I am always looking for fun and simple ways to entertain kids. Especially when family or friends come to spend the night on a road trip. Living in Central California with space for a family to stay makes a night at Amy’s great stop over on the way to tourist attractions. A new house a few years ago brought the opportunity to have families come to visit. In addition to investing in twin size airbeds, sheets, and towels; I knew I wanted to make a basket of special kid projects.
As I refined my plan for a few quick projects to have on hand I came up with a few criteria for these activities:
-Easy to store and have on hand ready to go
-Minimal instructions and messiness
-Not too expensive
-Appealing to a wide range of ages, allowing for teamwork with older and younger kids
-Small item to take home
-Outdoor activities for Kiddos that had been in a car for at least a few hours.
I have a few things that are totally self-explanatory in the basket and a few things that need a little help from an adult or older child.
After hosting several families I have used this basket of a projects every time. I have modified it a little and added some more things to it as the little visitors have gotten older. I also have a toy basket that I will share another day.
It seems that late afternoon is the normal time of arrival. Usually, upon arrival we do a quick tour for new visitors, let the kids pick their beds and get their luggage settled.
We grab a snack and some water. Then we take a walk down the street to a small park with a few things from the basket usually the soccer ball, bubble wands, sidewalk chalk or jump rope. This gives the adults a chance to visit while the kids get to run off some energy.
Between those 4 things almost everyone can find something to do. It is the bubble wands that everyone plays with at some point. The soccer ball is a good way for older kids to run around without looking like they are playing.
Then we head back to get dinner started generally meat on the grill or something from the slow cooker, a salad bar, bread, steamed vegetables or potatoes. It is an easy meal to prepare and has something for everyone.
In the basket I wanted them to have a project to do while preparing dinner or after dinner before bath time. I wanted to have a few “ice breaker” projects for the kids to work on.
So they would be comfortable and occupied. I was so excited when I found this easy craft project on Pinterest Lightening Bugs from Apartment Therapy. I was sure it would be a perfect project.
These little bugs are a hit with kids from about 3-10. They are easy to make the supplies for several of them fit in gallon bag. I have an example in the bag for the kids to copy.
Supplies for Fireflies
- Yellow Plastic Easter Eggs
- Pipe cleaners
- Adhesive backed wiggly eyes
- Metallic tape
- Tea lights Battery operated
- Pushpin or small nail
- Use a push pin followed by a small nail nail to poke the holes in the eggs for legs and antennae
- Pre-cut pipe cleaners about 5 inches long for 2 legs at a time lacing them in side by side holes.
- Wrapping a pipe-cleaner around a pencil makes nice antennae
- Use 2 pieces of tape for bigger wings;add a pipe cleaner V so they are bendable.
- While I knew they would be easy to pack to go home. I had no idea what a hit they would be as nice little night-light for little’s that are staying the night in a new space.
The little flickers of the tea lights remind me of the nights watching the fireflies coming out to flit across the yard in Illinois.
Do you have a childhood memory of the great fun of catching a few fireflies in a glass jar for a closer look?
Making these fireflies is a great way to pass that memory on.
It is so nice to host families in my house, this is one way I find to give families a few hours of fun to start off their visit.
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Enjoy your Saturday