Individual Handshakes

Some simple hand action can go a long way to help your kids feel loved! 

I struggle sometimes with lumping my kids all together in our experiences. It can be hard to maintain those important individual relationships with lots of kids! When I saw this video of Barry White, Jr. welcoming his students to class with an individualized handshake, I knew I had to try it!

So. Much. Fun. Be amazing today and create a secret handshake with each of your kiddos. You could start by showing them these handshakes to get their ideas going!

The cool Baymax fist bump from Big Hero 6 here.

The cloud guy handshakes from Trolls here.

Then, let THEM develop a fun handshake you can use together in greeting, goodbyes, or when your kid needs a smile.

*Hint* Most kids will want this handshake to be home use only, so don’t pull out your moves at the school carnival or as you drop your child off at a birthday party unless they initiate it. (It may just come up with their therapist 10 years later.)

Have fun!

Clapping Games

All you need are your hands and a little memory!

Most of us have used Patty Cake with babies, but much older kids can also enjoy the more complicated songs. Some of these songs have been around for hundreds of years, and others are recent nonsense fun.

Teach your kids a clapping game, and be amazing today!

This site has videos of some favorites.

This site has some great new clapping songs. We are so totally learning Four White Horses from her list. It’s an old Caribbean song with lyrics that make no sense, but I love the clapping pattern.

Four white horses on the river,
aye, aye, aye, up tomorrow,
up tomorrow is a rainy day.
Come and join our shadow play.
Shadow play is a ripe banana,
aye, aye, aye, up tomorrow,
up tomorrow is a rainy day.

While you are clapping away, try making up individual handshakes with each child. See the post here.

Have fun!

Music Critic’s Club

Bossy or a pushover? It seems like kids fall into one camp or the other. One of the most important skills of childhood is learning to express thoughts and feelings openly and appropriately. Enter the Music Critic’s Club! Kids will just think they are having fun, but they are also learning a great skill: to have an opinion and to accept other’s opinions.

Put together a varied collection of songs on CD’s, old records, or playlists. Don’t forget some tunes from when you were young! Give kids paper and write down numbers 1-10. Play a bit of each song and let them rate it, expressing reasons for their rating. Pre-teach kids to accept each other’s opinions, even if their brother gives their favorite song a 1! This is good training for opinionated parents, too! Practice validating your kiddo’s response instead of trying to convince him that Milli Vanilli deserves a solid 10, controversy notwithstanding.

If you are being amazing on the go, turn to different radio stations and rate from whatever is playing.

Have fun with your little music critics!


Have fun with

Spy Cookie Capers

My husband is masterful at inventing creative dates. Before we were married, he once told me to be dressed all in black when he picked me up. We went to his apartment, made cookies, donned black knit caps, and went out on “capers” as he called them. In the cover of the dark night, we found our professor’s houses. We rang the doorbell, left cookies, and ran. It’s how I’d imagine Pollyanna doorbell ditching if she ever did such a thing. I thought the date was fun, and knew he was a keeper.

Try it with your family tonight! Sneaking around corners like a spy is part of the excitement, so don’t forget to dress in black and get into character! (Just don’t act too suspicious. You don’t want to create fond family memories of jail time!)

Playdough Pictionary

I love Playdough Pictionary! Use regular Pictionary cards or simply write 5 words on scrap paper. Divide family into teams. Pick a card, show to one person on the other side, then try to sculpt out your word for your team to guess before the other team. (If you write your own words, the word-maker may need to sit out). Have fun!


Whole Family/Under 10 minutes/

How we love to play Sardines! Grab flashlights for the weak-hearted, turn off the lights, and have a great time before bed with this reverse game of hide and seek. We had a great time playing tonight, except for our spoiler kitties. They kept stalking the hiders and alerting everyone to where they were!

  1. One person hides, while others count to 30 in another room with the door closed.
  2. When you find the hider, quietly join them!
  3. Once everyone is packed…like a sardine…into one hiding spot, repeat with another hider.


Girls Name/Boys Name

10 minutes/Elementary and up/


This is a family favorite! Pass papers around and watch as a twisted story unfolds.

Hand out paper and pens

Write down the following parts of the story, folding the paper over the previous line, so that no one sees what has already been written. Pass to the next person. 20170105_102059

A girl’s name (any female, real or fictional, known by everyone in the room)

A boys’s name (any male, real or fictional, known by everyone in the room)

Where they were (Wal-Mart, Disneyland, the backyard…)

What they were doing (Making bracelets, shining their shoes, making sushi…)

What she said (“You look like you’ve had a bad day.” “This girl is on fire!” etc.)

What he said (“I caught you a delicious bass.” “You have big ears.” etc.)

What the result was (They bought a motor home and toured the West. They  launched a new line of lipstick. etc.)

Pass the papers once more.

Read one at a time, adding phrases to connect the story. “She said…” “The final result was…” Enjoy the story!



Why? Because!

5 minutes
Elementary and up
Paper and pens

This easy activity always brings giggles, especially right before bed when everything is silly.

Cut small papers that cut be seen through

Sit in a circle

On one side, each person writes any WHY question.
(Why is the sky blue? Why do Dad’s feet smell? Why do they say “Eh” in Canada?)


They turn over their paper and pass it to the next person.

That person writes any BECAUSE answer. It can answer the WHY they wrote, or be random.
(Because of global warming. Because someone let the dog out. Because sugar makes you hyper.)


Go around the circle and read the questions and their crazy, and sometimes very funny, answers.



Magazine Mash-up

20 minutes
Elementary and up

What do you get when Yoga Magazine meets Sports Illustrated…with the help of some scissors and creative kids? Magazine Mash-up! Have fun swapping heads and bodies in magazine pages or newspaper ads. This can be done in as little as 10 minutes, but mine spent at least 45 minutes laughing over this project!