What activities you do with your kids?


Hi to all.

We have three children under five. They are 5, 3 and 1.

I was hoping for some encouragement and inspiration for things to do with the kids on weekends/ evenings.

I know we "should" be going as a family to the park for picnics, taking eldest, the boy 5 to ride his bike, and so on, but to be honest it seems kind of boring. I "want to want to" be doing these family kind of things. Instead the square babysitter usually gets a good workout.

I fear letting them play outside too much unless we are there with a close eye on them because as a child I was molested by a next-door-neighbour. Same with going to the park. There are often perverts around at the parks (eg older men not there with children that if you stare at, leave. Some have cameras).

Any tips, ideas, advice, inspiration, encouragement to offer on how to lead a happy, more active family life?

I love the quote: "If the children are happy, everyone's happy!":)

Edit: Mods feel free to move this to parenting if it's in the wrong place. Cheers.


Yes it seems we have to keep a close eye on the kids where ever we go these days.

Our best family activity is to go bike riding together. We have a 200 mile rail trail near our house which is perfect for kids as soon as they get away from training wheels. Your kids are not old enough for this yet but I highly recommend it.

Another thing that was a hit with the kids is to simple go to a hotel overnight on the weekend. They think it is a big adventure. We used to go to the Lake of the Ozarks in February, get a cheap offseason price and take them to the indoor water park one day and mom to the huge outlet mall the next day.

As for fears of pervert watching your kids at parks and at your house. I would consider a large family dog. A sporting breed dog is family and kid friendly but they have a sense for bad guys and can be fiercely protective. I personally recommend an Irish Setter 1 or Lab 2 or Retriever 3. The Irish Setter is one because I am really biased and because they don’t get fat and lazy like the other 2 breeds can (owner fault). Check it out for yourself, these dogs require a lot of attention.


I'm just a young adult myself,

But I'm aware of Many Religious Figures in the local church that act and permit Foul behaviour with children in the Church. I know this because I'm a brother to many of the younger members of the church.

I'm wondering Why the church is permitting these acts of abuse and hatered to fester in a place of god.

I'm sorry if i de-rail this thread, my intentions were to Find out other catholics opinions and if possible get these men (many of them elder and high in the church) brought to justice in the eye's of god.


The Catholic Churches past problems have been obviously well publicized. The Church has since established strong policies to avoid/minimize future problems. It does not sound like you are Catholic, but if you contact your local Catholic diocese, they may be able to provide you with copies of their policies/procedures. Much of this may be useful for your church.

Moderators - you may want to split this thread out.


The night away at a motel idea is grand! We used to do that a lot as a couple, but when more kids came along it stopped. My wife loves doing that, so it’ll definitely get approval from the “finance manager.”:thumbsup: One motel in a nearby place even has a “kids club” and games etc in the rooms for kids. I forgot about that. Very helpful, cheers!

As for a dog. I love dogs.:slight_smile: Hadn’t considered such a big one though. We were going to wait until the youngest was a bit older and get another dog. Our old beloved dog Noodles got ran over, but had a fantastic temperament (a spoodle). Pretty much just waiting until a new dog comes along. We definitely want the puppy stage, but puppies and toddler aren’t a great mix. Just a matter of time though and another great idea. Thanks.

Lots of bike paths nearby. Will come into their own within the next few years then.

Great reply and thanks heaps,

PS to Mei, I would definitely trust the priests that I know personally with the kids. That stuff you mentioned is in the past, as was said.


It can be hard with so many little ones. Your family is still quite young. Sometimes I am so exhausted at night the last thing I want to do is play a game......but sometimes I force myself and end up having fun anyway. When we are really tired we have a movie night. Your kids might be young for this but we love letterboxing its an adventure where you get clues and find hidden boxes with a stamp that you collect check out atlasquest.com. I find many trails I can use a stroller. We want to start geocaching which is the same idea only with a gps. Sometimes I herd the kids into the front for tag or spud. the baby kinda wanders around and we all keep an eye on him. I still read to all my kisd the oldest is 11 we laugh at greek myths and fairy tales (the blue fairy book) they arent you PC stories so use at your own discretion.
last weekend I used some old cookie sheets and emptied a can of shaving cream (the foamy kind) and let the kisd have at it they were completly covered in it we got some great photos from it too. threw them right into the bath.
I guess I wanted to say dont pressure yourself right now. I know for me it was hard with so many littles to keep track of. you can have fun little moments throughout your day.


Sounds like lots of good stuff is just around the corner.

You seem a lot better at this stuff than me. Much more creative. I like the idea you have to let things get a bit messy and have some fun with it.

Hmm, never thought of tag. Will try with the older ones. Don't know what spud is.

Glad reading to them doesn't wear off. My kids love that. The same book...over...and over... will be good to have them understand longer stories and Greek and Nordic/ Viking myths and legends are interesting.



DD showed us her photo Christmas card, using pix taken last year when her sister visited with her toddlers--the whole gang is decorating Christmas cookies and the 2 yr old is covered, literally, you can only see her eyes, with sprinkles, but they eyes came out bright as they do in photos, and for once you can see all the other kids' faces. this will be a family legend.

you can plan special activities for an hour or so, although the littler ones have a limited attention span, but for the most part make the kids part of your usual routine. The 2-3 yr olds can pick up toys (while the 1 yr old throws them out again), the 5 yr old can put away books and puzzles, even dust a bit (he is just learning, go over it yourself later), and may even enjoy pushing the vacuum (while the baby screams). you get it.


I'm not a parent, so my suggestions come from my own youth. We only had three television channels growing up, so my brother and I weren't that interested in TV. We both enjoyed activities that required creativity.

For activities the kids can do on there own inside the home:

Encourage the kids to build "forts" out of things they find throughout the house (couch cushions, blankets, etc.) I remember building, rebuilding, and playing on our couch-cushion train for hours on end, day after day. When we were old enough for Legos, he LOVED them (and I played too, because I wanted to be like my big brother.)

If the girls are too young to be crafty on their own, but old enough to enjoy it, I recommend a toy like Fashion Plates (they have all sorts of designs--mine were of course very 80's, but now they have Dora the Explorer, this one, this one, etc.)

For activities to do with your kids inside the home:

Help them with a craft project. Go to a craft store together and let them pick out a kit of something they're interested in, help them get started, and give them lots of encouragement. Let them pick out a recipe (a new one or an old favorite) and bake cookies together. Sometimes my mom and I would bake a cake together and she would let me pipe frosting on it to decorate it.


[quote="Augusta_Sans, post:9, topic:177972"]

Encourage the kids to build "forts" out of things they find throughout the house (couch cushions, blankets, etc.) I remember building, rebuilding, and playing on our couch-cushion train for hours on end, day after day. When we were old enough for Legos, he LOVED them (and I played too, because I wanted to be like my big brother.).


DH has an idea to design "transformer furniture" couches, chairs and tables that transform into forts, castles, trains etc. for sale to families with children. They will be sturdy and able to take abuse, but specially designed to be easily folded or unfolded for other uses. they will be covered with puncture-proof cleanable upholstery.


As I've stated before this is from nanny experiance, not motherly experiance.

One safe park thing that I liked was the fenced tennis courts. No one ever used them, they were often somewhat shaded, and they were easy to secure....I'd use a bungee cord to secure the doors.

I'd get a bag of balls, or even the trike and let the toddler (1.5-2.5) and dog run around. If I was babysitting other kids I often found it a great personal playground where I knew the kids were fairly safe and had alot of room to run around.


My kids are 11, 10, 10 and 8. The funnest thing we do as a family is camp. We have been doing it since before the kids were born and we’ve been doing it ever since. My family was always into camping when I was young, and those are by far the fondest memories of my childhood.

Camping doesn’t have to be expensive. We have a motorhome now, but we started out in a tent. There are so many things to do in the great out doors, the only limits are your imaginations. I know that the moments we have shared with our kids fishing, hiking, etc., will be the ones that we remember forever.


When my kids were small, even toddlers and newborns, they enjoyed getting out and going places such as museums, historical points of interest, festivals, zoos, and hiking. Having something new to see is enjoyable, no matter the age. Small kids often like the vantage point of sitting in a baby backpack, where they can see just over your shoulder.

The more often you take your kids out, the easier it all gets.

Another tip, do a Google search for things to do with kids in your city. Often there are great guides that even have a calendar of events of local happenings.


My advice: Go with the flow. And: Divide and conquer, if you can. With kids from 1 to 5 there is quite a difference in what they can do and want to do. As a grandparent of five up to the age of 7 I have learned a few things about what they like. Just recently we were visiting two of them (6 & 3)and stayed our last night at a hotel near the airport (to catch an early flight). We found a place with a pool and had a pool and pizza party.

When they visit us during the summer, we take them to a playground, an outdoor pool, the beach (luckily near one), the zoo, a summer festival with children’s games and rides, or just set up the sprinkler, give them some squirt guns, and let them go at it. The older ones like to bike ride so I take them riding on the nearby trails or in the park. The younger ones love to push a toy stroller or cart up the sidewalk and explore. A soccer or other ball to throw and kick around can entertain and exercise them.

In the colder months, we look for a children’s museum, indoor kid’s play park, or children’s show or theatre (again for the older ones). A trip to the library is always in order. Many of them today have children’s programs (free!) and activities. They have computer stations with appropriate learning tools and games, puzzles, books to look at and movies to pick out. Almost every time our grandkids visit, we take them to the library.

Take them outside and play in the snow (a couple of them live in warmer climes and don’t get much snow, so to them it is a big treat). Inside, from about 2 years old on up they like to be “helpers”, so have them help you make pancakes, a pie or make and decorate cupcakes. Hold a scavenger hunt, and let them look for the things you hid in different places. Set up a “tent” and have a campout in the living room. Get some old clothes and accessories out and let them “dress up”.

You can also plan on special “girls” activities with just mom and “boys” activities with dad (or grandpa). It will make them feel special. Don’t discount biking as I did it with our kids and it is a favorite activity for our oldest grandchild. While the younger one slides, swings and climbs at the playground with grandma, the older one and I tool around on our bikes. Some kids are fascinated by airplanes taking off or fire trucks. Many communities have events where fire trucks and ambulances are on display for kids to see and climb on. Look for a cat, dog or horse show on a weekend, or an event with a petting zoo. Most kids love animals.

During the Christmas holidays, many malls and stores have special events and performances which appeal to children. Check those out.

I understand your concern about parks and playgrounds, but just be vigilant. The great majority of people there are just like you, parents or grandparents with little ones. I like the idea about finding an unused tennis court and letting them play in there, if necessary.

Also, ask other parents and grandparents in your area for ideas, just like you are doing here. Good luck.


Your own backyard is a great place for kids to run and play and explore.

I am sorry for what happened to you as a child. You will be better at most in the ability to arm your children so they will be prepared!

Teach them what is and what is not right when it comes to touching. Teach them to stay INSIDE your fence, within sight of mom and or dad or the caregiver at that time. Teach them to run and scream and get away if anyone attacks them.

In your own yard, sit on the back steps with a good book and let them play to their heart’s content until they are old enought to play outside alone. Don’t raise your kids to be afraid - raise them to be fearless and wise !


We cook together. :) My little boy can stir and I'm just now teaching my daughter how to cook on the stove. With supervision of course.


see if your town has a web link to free activities for children or look for a flyer or newsletter at places that kids gather like the library or pediatrician.

DD’s market has a kid play place, sometimes she just drags them over there so they can play for 20-30 minutes while she has a cup of coffee, then they buy something to “cook”–like making PBJ sandwiches or soup, something the kids can mix or play with.


My heart has really been warmed by this thread.

Feeling warm encouragement from everyone's replies and quite inspired too. I'll print it out to refer back to and show my wife (she's got a better memory, which will help make it happen).

Our kids love cooking. Last weekend we baked a cake for the 3yo's birthday. The 5yo took bites out of it when we weren't looking and blamed it on the 3yo!...and she got in trouble until he did it again, but we caught him the second time.:p

Special thanks to every single person who replied. This is probably my favourite internet thread ever. Warm, useful, just great. :thumbsup:

Edit: will probably bump this in a few months and let y'all know how some of the ideas went. A few in mind we can even try this weekend. Thanks again.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.