toddlers reading

Five Times the Fun!

Written by Moms on Call

Legal Disclaimer: Please try these at home!

1) Getting ready for the day

This is always a hectic time of the day! The magic is in the night before – organize as much as reality allows! Set out clothes; get things ready for the next morning. The less rushed you appear, the more fun the morning can be.

Practical Creative Fun
“Where’s my lunch box??!!” Organize items for the next day ahead of time as much as reality allows – even if you are not going to school, a lunchbox is a much needed time saver for home days. Have a “start of the day phrase” that is light and sets the tone of the day. Try a Silly Phrase of the Day. Example: ”Today is going to be the most awesome, wonderful, upside down, magical kind of day and I cannot wait to spend it with you!” Take a piece of construction paper and make a hat that can be taped to the mirror. When they brush their teeth and hair the “hat” is sitting on their head in the mirror.
We are not ALL morning people. When waking your kids up, pay attention to how they are designed. Some kids love to wake up, are happy and want instant connection. Others need to wake up a bit more slowly. We call it “easing into alertness”. Wake those kids up about 15 minutes early just to give them some more time to shake off that deep, deep sleep. Robot voice…“This is operation start the day. When I press your belly button, you will be activated to get in the bathroom and brush your teeth. Boooop. If system is not activated, tickling will commence.” Use “mirror markers” to write a fun phrase or draw a silly drawing on their mirror each morning. This gives them something to ‘discover’ each day.

2) In the Car Time

Not all kids love to travel, strapped into a five-point restraint with nothing to do. Can safety and fun co-exist? We think it can!

Practical Creative Fun
“We’ll be leaving in 5 minutes” loosely translates to your child as “You have an unpredictable amount of time to dilly-dally until I get frustrated enough to pick you up and put you in the car”. Let’s fix it by having a dependable phrase that always results in getting in the car immediately. “Let’s start our engines and get outta here!” “My iPhone is literally frozen on Frozen – Disney please come out with a new movie!” Morning commute got you down? Make a recording of your child’s laughter or a 10-minute conversation that your actual family had over dinner. Play that gem on the way to school and be ready for rapt attention from all involved. Engage those problem solving skills as a solid distraction. Ask your child to find a red car or a certain letter. Count out loud “1, 2, 3, 4, what number is next? 5, 6, 7, 8, oh no I forgot what number is next?”
Manage expectations. You can have the best intentions and nothing works according to the plan. In those cases, keep those eyes on the road, turn up the tunes and lay down the expectation that every trip has to make everyone happy. Good parents have kids that scream their way school sometimes. It is okay if EVERY morning is not perfect. Calling all Music lovers! Make a Morning Playlist.Jen – Mine would be a combination of Chicago, Show Tunes and my favorite worship music. I will sing along – too loudly and may be guilty of an extra rif here or there. I really lose myself in music– it can be embarrassing how much I get into it. If you enjoy embarrassing your kids – this is the way to go.

Laura – Definitely worship but my singing voice is not going to win me any American Idol auditions, so I prefer to encourage the kids to do the singing.

Either option has a great result – it invites your kids to be a part of the fun.

With older children, when you start to drive…you start a story. “Once upon a time a smart little second grader with wide-eyes and a bright mind, left his cul-de-sac and he saw….” You can tag team this story until you arrive.

3) Dinner Time

We know how crazy this time of the day is. Everyone is tired; everyone is hungry including the dogs! The laundry still has to be put in the dryer (you have already rewashed it 3 times) and there may even be homework that still has to be done. All your hectic evening needs is a dash of salt and a pinch of inspiration.

Practical Creative Fun
At Moms on Call, we understand that many modern diets are gluten-free or dairy-free or peanut free. We are on a mission to make sure that mealtime is STRESS FREE. We hope that this is freeing for all of us detail–oriented, achievers who get wrapped up in the amounts and number of bites. Helping kids develop a healthy relationship with food is much more about the atmosphere than the food. Just make mealtime fun and stress-free as possible and the number of bites will take care of itself. One of the things that make environments so much fun is tapping into people’s creativity. Shout-out to Millennials because you guys can rock some classic tee-shirts. Let’s bring that same vibe to perk up dinner time at home. Can anyone say “theme-night”?Themed dinner ideas:
  • No utensil night
  • Only foods that are yellow
  • Things that are dip-able (btw – all foods are dip-able, so break out the sauces!)
  • Wear your favorite tee-shirt night
Before dinner, decorate your own napkins and “wear” them in the front of your shirts. Your kids will love to make a Superman napkin for dad to wear all through dinner. When we tried this at home mine had an arrow and said “I think this guy is awesome”. So, having a night where you write an encouraging phrase and an arrow is hilarious.
It is our job to provide the food, it is their job to eat it. Some days we try new things and some days we provide what they know they will eat. The consistency is that YOU decide what shows up on the plate. You’ve got this! Does everyone have a stick on moustache collection or is it just me? (Jen)A collection of old glasses, stick on mustaches or even napkins that you decorated to stuff into the front of your shirt brings an air of silliness to any mealtime.

Let your kids improve your dance skills. Put on some music while cooking. Try singing and dancing and encourage your kids to sing and dance. (Maybe they can teach you to “floss”. Watch out though – that dance move is addictive!)Ever try to eat spaghetti while listening to opera? It is super fun to open your mouth really wide during the high notes.

4) Bath Time

Kids are messy. The commercial with kids on white couches, playing with clean toys is a fantasy. The reality is that kids will not respect your impulse purchase of a white ottoman. So, there is plenty of time to wash all sorts of things – including them!

Practical Creative Fun
Kids learn by routine and association. Having a daily evening bathtime is a great way to indicate that the day is coming to an end. Keep that water warm and towels at arms length. (PS – if they pee in the tub, pee is sterile and won’t hurt anyone. If they poop in the tub – bath time is over ☺.) Who are we kidding? Water is just a good time waiting to happen. The biggest challenge is keeping everyone safe and convincing our kids that they cannot run around naked for hours. Have different containers for pouring and scooping water:
  • Funnels
  • Measuring cups
  • Big sponges
  • Cups

There are many bathing options.
  1. The quick and basic shower: Get most parts wet. Soap is used sparingly but they basically smell good when done.
  2. The medium wash: Includes washing hair with shampoo and longer soak. Target the dirty parts like feet and armpits.
  3. We are here for an all out splash-fest. Will exit shriveled like a grape. No one in a 4-foot radius gets out of this bathroom dry. Have to drain tub – while they are in it – to convince them to leave.
During bath time, sing a song to one of your child’s favorite movies and change the lyrics. For example to the tune of the Little Mermaid:I want to wash, where the dirt is I want to wash, want to wash up so well.

Washing up all these fingers and what do you call them, oh, toes!!! Washing up is so much fun, washing up is what we do…….

Having a blast and splashing around this is how we end our day now! I want to wash where the dirt is”.


Have them count their fingers and toes and always skip a number or a toe and see if they catch on.

5) Saturday Morning Time

Saturday mornings can be a time when we just want to slow down or it can be busier than the Chick-fil-A at Grand Central Station. We want to encourage you that even in the midst of chaos you can find “fun” and “play”!

Practical Creative Fun
Low key, unstructured time on Saturday mornings can be valuable for developing family cohesiveness. It can be a low-key connection time of whispers, hiding under the covers from the rain, or just a chance for your kids to see what “relaxed” looks like on the people they love. Dads in a robe, Moms hair is a mess – we have an imperfectly perfect time to relax. Ahead of time gather some fun games from your childhood (Old Maid, Go Fish, Barrel of Monkeys, Don’t Break the Ice, Hungry Hippo). Pull these out on Saturday mornings or rainy days. Here you will find a section that engages kids without using up all of your precious parenting energy. Examples:
  • “Hop on one foot until I count to 10.”
  • “Sit on your bottom and scoot across the room 10 times.”
  • “Pick up these blocks without using your hands.”
Is it just us or has the organized sport schedule taken over the world one local soccer field at a time? Although it is fun to be involved in activities, there is a fine line between commitment and chaos, especially if you have multiple kids. We give you permission to take a weekend off when needed. We are often pressured to put an NBA-sized commitment on a pint-sized life. It serves your household best for you to remain in charge. Wo instead of your family serving the schedule, the schedule serves your family. Watch Old Cartoons while you eat breakfast – together. Make comments on the characters and express the things you love about the predictable nature of the storyline. “I love when Scooby looks like he is going to mess everything up for a Scooby snack. I imagine that Scooby snacks taste like Krispy Kreme Donuts!” This helps them to engage their own line of thinking while viewing digital offerings (and it just made us hungry for donuts…maybe Scooby snacks should taste like Kale puffs – make it your own folks!) Go on a scavenger hunt in your neighborhood. Look for:
  • Simple things like a postman, flowers, a Grandma, or a lawn mower
  • Things that start with the first letter of your name
  • Things that make weird noises
  • Things that will not move in the wind
  • Things that have two sides
  • Things that change colors
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