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How To Make A Normal Day Special For Kids & Bring The Whole House Some Joy

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The old adage "the days are long but the years are short" has never hit so hard as it has recently. Kids are bored, somewhat listless, and getting them excited about anything is a tall order. That's why I found out how to make a normal day special for kids. Honestly, it's as much for me as it is for them.

Being stuck at home, day after day, becomes an effort in endurance, but there are ways to make it fun — to make it really special. The great thing about children is that for them, novelty is easily achieved. They haven't experienced all the things that we have, and they aren't jaded to the world, so little joys are true and freely accepted. Whether you're having a theme night for dinner, or simply turning the floor into lava, they think it's the best time they have ever had.

All of these suggestions can be done at home with very few supplies. These are all about being a little bit creative, and sometimes, a lot silly. I made sure that even if they require preparation, that the prep can be done in your own home as well. All you have to do is pick one from the list and start having some quality family fun.

1. Themed Dress-Up Dinners

This is my recent TikTok obsession — themed dinners. In them, everyone in the family dresses up like Dad/Mom/MawMaw/whoever. Maybe one night you're all characters from the board game Clue. Perhaps one night you're all in your Sunday best. The point is to have a theme and make it fun.

2. The Floor Is Lava — All Day

Oh, I'm sorry, did you think the floor is only lava for children? No, the floor is LAVA, people. Parents don't get a lava exemption. You are not Te Fiti. You hit that step or you burn up.

3. Board Game Brackets

It's like basketball brackets, but higher stakes because I actually know what's up with board games. Everyone draws straws for their seed pick, starting with the easiest games first — Battleship or Chutes and Ladders. Then, you level up to Clue, then Jenga, and finally the top seed plays a really hard game like Monopoly or Catan. And yes, there will be battles for third and fourth place.

4. Saturnalia

OK, so not precisely Saturnalia, as this isn't the Roman Era, and it's just not that popular of a holiday as it once was — early paganism falling out of favor as it has — but there was a game played during the festival that is just as fun now as it was then. That is where a Lord of Misrule was appointed by lottery, and he would then preside over the feast (a fantastic dinner of nuggs and bananas, I'm assuming). They could command their subjects to do anything. For our purposes, the Lord of Misrule would act like Simon of Simon Says. "Jump on one foot." "Chug your seltzer and burp." Things like that.

5. Movie Marathon

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You start popping popcorn at breakfast, and set on a theme. Perhaps it's Disney, or maybe something more fun and broad, like witches. Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Harry Potter, and Hocus Pocus would be just a few of the movies you could watch. Bonus: watch it on a phone or computer outside or in a tent.

6. Mystery Day

Everything is a mystery on mystery day. You write all your breakfast choices on sheets of paper and draw one of out a hat. The same game applies for lunch and dinner. You could also write out television choices, movie picks, and even walk routes. It's all a mystery.

7. Spa Day

Make homemade face masks, cut cucumbers for your eyes, deep condition your hair, and give each other massages. Spend all day in your robes. Soak your feet. An at-home spa day is fun, cheap, and kids love it.

8. Film Your Own Cooking Show

Kids love YouTube. Why not make a video yourselves? You don't have to post it, but you can work together to get the lights right, the best angles, and have them help you set up your phone. Then, you film yourselves making lunch or dinner. You can add background music or graphics and send it to family.

9. Let Them Color A Wall In Their Room

Sounds like a huge pain, right? But in reality, paint is pretty inexpensive, it doesn't take that long to re-paint one wall (especially a small one), and they can spend literally all day with crayons and markers designing a wall in their room. I have done this when I broke my back and needed to entertain the children, and they literally colored on that wall for a month. It was glorious. Now, it's white again (thanks to $30 and two hours of work). The go-around for this is to use some of the heaps of excess cardboard you have around the house and tack/tape it up and let them decorate that.

Just don't forget to take pictures of their work.

10. All The Pillows And Blankets — One Room

How many pillows and blankets do you have around the house? Probably more than you think. Get every last one of them out of your closets and make the biggest blanket fort and fill them with every spare pillow you have. Make doors and windows in your fort and use all the living room furniture. Use the vacuum cleaner as a pole, the cat tree, the box that stores your Christmas tree — just really go to town.