March 1, 2012

Hit the Reset Button on Your Day

There are times when things just aren’t working right, when children (and mommies) are grumpy, when the best laid plans crumble before your very eyes in the form of a screaming child or a stubborn pre-teen.  Yes, some days you wish you could just send everybody back to bed so you can wake up and try again.  Or maybe just stay there for a bit.

I recently read a fantastic blog post  which detailed 20 ideas for how to “reset” your day.  To her amazing ideas, I’ve added a few of my own below.

Chuck it all and go for a Nature Walk.  Go for a 10 minute walk or for a 3 hour hike.  You’ll be learning while you relax.  Bring some magnifying glasses, binoculars and field guides if you can.

Tell the Never-Ending Story.  At least that’s what we call it.  One person starts and goes for a minute or two then turns to the next person and they have to continue the story.  After a minute or two they turn to the next person and you keep passing the story around until you’ve all laughed a bit and are ready to move on with the day.  Sometimes you need to set rules like “no killing the character” or “no kissing”.

Read a picture book or two to everyone.  Even my big boys still love picture books. 

Everyone grab a book and read quietly for a certain period of time.  Even mom gets to read what she wants!  This can be tricky if you have littles, but they can quietly look at picture books during this time.

Build something together.  Dump out (or provide a bucket filled with) Legos, blocks, K’nex or Citiblocs, etc.  Everyone works together to build something.  Then knock it down and put it away.

Play the Alphabet List game.  Choose a category like food, animals, book titles, etc and name something for each letter of the alphabet.

Crazy Walk.  This can be done with or without music.  Direct them to walk slowly, backward, forward, like a monkey or a cat.  Big steps, baby steps, crawl, hop, whatever.  Have them follow the tempo of the music or, if you’re doing it without, just change when you direct them.

Don’t Spill the Water or Break the Egg – this should be done outside.  Give them a full cup of water and have them walk a line (taped or natural in the yard or on the sidewalk) or go through an obstacle course, without spilling water.  Alternately, have them hold an egg on a spoon and walk from Point A to Point B without dropping it.

Balloon Volleyball – Blow up a balloon and everyone tries to keep it off the ground by hitting it before it bounces.  To make it more challenging add 2 or 3 balloons.

Read a 2- or 5-Minute Mystery.  There are several free sites on the web with ideas for this, or you can purchase a book. 

Only Questions – Have everyone stand in a circle.  One person points to another and asks a question.  That person must point to someone else and ask a question.  Keep going until someone answers or says ‘uh’ or takes too long.

I Love You, Honey – Have one person stand or sit in front of the group.  One by one, each person stands before the person in front and says, “I love you, honey, won’t you please smile?”  The person in front has to respond, without smiling, “I love you honey, but I just can’t smile.”  The object is to get the “honey” to smile so use silly voices, crazy faces, etc.  Whoever can get the person in front to smile, becomes the new “honey”.

Pick a project from Nature in a Nutshell or Science In Seconds.  They are usually easy, short and use common items.

Play a game of Pick and Draw. 

Play with some homemade play-dough.

Use the table or floor and build a giant picture with pattern blocks.  Everyone contributes to the design.

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