Rainy day activities – giant cushion pile-up, obstacle course and teddy fly

jumping pile lauched toddler IMG_0298

Stuck for ideas of what to do when it’s pouring outside? Testosterone building to fever pitch in those little boys? Girls crawling up the walls? Time for some indoor physical exercise. There are lots of ways to burn off some energy inside the house. Most, like these ones, do need some space, so clear out the centre of a room and get moving. Here are some of our ideas:

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Obstacle courses

Get the children involved in setting up an indoor obstacle course. Include household items to crawl under, climb over, jump around, hop along, run between and anything else you can think of. Have it ranging throughout the house or in a tight circuit in the one room. Use cushions, blankets, chairs, tables, broom handles – the list is endless. Cushion stepping-stones through the alligator infested river, commando crawl underneath a heavy blanket or quilt, mountaineer over cushion mountains, leap tall buildings in a single bound (Duplo?) or whatever else you can think of. Building it takes quite a while and is half the fun. Using the super spy pack-up method makes packing away part of the game.

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Giant jumping heap

We collected every pillow, cushion and doona in the house and made a giant pile on top of two mattresses in the middle of the room. A stable step to leap off was the only other item needed from lots of jumping fun.

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To avoid jumpers crashing into the previous person we had an entry point (the table) and an exit point (the other side of the room) with a running circuit between the two. Nobody was allowed to backtrack – everyone had to do the full circuit before waiting their turn from under the table again. Everyone going in one direction saves a lot of disasters!

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Even 11-year-old boys think this kind of family game is cool!

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Teddy Fly

Fly is a very old-fashioned game traditionally played outside with nothing but twigs. We  used the hallway and our stuffed toys for an indoor version. The little kids didn’t quite get the concept and just ran up and down getting in the way but the older children figured it out fairly quickly.

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How to play: Spread your teddies (chopsticks, ribbons, cushions or whatever) evenly down the hallway with enough space to step between each item. The first player has to run down the length of the obstacles, stepping only once between each item. If they are successful, they choose one item to remove – not the first or last one though. As more players successfully step only once between each toy and remove one item, the gaps begin to get larger and the game becomes more difficult.  The winner is the last person who makes it through before it is no longer possible to do so.


Put some great music on the stereo and get down and boogie together. Play statues or musical bobs. Play a safe version of musical chairs using small beanbags or some other soft items scattered about the floor in place of the chairs. We have a CD with set actions that gets everyone moving and I have been told that there are some groovy kids dance videos on YouTube with actions to follow along with.

Half an hour to get those wiggles out will make for a much more peaceful time together and build family relationships while you are at it. For a few more ideas, see my Pinterest rainy day pinboard. Enjoy!






Last minute Father’s Day gift idea for the kids to make


Are you looking for a last-minute Father’s Day gift idea for the kids to make that is cheap, quick and easy? This is our family’s effort for Father’s Day tomorrow.

After seeing this idea on Pinterest many times we decided to create our own version made with chocolates that are available in Australia. Or should I say, my 11-year-old son decided to do it and created this message entirely on his own without a single bit of input from me.

In case you are having trouble working it out, it says:

We can’t give you a car (Caramello), a cat (Kit Kat) or a holiday to Turkish (Turkish Delight) countries but we need more of (Moro + f) these Dads who in this crumbly (Violet Crumble) and flaky (Flake) world will take their kids on a picnic (Picnic) and will run (Crunchy) with their kids. It gives me a boost (Boost) when you bubble (Bubbly) with laughter. You’re a dream (Dream) Dad and a smarty (Smarties). We love you to Mars (Mars Bar) and back. Take some time out (Time Out) to enjoy these chocolates. The time is ripe (Cherry Ripe) for some extra (Extra chewing gum) love from …. (Children’s names.)

Just black out the letters you don’t need or add an extra letter or two to the end of the word as needed.

Here are links to our Father’s Day gift ideas from previous years (Just click on the picture):

fathers day tree photoIMG_8502 Father's Day Daddy photo frame fathers day sewing screwdriver flowers fathers day card Father's Day 2011



Fruitimals – a stay at home family night activity for all ages


Building strong family relationships is vital (read why here) and one of the vehicles we use to do this in our family is by having regular family nights. These “nights” are at any time of the day and simply involve spending time together as a family doing something that we enjoy; building memories and strengthening our ties with each other.


One of the activities on our “family fun spot” last week was fruitimals. It is a new one to add to our mega list of 101 stay at home family night ideas and comes from our good friends the Clarks. (Thanks Mrs Clark!)


It’s very simple and great for all ages. All you need is a selection of fruit and veg (plus cheese, nuts and seeds if you have them) and a couple of toothpicks and wooden skewers. Use them to create weird and wonderful animals, patterns and sculptures (fruit + animals = fruitimals) before gobbling them up for a super healthy lunch. Wholesome family fun with the added bonus of being good for them too. A great way to get fussy eaters to eat their veg!


It can be a competition to see who can be the most creative, or have complicated design rules that must be followed (e.g.. must include at least 3 veg, 2 fruit and 3 different colours, be a pattern with at least 3 components, be a sculpture that will support the weight of another fruitimal ….. etc.)


The little people can participate or not as they desire and the hungry ones eat as they go. Limiting toothpicks meant they had to eat one creation before they could make another.


This is the second time we have done this and straight away the kids were asking if we can do it again. It could even work well for a kid’s birthday party activity with a few treat items thrown in to make it party food.



Family night ideas – Family fun spot


Depending on your personality, it can be easy to become too focussed on the mountain of tasks that surround us as Mothers (especially when you are homeschooling many children) to the detriment of our relationships with those children. With 6 children and a newborn in our house, life can get busy and with night feeds keeping me slightly sleep deprived it is easy to let all the fun leach out of life. Relationships take the back seat and jobs take priority.

In order to keep this somewhat in check we endeavour to keep our family “nights” going. Too often though we don’t get around to arranging anything and fall back on the old standby of movie nights. Despite having a very long list of ideas, I just wasn’t getting around to planning any of them. Introducing a family fun spot has addressed this issue for us. It gives us a place to write our family activities and keeps us accountable to actually getting around to doing some of them!

So how does it work?

The children write ideas of things they would like to do in a suggestions spot and Mummy and Daddy transfer appropriate ones onto the “coming soon” space on our whiteboard (adding our own as well) until we are ready to do them. We then transfer a couple at a time to the “fun spot” when we know they will be slotted in sometime in the very near future. We avoid giving a specific time as to when they will happen as a newborn can be unpredictable and we don’t want to make plans that keep needing to be changed and disappointing and frustrating the children. We simply wait for a good opportunity and announce the event as we are ready to go ahead. Once we have been there, done that, the idea is erased and a new one added in its place.

It gives the children something to look forward to with anticipation – a little sparkle in their day. It keeps them in front of me too so I can’t forget and am forced to plan the upcoming events – the children are very quick to point it out if there is nothing written in the family fun spot! The added bonus is that we do some of these type of things as part of our everyday life anyway and our children have it so good that they take them for granted, barely noticing the fun stuff that we do with and for them. Writing activities we were just going to do “because” on the family fun spot helps them to notice the good things we are already doing.

For more info on family nights (the why’s and a great list of ideas) see this post.