Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Running Errands

I mentioned earlier that I would give you suggestions for running errands with children.  Going in and out of stores and completing a list of errands does not necessarily fit into a child's idea of a fun day.  With a little bit of thought and effort, children can enjoy the day as well.  Today we had a perfect day of running errands. 

My original plan was to run errands until noon and then quit for the day.  Unfortunately, things have begun to back up so I had to regroup and change my focus.  Yesterday I spent the day on paperwork with a sick child resting and watching movies.  This also allowed me to make a list of errands so I was ready this morning.

When traveling with two granddaughters ages 8 and 6, the 8 year old brings a book.  She reads aloud to us as we are traveling from store to store.  This has become a ritual that all three of us look forward to.   Today she began the Little House on the Prairie series. 

Our first stop was Staples.  They were able to each get a book to review the skills they learned last year in school, while I picked up the supplies I needed.  Granddaughter, age 8, is reviewing 2nd grade math, while her sister, age 6, is reviewing writing some words and letters she learned in kindergarten.  We picked up some stickers I can add to pages when they complete them.  We couldn't find stars, but flowers for the girls and paw prints for my grandson will work as well when those pages are completed 100%.

From there to the library to return some books and pick up some more books.  I'll be reviewing the books we read under Moments with Lexie M.  A couple of children's movies and a children's CD for the car completed our library choices.

This is where the secret to running errands with children comes in.  It was lunchtime, so instead of getting that one more errand in, we went home and took a lunch break.  A leisurely lunch with a little play time mixed in refreshed us enough to continue on our way.

From there we stopped at the laundromat to wash a pillow in one of their large washers.   The laundromat we chose had an ice cream store next to it, so desert after lunch and afternoon snack were rolled into a small cone for each of us. 

I wouldn't recommend this every time you have a day of errands, but before grocery shopping we stopped off for a pedicure.  Not because there is anything wrong with a pedicure, it's just that it can be a little pricey when 30 toes are involved.  We felt pretty special, though,  and the girls will be talking about it for days. 

I didn't detail every errand we had.  The main point is to mix some fun for the children in with the errands.  Don't forget to take time for lunch and snacks and the day will be fun for all.  The adults get errands completed and the children are able to say, "Today was a fun day." 

What do you do to mix the fun in with the errands?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Pirate Castaways

Johnston Library had their Pirate Castaways for children age 6-11 and all four children were able to go.  They had a wonderful time.  One of my sons found some pirate costumes at Nobbies, regularly $20 for $5 each.  Add an eye patch and earring, hat for grandson, age 6, and we were on our way.  The girls had scarves so did not need a hat.  The children were divided into groups of  5 with a leader for each group.  Most of the children were dressed in various versions of pirates.  The games they played were easy to create and could be used for a neighborhood party or birthday party.  A warm sunny day is a must as the games are more fun outside then inside.  Although they could be recreated in a garage where water and a mess would be easy to clean up. 

Walking the plank started the activities for my grandchildren.  As granddaughter, age 10, began walking between two chalk lines while blindfolded, the other children helped keep her in line.  "How?" you ask.  By squirting her with water pistols.  If she strayed to the left, the person on the left shot her with a water pistol until she got back in line.  If she strayed to the right, the person on the right shot her with a water pistol until she got back in line.  This one should be well surpervised to make sure the shooting stopped as the participant gets back in line. 

Another game included rescuing a mermaid or merman.  A small kiddie pool had a couple of inches of water in it with Barbie dolls, Ken dolls, and plastic boats thrown in.  While my grandson, age 6,  was trying to grab a mermaid or merman, the adult threw a hula hoop over him.  He got pretty sneaky and grabbed one while she wasn't looking which added to the fun for everyone.  

Granddaughter, age 8, enjoyed (sort off) searching for eyeballs.  This meant digging through a bowl of jello to dig out an eyeball.  She pulled out the eyeball pretty quickly which made it extra fun for her.  There were also marbles in the jello so the eyeball wasn't chosen immediately.

Granddaughter, age 6, enjoyed digging up buried treasure.  A couple of bins of sand with buried jewels was another successful activity.  Each child knew the number of jewels they were looking for which added to the fun.  When one child finished,  he or she would help the others until all the jewels were found.  Helping each other made grandma proud.

There were a few more activities, although these seemed to be the most fun and easiest to duplicate.  Every time an activity was completed the children received a puzzle piece.  Putting together the puzzle pieces at the end of the morning, the map for buried treasure emerged and a search using the map sent them to a small bag filled with candy.  

While the children ate snacks provided by the library, we looked through the pirate books they had set out.

What was your favorite party as a child?