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Preview: Kid Daze

Kid Daze

Updated: 2018-03-05T12:42:11.592-06:00


The Challenge: Does Total Gym Really Work?


Okay, so I am a busy mom of two preschoolers (or rather, I am a mom of two BUSY preschoolers!) so I find it difficult to maintain the kind of work out routine that I held in the past. I have fond memories of my single days when life could literally revolve around trips to the gym. I was in shape and enjoyed working out. I could actually enter a 10k race and finish it.

That was one husband and two children ago. For awhile I had a gym membership that worked for me and I was on my way back into good health. But then we moved and the gym no longer was a convenient possibility for me. So here I am, desperately needing some sort of routine that will work for a tired mom. Cue the Total Gym commercial.

I was flipping through the satellite guide the other night and saw that an advertising spot was on for the Total Gym. Now, we had picked one up second hand for my husband years ago, but I never used it. I started watching about the product and they claim you just need to do it 10 minutes a day. Now exactly what the results are supposed to be was not spelled out, but there was fine print about having to eat a healthy diet if you wanted to lose weight.

But back to the point - 10 minutes. I thought it's one thing to not want to bundle up the kids in winter time and drive 20 minutes to the gym so you can workout for an hour. (that was why it didn't last once I moved!) You eat up half of your day just getting your workout in. But if all I have to do is can't find 10 minutes a day then I am just being plain lazy NOT to give this a try.

So, the challenge is on, and I will let you know how it goes. I am going to do 10 minutes a day for 60 days. I will find out if this is the perfect workout tool for busy moms and you can have an unbiased, unpaid review of this product.

Snow Painting


Here is a great way to get the kids outdoors for some fun in the wintertime. If you have snow on the ground, you have a blank canvas just waiting to be painted. Pick up some spray bottles from a dollar store. Fill them with water and then add food color to create a variety of colors. Head outside and let the kids create wonderful art creations by spraying the snow. Your yard will be beautiful!

Note: food coloring has been known to stain clothes, so supervise younger kids when they are painting.

You can also use this to create a painted "obstacle course." Spray a path that will take the kids all around the yard, around trees, zig-zag, hopping from spot to spot, etc. Then paint an S for the start and an F for the finish. Have them run the course... ready, set, go!

Play Food For Free


Sometimes the most simple ideas are right under your nose and you just don't think about them. I went to a birthday party and the mom had her kids play kitchen totally stocked. But it wasn't plastic food and miniature cardboard food boxes. She had stocked the shelves with the empty boxes and containers from her own kitchen. What a brilliant idea!

When I got home, I went through all the stuff I had saved for potential rainy day craft material - macaroni and cheese boxes, rice a roni, poptarts, cardboard oatmeal canisters, juice containers, egg cartons, plastic spice shakers, pizza boxes...the list could go on and on. I taped them shut and stocked the shelves in my girls room. Wow! They were excited! They did nothing but play store and cooking for the next 3 days. The best part is that if items get squished or ruined, you just throw them away and replenish the next time you empty a packaged food item. What a great way to recycle what used to go straight to the trash.

You may need to experiment depending on your kids temperament. My kids didn't like having the containers taped shut. They ripped them open so they could "pour" the contents out and cook. I think they will last longer if they are taped closed but not if they tear them up trying to open them!

editors note: 1-14-09

My kids are now content to leave them taped shut, which does indeed prolong the life span.

Playdough Pizza Parlor


We had a blast having a pizza parlor on our kitchen table today. Break out the playdough and give it a try. My girls have a play kitchen, but they really weren't interested in using it. Instead we had an old Mt. Dew cube box which became the pizza oven. They did like using some of the accessories though - a spatula, a tray, and a couple of plates.

First you have to have them knead the doughball. (playdough) Then roll it out. Next come the toppings. Get creative. We made pepperoni pizzas with lots of cheese. They can put it in the oven to cook, then slice it up when it is done. Fold the pizza in half and they can bake a calzone.

Dad was home today so he got to consume many pizza creations! I didn't think those kids were ever going to stop playing with the playdough!

If pizzas don't catch your kids fancy, try having them create and cook some other food they enjoy - cupcakes with sprinkles on top, cinnamon rolls...

Contemporary Art for Little People


This is a great project for any age because it does not require staying in the lines. Buy a small art canvas for your child to paint. Get a roll of painters blue tape. Lay out strips of tape on the canvas. You can stick to all straight lines to create series of rectangles and squares or put them on as random angles and lines. Now your child can either paint over the whole canvas or just fill in the spaces with color. Once the paint has dried, remove the painters tape and you have a contemporary art piece.

Variations on this would be to give only certain colors to your child for painting - cool blues, greens, and purples or a warm set of oranges, yellows, and reds. Do you want them to create art work for their room? Use the colors from their room for creating the art.

Graham Cracker Houses


Instead of baking gingerbread, buy a box of graham crackers and just do the fun part - decorating!

The basics: You will need a box of graham crackers, a container of icing, and an assortment of candies for decorating. Also, a 1/4 tsp of cream of tartar mixed in a cup of icing will help the icing dry hard enough to hold your cracker house together.

For a base used cardboard covered in aluminum foil. To pipe your icing onto your house, cut the corner off a plastic bag. Once you have your walls assembled you have two options.
1. You can cover the house with icing and stick the candies on, or
2. use your icing like glue and stick individual candies on the house.
If you go for option one, be sure to only ice one cracker at a time or the icing may get too hard for the candy to stick to it before you get all your decorating done.

Teddy Bear Races


Get a couple of empty plastic clothes baskets and put a teddy bear in each. Have your kids race each other or you race your kid. Set a course for the race then push your teddy bears across the floor and see who gets to the end first. Try not to dump your teddy bear along the way! (don't have plastic baskets? find something else that will work in their place - even a couple small empty boxes will do) If you have really young ones, you may want to have the goal be finishing, rather than racing.

Choo-Choo Train


Have your kids form a train by standing behind each other and holding onto the waist of the kid in front of them. You be the engine in the front. Reach your hands back for your kid to hold onto if it isn't easy for them to hold onto your waist. Now chuga-chuga-choo-choo all around the yard. If they want, let them take a turn being the engine.

Rain Dance


Go outside and teach your kids how to do a rain dance. If it's winter, do a snow dance. Pattern it after native american dancing and have fun.

If you have a playgroup this is a fun indoor activity. Create a rainstorm inside. Have all the kids sit in a circle on the floor. One parent starts the rain storm and whatever they do, have the kids do. To really make is sound authentic, go around the circle one by one adding to the rainstorm. They should keep doing their the current motion until it is their turn again. Say, "Here comes the wind." Make circular motions on the floor with your hands. Have the kids do the same motions, going around the circle clockwise. When everyone is making the wind noise, the parent says, "Here comes the rain," and starts tapping the floor with their fingertips. Each child in turn taps the floor. Then the parent says, "it's getting harder," and taps the floor with their whole fingers. Go around the circle, changing from fingertips to fingers. Then the parents says, "it's getting harder," and pounds the floor with their palms, and each child in turn changes from fingers to palms. Do the reverse for the storm passing.

Indoor Sledding


Take turns giving your kids "sled" rides. Get a blanket out and lay it on the floor. Have your kid sit down on it, pull the sides in towards them for them to hold onto. Now you take the end and pull them around the house. This works best on non-carpeted floors, but can be done even on carpet. note: this is in place of going to the gym for you!



Bring out your puzzles and spend some time putting them together with your kids. Try to use the time for teaching your kids too. You can teach them about the shapes, colors, or objects in the puzzles.

Puff the Magic Dragon


This is one that shouldn't be forgotten. Teach your kids the song Puff the Magic Dragon. You can get all the lyrics and music here. And contrary to rumor, there is nothing untoward intended in the lyrics. See for the lowdown on the lyrics.

Snowman door wreath


Pick up 3 wreaths from your local dollar store or craft store. Tie them together to form your snowman and add a hat, scarf and mittens. The totally homemade version goes like this: Get an old cardboard box. Cut one big circle out of cardboard. Draw 3 circles inside each other on your cardboard circle, so that it looks like a dartboard. Then cut along each line. This leaves you with 3 circles to make your wreaths for the snowman. Punch holes in the circles and tie them together to make your snowman. Let your kids glue cotton balls onto the snowman, then dress him in your scarf set and hang on the wall or your front door. If you make a smaller one, then your kids can use construction paper to make the accessories for the snowman and glue them on. See a picture here.

Puppet Show


Put on a puppet show. If you have puppets, you can use them. Otherwise, make puppets as a craft time activity. You can get elaborate and make a 'stage' from an old box or just sit the kids down at the dining room table. You get on the other side and sit on the floor. Then just have the puppets perform at the table height.

Animal Fun


Have your kids pretend to be different animals. Have them walk, crawl, or jump like the animals and imitate their noises. Have them try to be like a variety of different animals. You can do farm animals, zoo animals, or pets. Teach them about the different animals while they are playing. Tell them about the animals habits, what they like to eat, etc.

Paper Bag Puppets


Make paper bag puppets. You can do this by decorating the bags with construction paper cutouts or get more creative with other art supplies. (ex: buttons, yarn, glitter, etc.) Need more help?

Try making farm animals like a cow, pig, sheep, or chicken.
Make domestic animals like a cat, dog, or bunny.
Make zoo animals like a lion, penguin, or bear.
Make people.

Old MacDonald


Sing Old MacDonald had a Farm with your kids. This is a great interactive song for your little ones to learn the different farm animals and the sounds they make. If you are lucky enough to have animal hand puppets, use them as you sing the song. Don't be afraid to use any animal even if it isn't a traditional farm animal. Your kids will love making all sorts of critter noises with you. :)

Hokey Pokey


Do the Hokey Pokey with your kids today. Need the Lyrics? Don't be afraid to add your own twist to the song and dance like "You put your teddy bear in, you put your teddy bear out..."

Playdough Fun


Using playdough, have your kids make shapes. You can give them direction and make it a teaching opportunity or just let them freestyle. Young kids will enjoy using cookie cutters to cut shapes out of the pressed playdough. You can find playdough cutters at the dollar store, or make some basic shapes out of old cardboard tubes or boxes. You can also work on color recognition with your playdough time.

Ideas for themes:
Learn parts of the body - make all the body parts - feet, legs, body, arms, head - then assemble them.
Learn shapes - make circles, squares, triangles, rectangles
Zoo animals
Farm animals
Learn sizes - long/short, big/small

Simon Says


Play Simon Says. You as the parent should be Simon. You say "Simon says..." and fill in the blank with an action for the kids to imitate. (touch your nose, stomp your feet, etc.) Keep the actions more simple for the indoors. Do things that will help with them learning to identify arms, legs, hands, feet, etc. If you play outdoors, you can get even more creative since you may have more room to roam. (run in a circle, roll down the hill, etc) Then if you give them an action without saying 'Simon says' that child is out. This is a good game for older kids to help them with their listening skills. For young children, always say 'Simon says.' They enjoy doing whatever silly things you can come up with.

Paper Dolls


For your craft time make paper dolls. You can either design them yourself, or get some help online. (paper doll link) Keep it simple for the younger ones - maybe make a simple bear. You can use colored construction paper for clothes, or plain paper and let your kids color them.

Sponge Painting


Cut shapes out of sponges - circles, squares, triangles. You can use old ones or buy new ones at the dollar store. Wet the shapes but wring out the excess water. Dip the sponge in paint or use a brush to apply the paint. Press the sponge onto canvas or paper.

If You're Happy and You Know It!


Sing the song If You're Happy and You Know It with your kids. Find the music and lyrics here. Have fun with this one by making up your own actions to perform. Let your kids come up with ideas too - they can be quite fun! Examples: If you're happy and you know it...
stick out your tongue
nod your head
flap your arms
yell yahoo!
jump in the air

Pictures from Shapes


Get out construction paper and glue. Cut out a bunch of circles, squares, and triangles from different colored paper. Then let your kids glue the shapes onto a sheet of construction paper. They can either do a collage or use the shapes to create pictures, like a tangram (a tangram uses 7 geometric pieces to create different forms) only with as many shapes and pieces as they want.

Shape Scavenger Hunt


Make a list of the items your kids have to find. The items should be based on shapes such as 4 squares, 2 rectangles, 1 triangle, 3 circles. Give your kids a bag or basket to collect their items. If your kids are older, you might want to increase the difficulty of the scavenger hunt by tagging colors and shapes together - ex: red square, blue circle, etc. Work with your kids to see the shapes in their every day environment.