Coming home at the end of the day to a house full of excited kids can be tough.
You want to rest; they want to play. You want to sit down; they want to jump up (and up and up!). You want to just hang out on the smartphone; they want to hang from the chandelier. But, as we’ve said before, it’s important to know that at the end of the day, we all should connect as a family, even when you come home exhausted.
Here are five low energy activities to do with kids when you’re exhausted and your kids just want to play.
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The key is to remember that all of these activities can be done while you are lying on the ground! Because, when you come home exhausted, that’s exactly what we want to do…
5 Low Energy Activities with Kids
A week ago I was so exhausted I was nodding off on the couch. My daughter gently poked my arm and asked to play. With one eye open, I asked what game? When she said “Go Fish!” I thought, “Yeah, I could do this.” And I did, and it was a blast. She got the deck of cards as I slid down to the ground. Then we played two rounds of Go Fish! before she decided she had her fill of Daddy and ran off to play. We enjoyed the quick connection and that was it. Go Fish isn’t the only game you can play. With younger kids, try a game like memory or you can my our DIY version of memory here. (However, our kids currently love our memory game with birds!)
By off-road, I mean on my back. Have you seen these shirts? Pull one of these on, grab the box of cars and lay down for a rest. You can rest, they can play, and you can connect with your kids by providing encouragement and offering commentary on the driving. This activity is definitely good for 15 minutes with my son every time.
My daughter loves dramatic play. When she doesn’t want to be a dancer or scientist when she grows up, she wants to be a doctor. Often when I’m looking for a bit of rest while the kids want to play, I feign an injury. “Ouch! My left knee hurts. Doctor, would you look at it?” Once I say that, my daughter is off and running to get the doctor kit (like this one). Over the next 15 minutes, different parts of my body suddenly feel a bit sore and I suddenly feel a bit more rested.
Sometimes when I can barely move and my kids are running around like crazy, I just start building. Now, as Katie (aka Happily Ever Mom) will tell anyone, sometimes I play more with toys than my kids. Personally, I really like to build with blocks (Who doesn’t!?!?). I sit down with our unit blocks and start to build something. Inevitably a kid will join saying something like, “What are you building, Dad?” I always say, “Not sure yet. What do you think we should do next.” It often turns into a castle or a ramp for cars, but every now and then we’ll build something really unique.
And, lastly, when all else fails, draw. We have a drawer full of different types of pens, and we don’t pull them all out at once. Having some special pens that you can pull out makes it even more enticing for the kids. The key here isn’t just to get your kids to draw, but to draw WITH them. My kids like to take turns with me. They will draw something then give me the paper. I’ll add something and pass it back. It’s always fun to see where the creativity will go.
Tip: Grab an old tee-shirt and let kids draw on YOU! You’ll get to lie down to rest and kids will LOVE getting to draw in such a fun way.
I have to remind myself that playing with the kids doesn’t always mean that I need to stand up, go outside, and run around, even if it seems like that’s all the kids want to do.
Instead, I try to put myself first by resting when I first get home from work while still playing with my kids. It’s the ultimate win/win.