Motherhood, Marriage and Other Wild Rides

Health, Happiness and the Pursuit of Mommyhood

#14 Fun Things To Do With Your Family This Weekend November 7, 2008

Reinvent Your Boardgames for Little Ones

Now that our oldest is 3, games like Memory, Candy Land and Hi Ho Cherry-O have become part of the entertainment rotation. Games are a great way for children to practice problem-solving and social skills, and refine motor skills–and patience! The nice people at Fat Brain Toys recently sent us Bendomino, a game for players ages 5 and up. Like most preschoolers, my son pays no heed to such arbitrary guides, and was very eager to learn how to play. BendominoWe bent the rules of Bendomino by making a pile everyone could pick from and just started with a random piece, matching colors and numbers of dots in each direction, making sure not to let our “snake” or “train tracks” curl into itself. Number, color and spatial recognition, anyone?

This weekend, unearth the games you buried in the back of the closet after baby was born, and see what learning tools you might uncover.

  • Safety first: Pieces small enough to fit through a toilet paper roll pose a choking hazard to children under two.
  • The sky is the limit! Re-purpose Monopoly money as a learning tool for larger numbers and arithmetic.  
  • Playing cards can become number flash cards, or practice matching numbers, hearts, spades, etc.
  • Roll the dice and count the dots. Name the colors on the game board. Organize game pieces by color, size, animal, vegetable or mineral.
  • Let your child take the lead! There is no “right” way to play with toddlers and preschoolers, let your imaginations wander. You may just invent a new family game!

Put a Spin on Brussels Sprouts  

What now? I’m presenting Brussels sprouts as a family-friendly dinner option?!
Dating back to the 13th century, children have been choking Brussels sprouts down for centuries, so let’s keep the party rolling. Did you know that Brussels sprouts are among the superfood family that includes cabbage, collard greens, broccoli and kale? Sprouts are also rich in sinigrin, which is proven to stop precancerous cells in their tracks before they develop into full-blown tumours!

This recipe plays dress-up with Brussels sprouts, veiling them in bacon and fresh Parmesan cheese. Try them prepared this way, ooh and ahh over them, and they just might make it past your child’s lips, too. Click here for the full recipe.
(Visit my other blog, for more great kid-friendly recipes!

Future Environmentalists Club

Recycle Your Empty Cereal or Detergent Boxes! Turn them into attractive holders for your books and artwork withthis handy craft. We rolled out a long piece of banner paper, and Noah (age 18 months) and Joseph (age 3) painted it with blue, green, red and white fingerpaints, using both hands and feet! It was messy, but fun!

What you’ll need:

  • Large cereal or detergent boxes
  • Scissors
  • Scotch tape or craft glue
  • Artwork, leftover gift wrap, leftover wallpaper

How to make it:

  1. Have a parent cut off the top of cereal box. Halfway across top of box, cut at a 45 degree angle down to front of your magazine holder, cut straight across then back up other side at the same angle.
  2. Wrap box in artwork or leftover giftwrap or wallpaper. Secure with glue or tape. 
  3. Decorate with stickers or markers, if you like!


  • Any kind of decorating technique can be used. (Decoupage, fabric used in the room, etc.)
  • Try to decorate the front of the boxes so when lined up they all coordinate with each other.
  • Use heavier detergent boxes so the boxes will be sturdier.

“By raising our children with a strong sense of respect and reverence for Earth, we help ensure that there will be adults to step into ecological leadership positions.”–Helen Coronato, author of  Eco-Friendly Families, 

*Submit your family’s fun weekend activities—The best ones will be featured here!
Looking for more weekend ideas? Click here for Fun Things To Do archived entries


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