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For the Kids!

Creative Entertainment for Children

What was your favorite game to play as a child? Do your memories mostly consist of playing with ordinary household and yard objects alongside siblings or neighborhood friends? Perhaps you played “house,” or board games, or puzzles. I remember playing “Red Light, Green Light” on the church steps every Wednesday evening after Advent and Lenten services. I had toys growing up, of course. However, I don’t remember going to weekend sports tournaments out of town, or spending weekday evenings in dance class. And playing the new Mario Bros. on the original Nintendo was only a special treat!

As the Lord’s creation, we have been given a marvelous capacity for imagination and ideas. He has designed our children’s little minds to be curious about everything in their world. He has blessed us with both the ability to find twenty uses for a few sticks and some twine as well as being able to invent digital entertainment. And He wants us to have fun together and to grow each day as a family, enjoying the blessings He’s given us. We can find many ways to embrace both ends of this spectrum and to raise happy and well-rounded children.

I’ve been thinking lately about the way my girls spend their time. The Lord has blessed me with daughters who like playing make-believe games together, and we have a large yard for them to explore and enjoy. But the inevitable, “I’m bored. Can I play computer or watch something?” is always asked at some point in the day. Kids are imaginative, but they also need some good direction at times when they are sure that plopping down in front of a screen is the only thing that could possibly fill their need for entertainment. With family budgets stretched to their limits and more inclement weather on its way, I thought I’d share a list of entertainment possibilities for the younger children in your life. If that request for digital entertainment comes your way and the answer is “no,” you can try one of the following activities instead. With the holidays approaching, many of these ideas also double as gifts for your children to give their loved ones.

  • Paint sun catchers
  • Make homemade play dough (recipe below)
  • Use recycle-bin papers to cut out snowflakes
  • Buy glass ball ornaments and paint/decorate them yourself
  • Use scrap wood from dad/grandpa’s workshop to make a “treasure box.” Paint it however you like!
  • Learn to braid by making friendship bracelets with yarn or cross stitching floss
  • Wash some rocks. Put on old clothes (or just take clothes off!) and paint the rocks. Great outdoor decorations!
  • Use scraps of cloth to learn how to hand-sew a seam. The result is a skirt for Barbie or a quilt for Dolly!
  • Mix 1 part white vinegar with 2 parts water in a spray bottle and let Mommy’s Helper safely clean counters or wash windows.

As children get older they can tackle more intricate and messy tasks, but no matter what age, encourage the children in your life to explore what they’re good at and what they enjoy doing with their time. Remind them of how their Creator has given them the potential to use any skill to His glory!
—Jennifer Schaller, Redemption, Lynnwood, WA

Best Homemade Play Dough
1 c. flour
2 tsp. Cream of Tartar
1/2 c. salt
1 Tbsp. oil
1 c. water
Food coloring (gel works best)

Sift flour and cream of tartar. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until a ball forms. Turn out onto a cutting board and allow to cool slightly. Using rubber gloves, knead until smooth. Store in a plastic bag, do not refrigerate. (I’ve added strawberry scent before, which was great, but encouraged the little ones to eat it. Thankfully this recipe is totally edible!)

—Jennifer Schaller, Redemption, Lynnwood, WA





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