We have a teen and a pre-teen, so things can be chaotic and requires a wide variety of creativity when it comes to organization and family fun. Here are a few of our favorites…
These were such a relief to find! I’ve tried several types and this has been the best by far. Not only do these Velcro onto a hanger and work in the closet, but it can double duty for other things than caps, and makes it super easy for them to find that hat that is just right (I figure it’s like women and shoes…they’re accessorizing, but I don’t pretend to truly understand why anyone needs that many hats, especially since I’m not a girl that has lots of shoes or purses either lol). These also work great for holding flat brims instead of only curved, even organizes winter beanies and sun hats (I bought several, so one is strictly for the teenager’s ball caps, while another is the family free-for-all organizer). I was worried about taking up too much space in the closet, but it’s just the width of a hat and holds so many (and all organized, so try to beat that! *grin*), that it doesn’t feel like any space is actually lost.
This is an older one, but I swear it was a huge help, especially with hybrid learning from Covid schooling. I felt like an idiot that I had no clue what these math names were when asked for help, so this was a blessing! We find them at Sam’s, but I’m sure they’re available elsewhere. Seriously though, division isn’t just division anymore. There are different methods and formulas in grade school! This explained the method, gave examples, has answers so you know you’ve learned it correctly so you can help them correctly, and actually matched all of the types that the school used. Hallelujah! Arrays and the Big 7 were total “what the…” versions for me. 😂 I swear I still find it easier to do the plain old long division I learned thirty years ago, but it was good to see that they’re working on finding methods that will work for everyone, because once we knew how to help him understand it, Big 7 was a game changer for the fourth grade. Other methods just didn’t work for him. I personally think these are more of a help for the parents than the kids unless you’re homeschooling, but man are they worth every penny when your child suddenly understands and can do their schoolwork!
The pictures make it self explanatory, but this organizer makes my day. (Yeah, it doesn’t take much sometimes, but organization definitely does it for me, especially if it stops the cycle of me having to do clean up after creative time! *grin*) Although Legos are the main feature (and rightfully so, since you inevitably step on them and they manage to find their way EVERYWHERE, and become the bane of your existence despite their awesomeness), I use one for crafts/play too. Play-doh, moon sand, craft sticks and Pom poms, etc. Mess stays contained, they can make all the ice cream cones and castles and wood stick catapults desired, and drop the stuff right back into the box to be closed neatly. And you can easily flip the pull out liner to drop moon sand bits into the trash if needed while never again seeing green sand spots in the carpet. Just remember to not be uptight about it. It’s going to stain and be messy inside. Just concentrate that the mess isn’t on the carpet or desk anymore and you’re not going to be stepping on Legos at midnight while walking in the dark to the kitchen because you have a sweet tooth attack. *grin*
We subscribed to Just Dance as part of both our exercise and family time budgets. Unfortunately, the over the thumb regular wrist holder for the switch controller doesn’t work with smaller hands/arms, but these are a massive improvement. Not perfect, but no longer a case of someone upset because half of their moves weren’t registered and their score was low, and no worries about what might happen to that controller without the band. 🙂 The subscription has a huuuuge library (thanks Sis for the heads up last year!) and even a section just for kids (just prepare yourself for PBS-like videos; you’ve been forewarned lol), although there are a ton of family friendly options in the regular catalog, with sometimes competing while other times the scores are joined for an ultimate score. This has been a great way for me to exercise with having health issues and also needing to stay out of the sun while taking frequent breaks, but also allows for great bonding opportunities. Just remember to get the regular ones for the rest of the family, because it’s so much better than sweating all over the controller and you may be able to get your teen to do a little “dance like nobody is watching” with you! 😊
You have to get creative for family night, especially when you have a wide age variety and want to be able to play with friends, too. And face it, the youth today pretty much sums up life experiences in memes, so might as well roll with it. *grin* This is a great option for laid back game night too, because the one with the energy can do all of the cards and displaying while the others rest on couches and chairs around the room. Bonus win: burn that extra energy from the active child, keep them extra occupied, bond as a family, and have a fun time all around. It’s a good game for most ages and you don’t even have to be familiar with the original meme for the game to leave everyone cracking up. Sometimes there can be a little innuendo, so just a heads up there that you might want to scan the cards before play and pull any that aren’t appropriate for your group.
If you’re patiently building your family game collection, you can often find most family games on sale at least a few times per month. This is one that is definitely geared to the younger generation, but can be pretty amusing if you’re okay with potty and fart humor (which you need to be with most Littles, if we’re realistic lol). This is like a kid version of Cards Against Humanity and if you have a tween or near there, they have some jealousy that they can’t play that popular game, so this helps fill that gap and give them a version that’s okay for them yet feels so risqué still. *grin* One tip we found is to have at least one “blind player”, which is a non-player that you just draw a random card for and add to the answer pile each round. The extra player(s) add a random and funny new dimension, usually, and honestly, they usually win when we play. *laugh* This is a low exertion game and can be easily modified. We usually play with the youngest as the judge every turn. One, it’s more amusing for him to read all of the silly humor instead of hoping his gets picked and two, it’s a slick way of having them work on reading out loud without realizing it and super easy going if you have to help with correcting on pronouncing words or pausing in reading when there’s a comma, etc. I am all about finding ways to get kids to read out loud and get help when they won’t be defensive about it. And despite being “too old for family games” usually, we can usually get the teenager to play at least one round because few ever fully outgrow at least a snicker when it comes to fart jokes. 😉
Hopefully this has provided a few helpful options and smiles. If you have any to add, I’d love to read your comments if you have time to respond. 😊 It takes a village, as they say. 😉