Why is it Important to Encourage Citizenship and Self-Discovery in our Children?
One of the things we all want is a well-rounded child who loves to help others when needed and has a sense of responsibility for themselves and their actions. And of course, we want to nurture that natural sense of curiosity that kids have as well as help them hone in on some good old-fashioned self-discovery.
The activities on this page will help your kids develop citizenship, quiet them down so they can tune into who they are and what they are interested in. (Did you know that quiet time is still ‘productive’ time? Kids who have time to zone out (without electronics) have reduced stress and are more tuned into their own wants and needs.)
These activities are just the beginning. There are more activities on the It’s All Kid’s Play blog as well as Pinterest. And sometimes I share ideas on Twitter, too! Oh! And be sure to check out the book I wrote, too. It includes even more travel games as well as over 1,000 other play activities so no matter where you are and what your interests or age, there is something in there for you–guaranteed! Check it out!
Give Something Away
Find something that you do not use anymore or something that doesn’t fit. Give it away to a charity or second hand store. Sharing what you have creates good karma!
You might find one item or you might find a whole box! Make sure you check with your parents before you give it away though.
Help Your Parents
Help them do something you normally don’t help out with. I’m sure they’ll love your help.
Raise money for charity or donate something to charity. There are a lot of charities–find one that is close to your heart.
Here are a few things our family does: My daughter once asked for donations for the cancer hospital that is caring for her grandmother instead of gifts at her birthday party. Her dad runs in charity runs. The whole family sponsors a child in a third world country. And I buy gifts of hope (gifts that help people in third world countries) at Christmas. Our neighbour makes homemade cards and sells them at Farmer’s Markets and Craft Shows and donates the money to charities.
Give Someone a Foot Massage
Help a Neighbour
You could shovel their walk, help wash their windows, look after their cat while they are away, rake leaves… what do you think would help them out?
Pick up Garbage
Take a bag to the local park and pick up litter. Litter is very dangerous for animals as they sometimes eat it not knowing it is bad for them. Other times, they get caught in it. Plus, the world looks so much better without garbage lying around.
Some organizations pick up litter every year–see if you can join them.
Pet therapy is when animals visit people who are not well or unable to have pets of their own. The cuddles from a friendly pet helps make them feel better. Some places that allow pet therapy are senior citizens homes and some rehabilitation homes. Make sure you check to make sure it is okay as well as to see if your pet is suitable.
You could volunteer to help an organization where they need you on a regular basis (like every week), or you could do a one time thing like help with a special fundraiser. Or just offer to help someone out for free–that’s volunteering too.
Visit Senior Citizens
Sometimes senior centers or senior’s homes look for people to visit the seniors since they can’t get out to visit as much as they used to. They enjoy play cards and boardgames, doing crafts, and hanging out with people of all ages. Maybe you know someone in a senior’s home who might like a visit, or maybe you’d just like to go and hear all their great stories. Some of the seniors have had an amazing life and been on some incredible adventures.
Did you know yoga is a great way to release stress, calm yourself, reduce anxiety, and just chill and listen to your body?
Put a Jigsaw Puzzle Together
Daydreaming is like dreaming, but you are awake. Use your imagination to dream about things. Kids who daydream are better problem solvers, so feel free to wander off in your head!
Cuddle or Play with a Pet
Watch Fish Swim
Give Someone a Hug and Snuggle
Look at a Map
If you have one of the whole world, look for some interesting countries like Afghanistan, China and Australia. Do you see countries you haven’t heard of?
If you have a globe, play the “where will I live” game. Spin the globe, trailing your finger on the globe. Whichever country your finger is over when the globe stops is where you will live. (Unless it is the ocean, then you’ll have to spin again. And maybe again. There is a lot of ocean!)
There are tons of different kinds of the card game solitaire. All you need is a deck of cards and the rules. If you have a computer, it probably has the game of solitaire.
Make it a bubble bath to up the fun factor! Hey, was that a mermaid? Watch out for the submarine! Can you make a wave so big it sloshing out of the tub? (Sorry parents.)
I like to rearrange some of my favourite things, do you? Make it just the way you want it.
Do Your Homework
I know, I know… But if you do it now when fun comes along, it will be done, out of the way, and there will be no excuse keeping you from enjoying that fun!
Make your homework a game. Do some of it standing up. Some sitting on your heels, some on a chair…
The Clean Your Room Game
Parents: If your child’s room is messy, chances are they are playing hard in there–give yourself a pat on the back as you have a healthy childhood happening in there and a child who has the time and freedom to play and create a mess! I give you permission to have a messy house and kid’s with messy rooms. It means play and real life happens there! Enjoy!
I loved it when my mom made cleaning my room a game when I was a kid. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Colours: Pick up everything that is the chosen colour. Start with blue, then red, then green, or whatever colours you choose.
Sizes: Pick up the biggest things first and work your way down to the smallest stuff.
Race: See how fast you can find all the blocks and put them away. How fast can you find all your clothes and put them away–no hiding them under your bed! How fast can you get your room looking clean? If you have a brother or sister–race them!
Textures: Pick up everything squishy, then everything floppy, then everything with more than four colours, pick up things that are hard. What’s left?
Shapes: Pick up circles, rectangles, squares. (What would a Barbie be? Rectangle!) They don’t have to be perfect shapes. Or maybe if Barbie is wearing a skirt with polka dots you will call her a circle. Be creative.
It takes more than one person to keep the house and family going, so help out. Sometimes it’s fun to try something new. Make it fun when you help out by doing something like counting out the marshmallows for Rice Krispie Squares (one for me, one for the pot, one for me…), or walking on tiptoes all the way to the garbage bin out back. Make it an adventure!
Roll Your Coins
Wow, look at all the money you have now!
Hint: You can get paper coin rolls at your bank for free.
Make Someone a 'Just Because' Gift
People love getting gifts for no reason. It makes them feel special. See the arts and craft pagesfor homemade gift ideas.
Do Something Good for the Environment
Ideas: Recycle, compost, plant a tree, bring your own shopping bag to the store, and buy products with the least amount of packaging or products that were produced locally. What can you do to help the environment?
Looking for more? Try these places as well:
Might I also suggest this time-saver…
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