With life at home being the new normal, parents are struggling to find new ways to keep their kids engaged and entertained without leaving the house. There are several resources surrounding this topic now, so we took some time to collect a short list of our favorite findings to help save from endless scrolling.
From virtual field trips, craft projects and yoga, your family is bound to find activities that will help keep the kids entertained. You can even learn about space from an actual Astronaut with thanks to the Kennedy Space Center!
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The women behind Bell Family Company are taking a stroll down memory lane and sharing their favorite Halloween memories this week. From country to city style trick-or-treating, and DIY costumers – there’s bound to be a story that will take you back to your favorite Halloween.
Lindsay Bell, Founder & Owner
My favorite Halloween memory was last year’s trick-or-treat in our new neighborhood. It was just like what you’d hope for after watching your millionth Halloween movie. The local police mark off the street so that no traffic can get through – making it safe for all to walk – and then crazy town is born (in a good way)! Thousands of trick-or-treaters roam the area, and parents are decked out in costume along with their kids. Almost every house on the road participates, with some homes going all out with decorations, spooky music, open bar on the porch for Mom & Dad, and the list goes on. I can’t wait for this year!
Meredith Hamler, Sitter Services Manager
My best memory of Halloween is that every year up until I was about 13-years-old, my grandma and I would go to the fabric store and pick out a pattern of the fabric I wanted, and then we would make my costume together.
Lauren Kruk, Nanny Services Manager
I always loved dressing up for Halloween! My hair has been very blonde my whole life, and for one Halloween, my mom had me dress as an Indian and sprayed my hair black. No one knew who I was at first! It was fun, but messy! We had a great neighborhood with a ton of kids, so trick-or-treating was always an adventure walking around the block.
Christine Bell, Recruitment & Retention
There is one vivid memory of Halloween as a mom of 5, piling the kids in the car in full dress, trying not to smash anyone’s costume or get it caught in the door. Trick-or-treating in the country meant driving in the dark from driveway to driveway, stopping long enough to open the doors and let the witches, scarecrows, cheerleaders or whatever other costume I could creatively throw together, out to run across someone’s yard to collect their treats.
We had Halloween’s of all kinds in northeast Ohio – rain, snow, heat – it was always a grab bag. Perks of a country Halloween: households with insight gave out large candy bars and individual bags of candy to these very special Halloween ghouls.
Courtney Garvey, Sitter Services Coordinator
One of my favorite Halloween memories is my first Halloween with my kids. It was so fun dressing them up; we were the Three Little Pigs and my husband was the Big Bad Wolf! I love everything about Halloween in general and now so do my daughters, so it makes the whole experience that much better!
Taylor Bell, Marketing & Social Media
Trick-or-treating always involved teaming up with my best friend to wander the development that a lot of my classmates lived in. The best years were the years we thought of a good group costume: my favorite being when we went as Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs. Shoutout to my friend’s grandmother who worked tirelessly to knit our costumes!
After trick-or-treating we’d always pour our candy buckets out on the living room floor and trade pieces back and forth until it was time to go home.
Now that burnout is an official medical diagnosis, I think it’s a good time to bring some simplicity back into our lives this summer.
There is always the temptation of the zillion great summer camp options available. I’ll admit I signed up for a week long one, one for each of my kids with the school they will be attending in the fall. The intention was to practice getting used to that school so drop off in the fall would be a breeze for both kid and me… mostly me.
This simple summer phenomena is not genius. It was how I was raised and probably how most of you and your parents were raised. With how complicated life seems to be today, here is what we will be doing to bring simplicity back. Beware, your kids may be bored at times, but I think that’s good! That’s when creativity is born!
Set up a safety town outside in the driveway. Grandma sent kid size street signs that are easy to set up and take down.
Host a lemonade stand and have your child make flyers to drop off at the neighbor’s house (this is the entrepreneur in me).
Swim, swim, swim! At home or a local pool (invite friends over, play pool games, etc.).
Play in the back yard. Sit toys or objects out and let the kids use their imagination to build and play.
Set up different areas in the house with different activities (e.g., front yard is sidewalk chalk, media room is trains, office is reading).
Go on a walk.
Go to a splash pad.
Pick vegetables at your garden or a local garden.
Water plants and teach your child about taking care of the environment.
Help clean up and make it a game.
Help mom cook! Teach your child about measuring cups, measuring spoons and practice the names of the ingredients.
Gardening is an activity that families can enjoy doing together. It serves as a good way to bond, exercise, and learn about different kinds of plants. Not only that, it’s increasingly important to get kids to experience as much of the outdoors as they can, and one fantastic way to do that is to get them interested in gardening. Introducing them to growing their own flowers, herbs, and vegetables can help instill curiosity, empathy, and a nurturing instinct that is essential for a person to have.
However, it is difficult to find the time or the space to garden in an urban environment. The common lack of a garden, for starters, poses a basic problem that can seem hard to get around for this particular outdoor activity. However, there are plenty of ways to still get children interested in growing plants!
A great place to start is a potted plant inside the apartment. This can be an herb or a small flowering plant, or even sprouts! A child’s wonder at seeing their plant grow isn’t affected by the size of the plant or the scale of their gardens, but by the mere fact that they made this plant grow and change. Herbs and sprouts make wonderful potted plants, because they tend to be fast-growing and easy to take care of.
The natural progression from this may seem to be hoarding a ton of potted plants, but it doesn’t have to be. Try finding a community garden in the area! These are becoming popular in urban spaces, and can be a great way to expand your “garden”. It could even be the beginning of your child’s very own vegetable patch!
Personal Creations has put together a detailed guide that features what you can (and should) plant, and what to avoid when gardening with children. It even includes a list of kids’ gardening tools, and how to go about maintaining your garden. So grab those gloves, get a watering can, and get started! Special thanks to Katie Santos and Personal Creations for writing and partnering with us for this post!
Sitting and watching the Olympic games is great, but wouldn’t it be even greater to be involved in the winter game action yourself?
After tuning into the various games on television, and teaching your children about the sport(s), turn your living room into a mini PyeongChang, and create some winter Olympic games of your own!
Of course, these games aren’t nearly as rigorous as freestyle skiing or speed skating, but they are guaranteed to be just as fun! Maybe more along the lines of curling, if you will.
1. Snowball toss: For this game, grab some plastic cups, markers, and cotton balls, and then try your luck at getting the cotton balls into the cups.
2. Snowman slam: You’ll need white foam cups, construction paper or markers, and some white socks for this one. Then see if you can toss the balled up socks and knock down all the snowmen. This could be fun for bowling, too!
3. Pin the carrot: Think of this as the winterized version of pin the tail on the donkey. A large roll of white paper will work best, along with some colored construction paper, and a blind fold.
4. FREEZE: Number four on the linked list brings a musical game where all you’ll need is something to play music and an open space for the kiddies to dance. When the the music stops, the kids have to freeze!
5. Snowman draw game: Grab some paper plates and markers, and you’ll be all set. The child will hold the paper plate on their head with one hand and try to draw a snowman holding a marker with the other.
If you try out the games, we want to see it! Post your photos to Facebook and tag @BellFamilyCompany in your post!
Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell
Being stuck indoors during the cold, winter months with children can take its toll on any parent. It can become even more challenging when living in the not so spacious quarters of a city apartment.
Wouldn’t it be nice to linger away from the city life and head for a life surrounded by what nature has to offer? Imagine getting that experience and not having to travel a hundred miles outside the city for a farm spotting.
The Art Farm in the City is a children’s education center that is home to New York City’s only indoor petting zoo! Art Farm is a unique space to meet and interact with animals from bearded dragons, to chinchillas and chickens. Their philosophy encourages a childhood relationship with the natural world, while engaging children in care and compassion of all living creatures.
Children can enjoy a various amount of activities including art, music, and cooking-themed classes, playtime, drop-ins, birthday parties, and camps.
Bell Family’s Founder & CEO, Lindsay Bell, took her toddler son there after the holiday season and he loved every minute of it! Growing up on a small farm in Ohio, it’s important for Lindsay to share a piece of her upbringing in nature with her son. Her son loved the turtles the most! So much that he said it over and over for the rest of the day – a new word! He also spent time looking at the fish, birds, and he got inside the fence area with the rabbits. Mom and son practiced the names of the pets and the sounds they make. It was a playtime activity mixed with some learning.
The place was packed as it was a frigid winter day, but all guests were in good spirits and there were plenty of activities for all the kids. For more information on The Art Farm in the City, check out their websitehere.
Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell
To continue Bell Family’s week of spreading holiday cheer, we rounded up a great activity for everyone in the family. A DIY photo booth!
The holidays are the perfect time to capture memories with your little ones, whether it’s gathering around the Christmas tree, or sitting down for a delicious meal. A DIY photo booth can be a fun way to not only snap some photos, but have some fun while doing it! Simply hang a backdrop or some festive decor, and set up a camera to snap the pics.
These photo booth props from Shutterfly are perfect for such an occasion. There are so many to choose from, from antler ears to hot cocoa. Pick your favorite, print them out, and get ready for hours of fun.
Children will love playing pretend with elf ears, top hats, and reindeer antlers! They can make believe they’re in a winter wonderland with festive hot cocoa or gingerbread houses. The pictures you’ll get of your little ones having a ball will be priceless!
Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell, with guest partner Karli Jaenike at Siege Media.
Parents sometimes have to bring their kids to places where there isn’t readily available entertainment or are running low on fun ideas. Our BFC sitters are experts in drumming up ideas, so we figured we’d share some impromptu child activities:
1. Host a Hoola Hoop & Limbo contest with the neighborhood kids! Have the kids make signs & promote the contest. Invite parents to attend, set up & play! Props: hoola hoop & some music
2. For the car ride, play rounds of “I Spy” Props: Nothing necessary!
3. Play a game of Keep it Up! This is classic, get a balloon or pool ball & play rounds of keep it up. This game can be played anywhere & it can go on for hours. Make teams, play-one-on-one & more. Props: Balloon or pool ball
4. Duck, Duck, Goose. Okay another classic. This gets the kids outside or can be played indoors & encourages them to be active! Props: Nothing necessary!
5. Hot & Cold Treasure Hunt. Designate one person to be ‘it’ & direct the other person to go find the hidden treasure by following the map. ‘It’ is responsible for telling the other when they are ‘hot’ or ‘cold’ Props: Treasure map style-hide toy(s) through the house & then map it out for them to follow
If you do not have any props/toys to work with here are some other fun ideas!
1. Read books (maybe rent a few from your local library to bring with you on your outing)
2. Color (bring crayons and construction paper if you have on hand)
3. Dance parties (a Bell Family favorite). Download kidzbop on pandora for an instant dance party; they also have a children’s sing along station which could be fun!