Activities to Support Kids

Outdoor / Nature Sculptures
What you'll need
Outdoor Access
Creativity 
How to play
IMG_2185.jpg
an_sticks1.jpg
This isn’t so much of a game as just a fun activity, you can do this on a nature walk with the family or right in your own backyard!  Giving them as much time as you have for the creative process, let them use their surroundings to create a unique sculpture.  After everyone has made their sculptures, take pictures and have a gallery walk.  Maybe ask them what it felt like to be creative with things from the natural world. This is a great way to get outside and also exercise some artistic abilities!

Game #1

Rabbit or Wrench
What you'll need
At least two people
A curious mind
GREAT for the car!
How to play
Rabbit or wrench is a great game the entire family can play and relieve some anxiety during car rides. One person thinks of an item of some kind - this can be a living thing, a food, literally anything you want. Then, everyone else in the car asks the person questions one at a time.  For example, “is it more like a rabbit or more like a wrench?” If I picked a laptop, I’d say, “it’s more like a wrench.” A great follow-up question to ask is something like “is it more like a wrench or more like a football?” The goal is to guide everyone in the car towards the correct answer by working together!  Play rotates around all members in the car for a fun experience.

Game #2

Using music or imagery as an emotional check-in (without directly asking!)
What you'll need
Just you and your child!
How to play
kelli-mcclintock-IuCXuyWNGnI-unsplash.jp

Using music as a way to check in with your kids is a great way to get a beat on their emotions without directly asking.  For older kids, ask them about their favorite song.  Start with “could you tell/play me a song that you like to listen to when you’re feeling sad/anxious/nervous?” You can also take it a step further and ask them to name or play a song that represents how their day has gone.  This can be a fun way to connect with your kids and also see what your teen is listening to. 

 

To adapt this for younger kids, you can ask similar questions but instead of asking about songs, you can ask about colors or animals! For example you could ask, “what animal represents how you feel today?” could be a really fun way to find out how the little ones are doing. These can be really great tools to use with kids who are struggling with big emotions without directly addressing the outbursts.

Game #3

Dr. Water Bottle
What you'll need
A water bottle
Perfect to foster teamwork and strategy or cope with frustration
At least two people
How to play

Dr. Water bottle is best described as a combination of capture the flag and red light/green light.  To start off,  one person is the “doctor.”  They will face the group who will be positioned behind a designated starting line. A water bottle will be placed about one foot in front of the doctor. With their eyes closed (you can also have them turn around), the doctor will yell green light where group members will be allowed to move around, and before they open their eyes, they will yell red light. The object is for the group to retrieve the water bottle and bring it back to the starting line. If the doctor sees any group members moving, they can send that person back to the starting point. Each time the doctor opens their eyes, they are allowed to guess who has the water bottle, if they are correct the whole group starts over. To add an extra challenge you can only give the doctor three guesses total, after that they will have to actually see the water bottle to send the group back. Be creative with your own rules and have fun!

Questions you can ask to stimulate learning:

  • What was it like to be the doctor?

  • How did the group manage to hide the water bottle? Was this a good strategy?

  • How did you come up with your strategy as a group? 

  • What might have given away who had the water bottle to the doctor?

  • Was there any noticeable body language in the group? What might this have told you?

Game #4