some bike trails in a neighboring town, following the trails until we came to our designated location, which was usually a park, where we ate our picnic lunch. We talked, laughed, played on the playground equipment for a bit then headed back the way we came. The kids absolutely loved doing this!

And you know what? These bike rides didn't take all day. If we left early on a Saturday morning, we could be back by mid afternoon, with time to spare for other activities.

Family fun day at a local playground

My #4 Idea for Making Life Exciting: Go to a Park Spontaneously!

This is a VERY easy thing to do with your family. You literally just drive to the park and let the kids run free. You get a break from the non-stop chatter of the kids and they get a break from your constant eyes upon them, but all of you are still experiencing the park together. That is the beauty of it. The park was a must-do on beautiful summer days. Many times, I would stay in the car while the kids played, sipping coffee or putting together a grocery list. When it was time to go, our minds were clear and the kids pent-up energy was gone, and our errands in town went much smoother.

Local bakery produces delicious donuts for breakfast

My #5 Idea that Was Always a Hit with My Kids: Go to a Donut Shop!

No matter what the season was, a donut and coffee trip was a must-do for our family! My husband loves his coffee and donut fixes and oops - now our adult kids do too! We got into a habit of taking the kids to a certain donut shop in our home town before heading off to family vacations, and the kids were able to pick out their own donut and fun drink for the long ride.  This became a very special event.  As they became older, the milk carton turned into coffee, and the one donut turned into two, and our trips to the donut store didn't always depend on a family vacation anymore. All dad had to say was, "Hey, let's go get some coffee and donuts," on any given morning, and we were off lickety-split for a fun memory-making coffee/donut experience.


Since this little donut shop in our home town sat across the street from a beautiful river, we would often sit in the park, and watch freighters go by while enjoying our tasty coffee-n-donuts. Many laughs and good times were had while having coffee and donuts together at that little park!!

My #6 Idea for a Quick-N-Easy Fun: Put Up a Tent in the Backyard!

Whether in the living room or in the backyard, it's never a bad idea to put up a tent! After a sleepover one year, we left a camping tent up in our backyard for a week or so, and it proved to be a great place to read books with the kids. We snuggled inside the tent with pillows, blankets, stuffed animals, and read one book after another. Such a simple thing, but the kids loved spending time together like this. It wasn't really planned beforehand or forced, but it simply just happened. Like so many memories do! Those tend to be the the best activities of all. Make sure you live in the moment!

Creating tents in the living room with couch cushions can sometimes top a camping tent experience in the backyard --especially if you can get dad involved! They seem to make the BEST living room tents!

Bonfire on starry night with family and friends

My #7 Idea for Family Fun (and my favorite): Have a Bonfire Night!

This is my most favorite activity of all! When the shadows on a summer or fall evening start to get long in the yard, it is time to light that fire! After a long day’s work of housecleaning or running errands, we would order a pizza and head to the fire pit in the backyard! No questions asked. The stress would just melt away as we ate the cheesy, greasy pizza while watching the sunset in the backyard. There was nothing better in those moments but to watch the sky get darker and the flames of the fire get brighter. The kids always got the giggles when we sat around the fire like this. SO many laughs were had around that fire pit and so many memories shared. These little moments are what glues a family together. Make the most of your days and bless your family! It only takes a little bit of time to make their day special. Enjoy the effort – you will be richly rewarded with a family who loves you and remembers the good times with fondness.

Children enjoy tie-dying T-shirts for summer activity

My #8 Idea for a Fun Rewarding Craft Project: Make Tie-Dye Shirts!

This idea seems like a lot of work - but all you need is: buckets, tie-dye in various colors, old t-shirts or new white t-shirts, rubber bands, and cold water! Tie-dye packets are so affordable and many colors are available at Dollar General or on Amazon - it makes for an easy, cheap, memory-making activity for the family!

1. Mix the tie-dye in buckets of cold water.

2. Wrap rubber bands around the t-shirts in a variety of ways.

3. Dip sections of the t-shirts in the buckets of different colored water until the desired effect has been achieved.

4. Do one final dip in clear, cold water to set the colors.

5. Remove the rubber bands and unravel the t-shirts.

6. Lay the t-shirts out in the grass or hang on a hanger to dry.

This activity is great for the summer time but it can also be done inside, especially if a tarp is laid down on the floor.

My kids LOVED their tie-dyed t-shirts and wore them for MANY years afterwards.

My #9 Idea for NO-COST Family Fun: Draw Something from Nature!

Take drawing pads and pencils to any location and have everyone draw the same thing. Then have everyone showcase what they drew. When the weather was nice, we sat on blankets in the backyard and picked out different things to draw together. We've drawn leaves, acorns, trees, horizon lines, flowers, animals, and I still have some of those drawings! It was so fun to see how the kids viewed the different things in nature.

Children learn to garden with parents help

My #10 Idea for a Fun Seasonal Activity: Plant Flower Pots!

During early spring, the kids and I would head to the greenhouse to gather annual flowers to decorate our flower beds around the house. They were given permission to pick out their own flowers and plants to put in their flower pots they painted beforehand. This allowed them to express their interests and tastes and give them a sense of ownership. They enjoyed taking care of their potted plants throughout the summer months, by watering them and making sure they were given the right amount of sunlight.

During the winter months, the kids planted lima beans or sunflower seeds and we would always be amazed that plants could sprout during the winter months if given the proper amount of sunlight.

My #11 Idea for Family Fun in the Kitchen: Make Homemade Pretzels!

Making homemade pretzels are super easy when you follow our quick recipe! Kids love shaping the dough into different shapes and letters then eating them after they've baked!

When I taught kindergarten, we did this as a fun activity one day in the school kitchen and it was a big hit!

Easy Homemade Pretzel Recipe

Homemade pizzas are a big hit with children

12. Have a Movie Night And Make Homemade Mini Pizzas!

Why buy pizza when you can have the fun of making it right at home? Especially when kids can design their own special mini-pizza! Here's what you will need:

How To Make Homemade Mini Pizzas

A package of English muffins

Olive oil

Parmesan cheese

A jar of pizza sauce

Mozzarella cheese

Lots of different toppings!





1. Brush olive oil on both sides of English muffins

2. Spread the pizza sauce.

3. Add the mozzarella cheese.

4. Layer toppings.

5. Sprinkle par-cheese on top.

6. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until crispy and cheesy.

7. Yum! Enjoy with your favorite family movie!

Young families create special moments together

My #13 Idea for the BEST Family Fun: Spend a Day at the Beach!

I grew up around the Great Lakes and love beaches, boating, swimming and just looking at the bodies of water. There is something so soothing about the rhythmic sound of waves. If you have a beach near you, it can be a go-to destination for making memories all year round, not just in the summer!

Sipping hot cocoa on a bench at the beach while watching the ice drift down the river is super fun when you are dressed warm for the weather. Throwing crumbs to the seagulls and other wildlife seems to always interest kids.

What about grabbing fast food and having dinner on the beach after hours? Laying down an old sheet on the sand and feasting on French fries while watching the sunset. Sounds like memories to me! Especially if you have the beach all to yourself!

One of my most favorite things to do as a child was spend all day at the beach in the summer. Mom packed PB and J sandwiches and we were set for the whole day!

14. Go Swimming At A Local Pool!

Like I said, I love swimming, and going to open swim at the high school pool in my home town was next to the best thing ever as a child. So, I wanted to give my kids the same fun memory of swimming at open swim.


The kids enjoyed these times of swimming together, and have fond memories of being at the pool. They would have a ball playing with other families that attended and I got to meet a lot of other moms my same age. It was a great way to make memories and offer the kids a safe way to get acquainted with swimming in different depths of water.

So check out your area and find a public pool! It may become the best thing ever for your family as well!

One last tip:

Enjoy your family as much as you can and treasure each day you have together. Make your mark on the kids lives while you can, but don't let your marriage suffer! Invest in the most important relationship of your life with these 11 Tips for a Beautiful Marriage.

Making Moments Count with Teenagers and Adult Children

My kids are adults now, so I've raised them through childhood, the teen years and into adulthood. My daughter is happily married with two sons and my adult son is currently attending a Bible school in Waverly, NY. Both of my adult children still seek me for counsel and direction on some matters of life and this blesses my heart so much. This ongoing relationship with my adult children would not be possible if not for the help of the Holy Spirit. The Lord has given me much grace to be a good mom. 

I came to realize that every moment counts. Don't let the frustration of life get in your way of impacting your kids in profound and meaningful ways. I've created a list of 15 Ways you, the mom, can begin having an impact on your children right now. See below.

For a deeper reading on this topic, may I suggest this article: "It's The Every Day Moments That Matter Most For Youth, Teens, And Young Adults". Read Now

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