Monday, July 13, 2009

The Fun Jar

I don't know about you, but fun is usually the last thing on my to do list. Unless you enjoy doing laundry and dishes, but I'm betting you probably don't either. As my kids have gotten older, it seems like we do fewer fun things together. Mom always seems so busy. So last summer I put together a Fun Jar. Yes, I'm so anal retentive I need to schedule fun time, but hey, at least my kids and I will get to spend some time together where I'm not putting them in timeout or telling them for the umpteenth time to put their toys away or quit hitting their sister.

This isn't really a tutorial, but I thought I'd share for any other moms in the same boat as I am. You'll need a container (I used an empty plastic raisin jar from Costco, with a screw on lid), two different colors of card stock paper or construction paper and a pen. Let your kids decorate the jar; give them stickers, markers, paper, whatever and let them have at it. Then you can label it the Jar o' Fun. Cut the construction paper into 1x4" strips. Choose a color for quick activities (ie 10-20 minutes) and the other for longer activities. On a separate piece of paper, jot down all of the activities you and your kids like to do together then group them into quick activities and long activities. Make sure you include indoor and outdoor activities, in case you need to have your child draw again due to the weather. Now write them on the coordinating slips of paper and fold them in half before tossing them in the jar.

Here's a sample list of the activities on mine:
Green Cards (Quick Activities)
  1. Picture Flash Cards (my kids love doing these)
  2. Sidewalk Chalk
  3. Blow Bubbles
  4. Dance
  5. Puzzle
  6. Play Memory Board Game
  7. Sing Songs
  8. Color
Yellow Cards (Longer Activities)
  1. Bike Ride
  2. Movie & Popcorn
  3. Play Dress-up
  4. Go for a walk
  5. Build a fort
  6. Swimming Pool
  7. Finger paint
  8. Bake cookies
As you think of new activities, it's easy to add them to the jar, or take out activities that your kids have outgrown. When you have a moment of "free time", have one of your kids pick out a slip of paper; you tell them what color, depending on how much time you have at the moment. Perhaps even throw in a third color with reward activities when your kids have been really good.

While you may only be able to pull out two activities a day, remember that when spending time with your kids, it's really about quality not quantity. They're not likely to remember you folding laundry in the same room their watching tv in, even though you were there for a good hour, but they'll remember spending ten minutes with you while you all dance to "Low" by FLO Rida in the kitchen or riding their bikes out front on a crisp winter day while you cheer them on.


  1. Great idea, Holly! I think I'm going to make one this week! I know my girls have been getting a little bored lately, and since it is soooooo hot outside in the Texas sun, I need to have a quick handful of indoor games to keep them busy!

  2. That is a great idea, even though yes, you are anal :) Like Marisa, I've had to find fun indoor things to do since it is so ungodly hot outside. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I did something similar, but unfortunately, he keeps drawing slips of paper out of the bag OVER and OVER and OVER again until the bag is empty and looks at me with that LOOK (you know that look) and says, "Is that all????"

  4. oh wow, what a great idea!! I'm going to have to make a fun jar for my boys for sure!!

  5. oh my THAT is a fabulous idea!


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