So you’re a grown up with kids. You can vote, drive, you make your own decisions…you’ve even decided to have kids. Now what?
What do you mean NOW WHAT?
Trust me, I know what you mean. It’s not easy to harness those little bundles of raw energy and get them to do anything. But there are some things they like to do that you’re good at. Heres a short list. Feel free to add to it in the meta (you know, the comments) or whatever.
Come on, if you can write a business proposal or a blog or even a grocery list for that matter you can do these things
Using your kids crayons, sit down with them and color. Write their name at the top of the page every time so you’ll know who did it and they’ll know what it looks like written out (instead of getting yelled across the house). Draw a picture of your own or let them direct you. Its not too late to dredge up those kindergarten memories. Show them their shapes, colors and letters. Show them how to hold a writing instrument correctly. Left hand, right hand–whatever hand they use is the hand you show them how to do things with. They’re kids you know…let them be kids.
Sidewalk chalk is a delight but you know what? It also works on the driveway! Transform any dull gray slab of concrete into a wonderland of color. It’s a little chaotic and a lot messy but its so much fun. My kids have learned most of their shapes, colors, letters and numbers with sidewalk chalk because its fun. If its too hard on your knees, get a garden kneeler and go to town. (In fact, back when I was trying to learn greek, I used to practice my letters out in the driveway. The kids thought it was great.)
Finger paints are a whole ‘nuther realm, but its pretty easy to break out some of your old T-shirts and let the kids loose. If you’re a serious neat freak cover the whole table top with butcher paper to ease cleanup. A big plus to finger paints is that they don’t require a whole lot of instruction. Kids pretty much already know how to use them.
This one’s easy. Bubbles and dandelions are a wonder to any child under about age 8 or older if they have little siblings.
A swing, a stroller, a ball, a merry go round, a tricycle, a bicycle a little baby scooter. Come on, you can do it.
Walk, jump, run:
Down to the mail box.
Through the woods.
Around the block.
Buy one of those ball things with a handle and show them how to use it. Go on a bounce through the yard. It’s a great workout and you don’t have to buy yoga pants to do it.
I remember walking my little ones through the house and teaching them the words for all the things we walked by. No, they don’t know what a ‘furnace closet’ is but up to about age two they are your single biggest fan and they love the sound of your voice.
Throw: A ball, a Frisbee, a football…name it. Playing catch is universal and kids love it. This one even works if you’re a man and you don’t have kids. If there are kids on your block take that glove outside and just start throwing the ball into the air. How long do you think it will be before you have some kids with ball gloves wanting to play catch?
I don’t know about that last one in this day and age because of the way parents are about ‘other people’ but its worth a shot. Maybe you can deliver some gospel while you’re at it.
Who doesn’t know how to fold a paper air plane? OK, you need some baseball…
Spray your kids with a hose, a sprinkler, a super soaker. You can get a whole set of these nifty pneumatic water guns for something like $9.95 these days. They beat those cheap plastic knock-off all to pieces. Plus, on a hot day there’s a.)nothing better, b.)a good chance they’ll dry completely before you take them inside.
Dig. Here’s an experiment. Take any group of toddlers (or older) kids to a bare patch of dirt and provide buckets, shovels, or even just some sticks and they will start to dig. Eventually. If you’re doing it they will begin almost immediately.
A book, the bible, a story.
Make up a story or read bible stories to your kids. Teach them the basics of the faith along the way. If you get into the habit of reading ‘The Grouchy Ladybug’ or ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ and take the time to answer the questions they have through the story, pretty soon they’ll listen to the Gospel of Luke and have questions there too. Thats important. Thats what its all about. Thats being a light in the darkness and heres a reminder:
They are in the dark. They’re little sinners in need of the Savior. Don’t forget it.
Make something happen this summer. Make a mess. Make a craft. Make an impression on your kids other than ‘Daddy’s busy right now’ or ‘later’ or ‘Where is your mother?’ Because the day is coming when they are going to need to hear about Jesus, will you have prepared them? Will your preparations be found lacking on that day? I hope not.
You want to not be bored with your kids? Truly make them your kids by investing yourself in their lives. Trust me, they’ll be out of your hair soon enough…