One of the most important, and often overlooked component of raising a child is encouraging them to have a hobby. A hobby can serve many purposes. It can mentally and/or physically engage a growing child, it can be a fun way to pass time, and it might even end up being a profitable career in future. Having a hands-on hobby is important for a growing child, especially if they end up enjoying it as a fun activity. Here are five relatively affordable hands-on hobbies that you can introduce your child to.
If you have some gardening space in your home, then this is one of the best hobbies to introduce your children to. As an outdoors activity, gardening can provide your children with valuable exercise time. Having them interact with soil, plants, and insects during gardening also helps improve their immune system as they come into contact with microbes. It also instills in them an appreciation for nature, which is a great trait. And if your garden includes vegetables, fruits, and other food items, then you can teach your children the valuable skill of being able to grow one’s own food while saving money. Gardening is also a very affordable hobby to involve your children with. It’s almost free.
Everyone loves baked goodies, that is one of the fundamental human truths. It is not difficult to motivate your children to take up baking as a hobby since the rewards of baking can be enjoyed after every baking session. Baking is a fun hobby that will give you valuable bonding time with your children. It is also relatively inexpensive and can save you some money as you won’t have to purchase your baked goods from commercial establishments. As an additional benefit, baking can teach your children a marketable skill that they can benefit from financially once they become adults. The baking experience can also be educational as they learn about portions, ingredients, discipline, and even patience.
Drawing is another hand-on hobby that you can introduce your children to. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to start them off with expensive art supplies. All you need is a plain drawing book and a few pencils to introduce drawing to your children. As a hobby, drawing will encourage your child’s creativity and will teach them to express themselves through art. This will help to intellectually stimulate your children as they grow. Encouraging your children to engage in art will also improve their observational capacity as they will be more aware of the environment that they interact with.
Depending on the martial arts trainers within your location, there are numerous martial arts disciplines to choose from. Martial arts are an attractive hobby for your children since they are already inherently ‘cool’, especially if your child enjoys action movies. Martial arts will engage your child physically, improving their overall physical health and stamina. With a good trainer, martial arts will also instill the element of discipline in your child. And this will serve them well as they grow up. An additional benefit is that they will learn useful self-defense skills.
It is important to engage your child in at list one hands-on hobby. It gives you an opportunity to bond with them and most of them will give them important life skills that they can enjoy throughout their lives.
The most effective way of teaching children ‘boring’ concepts is through play. While engineering concepts would not engage your child’s fickle attention spans, there are numerous engineering toys that would teach these skills ‘covertly’ as your young ones have fun. Simple skills such as problem-solving, cooperating with their playmates, increased motor skills, and persistence will create a valuable foundation for your child if they choose to enter the competitive engineering field. Even if your children do not choose to become professional engineers as adults, these skills can still be applied in many professional fields. Here are some of the best engineering toys currently available.
As of 2016, LEGO became the largest and most profitable toy company in the world. These educational toys have been very effective in teaching young children (and adults) the basic concepts of engineering skills. The beauty of giving your child a Lego set is that it stimulates their imagination. There is no limit to the creations that one can form using Lego bricks. Lego has also partnered with popular children entertainment franchises such as star wars, Marvel, DC comics, and Disney to create Lego sets that appeal to children. You will also find that, unlike other toys, children rarely outgrow their Lego sets. They can still be enjoyed as they grow up and become teens and beyond.
K’Nex 100 Model building set
The K’nex model building set is specifically made to increase your child’s engineering literacy. The standard set has more than 850 pieces and contains a manual that shows them how to build more than 100 different models ranging from towers, cars, and helicopters. It differs from LEGO in that you can create models with moving parts. Your children will enjoy the sense of accomplishment that comes from being able to replicate the models in their manuals on their own.
One of the largest toymakers in the world, Mattel, has embraced technology with the development of their new educational toy, Bloxels. Bloxels come with a board where you children can manually create video game levels by hand, before scanning them with their smartphones where they are converted into a video game format which they can play. Bloxels allow your children to exercise their imagination while teaching them the basic concepts of video game design. In a technology driven economy, it is never too early to familiarize your children with game development. They might even end up making a very lucrative career out of it.
While most building block toys use square and rectangular building blocks, wedgit includes different shaped building blocks to further engage your child’s imagination. Wedgits will not only teach your children the basics of construction, they will also learn about angles and balance, which are all useful concepts that will help them in their future engineering endeavors. Wedgit provides a manual that has some models that your children could attempt to re-create, or you can leave them to exercise their creativity by coming up with their own creations. There are numerous wedgit sets to choose from with different difficulty levels for different age groups.
Most of these toys are reasonably priced and will work towards instilling valuable engineering concepts that they can apply in their future careers.
If you live in a place such as Coconut Creek, your kids are most likely heading back to school. While we’re sure many parents are elated their children will be back in full swing, others might be feeling a little blue. In fact, some cases parents experience some anxiety as there are extra expenses during this time of year. If that’s your feeling, we are here to help make things better by offering some school shopping penny savers for you to consider.
The Dollar Store is the Bomb Dot Com!
When you’re working on a tight budget, school season can be a bit of a strain. However, making a pitstop at the Dollar Store can save you a ton. You can find school supplies and a plethora of other items that can quickly fill up a book bag in no time.
Get Thrifty with Your School Shopping
Another great place to pick up school clothing can be done by checking out thrift stores and venues such as TJ Maxx or Marshalls. Regardless of the season, many of these places have some trendy and vintage items that kids just love. In addition to finding school clothing another excellent place to find deals would be on Facebook’s Marketplace and Apps such as Letgo.
Besides the apps and the latest shopping spots through social media, Craigslist is another resource for picking up pre-owned items such as desks and office furniture. Be sure to visit the FREE section as many South Floridians are commuters and place give-a-ways to whoever is interested. This is an excellent way to save big bucks, especially if you’re handy and like to restore things like book shelves.
The Big ‘A’ Has More Free Items Than You Know
Other than the screaming deals you find on CL, Amazon is one of the best places to shop. Type into the search bar FREE and see what pops up. Frequently you can score books and software at a deep discount. There’s even a chance to get them for $0!
End Caps Offer Big Savings Too!
On top of finding some cool stuff on the big A, shop for snacks and food items at Aldi or Target. Be sure to look at the end caps as these are generally where they put the best buys in the house.
Lastly, we understand being on a budget is a must in many cases. However, by using some creativity while you shop, you can stay within your means. Keep in mind; these are just a few tips we hope you can use to make the year easier.
We’d like to hear your suggestions on how you saved a few bucks this year. Drop us a line or visit our Facebook Fan Page.
Call to plan your next event with The Wow Factory! (954) 380-8600
I bet if you had a discussion with your grandparents about getting your child a cell phone, they would look at you with concern. We have to remind Grandma and Pa that it’s common for kids to have a mobile device these days. While they look at you with four eyes, you could potentially explain to them why it’s a good idea in the first place. However, you might agree there need to be some parameters. We’ll give you some ammunition or friendly fire responses for anyone who thinks your kids don’t need a phone.
1.) A kid with a phone is more likely to be well mannered and follow the rules you set up for them. Boundaries seem to be easier, and kids do respond to communication by way of a cell.
2.) A mobile phone is a great tool to use as leverage. People become attached to cell phones almost immediately. When parents reward or take away privileges, using a mobile phone as a tool, it can be most effective.
3.) Caution with GPS tracking. Almost every phone has a GPS system installed. Don’t forget to disarm this unless you specifically want to know where your child is at all times. In that case, remember to scrub the phone and have a high-security system to block hackers.
4.) Another good reply would be “We love sharing selfies, and my kid is the most beautiful thing on Earth. I just can’t get enough!” (watch the look on their faces just for fun)
5.) Many parents create Screen Time and prevent the lucky son or daughter with parameters of when, where, how and why they use their devices. It might sound trendy, but, it works!
6.) Set a safety procedure such as agreeing they won’t give out their cell number without asking permission first.
While these are a few quick tips for you to consider, they also make having a conversation with others more viable. Kids need to communicate with parents all the time. Today’s technology provides a way to be in constant contact. Who can’t agree?
Contact us for booking your next group event. (cell phones optional;0)
Call to plan your next event with The Wow Factory! (954) 380-8600
Your kid might not be the type that enjoys football, soccer, swimming, or basketball. But, these are not the only sports kids can play. The following sports are uncommon, but they are fun and demand the same physical agility as the common sports. One of them might motivate your kids to play and love sports and other outdoor activities.
Your kid needs not to be fast or physically fit to enjoy bowling. The sport improves fine motor skills, coordination, and balance. As a non-aggressive sport, injury risks are very small. However, first timers can get strained muscles. The handicapped scoring system guarantees participation from all players. Bowling centers are located all over the country and kids as young as three years can participate.
The popularity of television shows such as Arrow, Game of Thrones, and The Hunger Games have made the young generation take an interest in archery. It is a sport for kids who enjoy lone activities. Archery requires focus, concentration, patience, and persistence. Archery is best enjoyed indoors, but can also be taken outdoors in a golf course-like type of play. Typically, it is convenient for kids older than 10. But due to the popularity, archery clubs are training younger kids.
If a bouncy castle no longer interests your kid, how about signing them up for bossaball. The sport is a combination of volleyball, soccer, and acrobatics, which is played on an inflatable court. Your kid will definitely enjoy the bossa nova music and will bounce their hearts out on the court. Bossaball is for kids eight years and older.
If your kid is the outdoor type, then kayaking is an option. Being out in the water on a hot summer is a welcome idea for kids as young as six years. Paddling a kayak provides a full body work out. Your kid’s physical fitness and flexibility will improve. Kids can paddle single kayaks, or paddle larger kayaks in teams of four.
Unlike field tennis, table tennis does not demand too much physical activity. Nonetheless, it is a serious sport. Concentration, alertness, and eye-hand coordination are put to the ultimate test thereby improving brain function. If your kid picks interest in the game, you can buy an inexpensive table tennis set so that they can enjoy the game at home.
Speed stacking is not for parties only. It is now a recognized sport with dedicated organizations that hold competitions. Speed stacking involves stacking plastic cups in a pre-determined sequence in as little time as possible. Kids as young as two years can participate. It requires planning, quick thinking, and, of course, lots of practice. The game can be enjoyed at home too. All you need to do is to buy a speed stack starter pack and a timer.
Some kids have an imagination that is out of the ordinary, so they like doing uncommon things. So, do not be discouraged that they find sports boring. Let them try these uncommon sports. You never know – they might find bowling or archery very interesting.
Packing lunch for school-going kids is unavoidable, yet very mentally and physically involving. Often, the task involves preparing sandwiches at night or stocking up lunchboxes with leftovers in the morning.
But there is a more effective way of preparing school lunches for your kids. Most of us have extra time to spare on weekends. You can use this time to prepare a week worth of lunch for your kids.
Buy enough containers
To pack a week’s lunch, you need at many containers or snack bags. Remember, you will need to pack these containers in the fridge. Therefore, buy the same type of containers so that you can easily stack them on top of each other. Most parents prefer smaller containers or divided containers as they can easily pack different type of foods. You will want to get the same.
Have a lunch menu plan
You cannot just start packing lunches without a plan. You need to decide what the kid will eat every single day. After deciding, visit the grocery and buy everything you need to prepare the lunches.
As you plan, consider your dinner plans for the week and anticipate leftovers. For instance, if Wednesday’s dinner involves grilled turkey, add extra pieces to put in Thursday’s lunchbox.
Observe a balanced diet
The lunch menu should have a main course, a side dish, fruit or vegetable, and a drink or smoothie. It is important to maintain a balanced diet so your kids can remain healthy.
Meat balls, egg muffins, fish sticks, chicken fingers, lettuce tacos, beef sticks, and sandwiches can serve as the main course. Kids need carbs such as bread, pasta, waffles, noodles, and tortillas. But too much of these foods can lead to obesity. Fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins and other micronutrients.
It will be fun for your kids when they get a creative meal every day, but such a meal plan may dig deep into your wallet.
Some foods don’t last
It is fun just to pick a lunch box from the fridge and toss it in the kid’s backpack. That was the whole idea of packing lunches over the weekend, right? Nonetheless, your kids will not enjoy darkened avocado slices or browned apple pieces. Pack such foods in the morning of the day they appear on your meal plan.
Pack wet foods separately
Maybe your kid’s favorite is a chicken salad sandwich. Prepare and pack it on the weekend, and your kid will eat soggy bread on Thursday. Show your kid how to prepare the sandwich, then pack the bread and chicken salad separately. Similarly, noodle sauces and soups should be packed separately.
Involve the kids
Kids are eager to help in the kitchen. Often, they are ready to do more than they are allowed. Involving them in the lunch preparation process makes them long to take the food because they helped prepare it. Also, you get to know the food they like and the food they tolerate.
Packing a week’s lunch over the weekend reduces the morning rush. Due to the adequate planning, your kids will enjoy a tasty meal with sufficient nutrients. With the necessary ingredients, packing a week’s lunch for one kid will take less than one hour.
Call to plan your next event with The Wow Factory! (954) 380-8600
Do you remember the endless hours of play you used to have as a kid? Do you afford your kid the same time of play?
Back in the day, kids met in some backyard and formed a pretend family. Others played pirates, tried catching butterflies or played football using a soccer ball. But nowadays, parents are so cautious that they supervise all hours of play time. However, psychologists have found that the unstructured, open-ended play is important for brain development.
Structured versus unstructured play
In structured play, there is at least one adult who is the leader, and a set of rules which govern how the game should proceed. Here, we are talking about sports and board games such as checkers.
Unstructured play, on the other hand, is child-directed. The child improvises the rules of the game.
So, structured play has set rules and structure, while in unstructured play kids determine the rules and the purpose of the game.
For example, building an imaginary city using blocks is unstructured play, but following directions to build a part of New York city is structured play.
The importance of unstructured play
Unstructured play promotes healthy brain development in children. These are some of the reasons it is important:
It encourages physical activity
The structured play-time kids get at school only affords them 20-30 minutes of physical activity. However, to maintain a healthy and fit body, kids need at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity. By allowing them unstructured play at home and with other kids in the neighborhood, the 60-minutes mark of physical activity can be reached.
It enhances social skills
During unstructured play, children learn to interact with each other. They collaborate to achieve certain goals, thereby learning teamwork and cooperation, while acquiring friendship skills. When there are disagreements, they practice their self-advocacy skills and learn problem-solving. All these are social skills they will need later in life.
It improves decision making and creativity
In the unstructured play, children must decide the direction the play is going to take. In a group, one of them should make the decision, while considering the input of the others – leadership skills. If the child is playing alone, they have to be very creative so that the game can remain interesting.
Helps identify a child’s interests
Unstructured play has no specific goal. Therefore, the child is under no pressure or stress of failing. So, in this category of play, children engage in activities at their own pace, giving them a chance to discover their interests and passions.
Unstructured does not mean unsupervised
That it is child-led does not mean parents cannot get involved. For safety purposes, parents should supervise, not lead, unstructured play – especially when the kids involved are preschoolers. Let the kids set the direction of the play. All you need to do is to watch from a distance and resist the urge to intervene unnecessarily.
Indeed, unstructured play is important to a child’s development. As many people put it, let a kid be a kid. By denying them unstructured play, you are robbing them of the chance to develop their creativity, social and decision-making skills.
Call to plan your next event with The Wow Factory! (954) 380-8600
We all know what we feed our children is important. Keeping kids away from sugary, high fat, and high cholesterol foods are one of the best ways to combat childhood obesity. It’s easy to do when you are there to guide them, but what about when you are not around? The answer is to teach your kids about nutrition and making good choices. Are they always going to make the best choices? Probably not, they’re kids, but if we model making good food choices and indulge in moderation, we are setting them up for starting good habits.
Physical activity should also be modeled and encouraged. Humans are physical beings, and we all know kids have lots of energy. Physical activity is limited at school and often kids get no recess time. Here are some ways to get the kids active.
Limit Your Kid’s Time on Electronics and TV
Enroll Your Child in Sports or Do some Physical Activity 60-Minutes per day
Teach Your Kids to Love Water and Hydrate
Keep a Strict Sleep Routine
Let the Kids Be FREE to Play
Limiting your child’s time, they spend in front of the television and electronic devices is key to obtaining and maintain weight. What other choice will they have but to actually DO something. Even if they just play with their toys, they are moving and using their imagination.
Next, enroll your kids in an organized sport or take them to an indoor park, etc., each child should exercise at least 60-minutes per day, every day. (The Wow Factory is a great environment for just that)
Water, water, water! Get away from the juices and sugary sports drinks.
Be sure to have a routine down each night before bed. Turn off the television, take away devices and other distractions. Read a book and maybe meditate to bring the mind to rest. Not only will it help your child but you will benefit too!
Last, make sure your kids have stress-free time to play. What does that mean? It’s not always necessary to hound them while they are playing. Let them explore, discover and use their imagination. Give your kids the freedom to express themselves and let them fail. They will learn from these experiences.
While we’re not experts at Childhood Obesity, we’re sure these tips are insightful. In the meantime, be sure to visit the Wow Factory and Wow Alley for some fun physical activity. See you there!
Call to plan your next event with The Wow Factory! (954) 380-8600
While many of today’s parents start planning for the summer break, there’s a few of the summer camp programs that may seem a little under the radar when it comes to keeping kids busy. In cases where the child is enrolled in a summer camp program to substitute for things like child care, it’s imperative the facility incorporates a multitude of activities to keep kids occupied. In this week’s blog, we point out some planning ideas for when they go to their summer camp programs even if it’s at the end of the season.
Summer Camp Means More than Making Key Chains with Beads
When it comes to summer camps the first thing most of us think of is activities such as making ice cream in a bag or beaded keychains. However, there’s a lot more to sign up your child for these annual programs. Besides the fact that your kid will have less chance of becoming bored, it’s also an excellent environment to practice social skills. In fact, it’s good to look toward programs such as sports clinics to teach children ways of practicing their team building skills along with a plethora of others.
Don’t Assume Your Kids Will Eat Healthy While at Summer Camp
Another tip for summer camp is to check the menu if they will be providing lunch or snacks. Since it’s summer vacation for most children, a healthy diet can frequently be overlooked. Be sure to ask the facilitator of the summer camp what types of food will be provided. If the answer is pizza and chicken wings, you may want to pack a lunch or look for a place that offers more nutrition. Health and Safety First.
Safety First Before Drop Off
Safety is another key point to make here. If your kid is included in any camp activities or any other place, be sure to ask the instructors what they are doing to ensure your child’s safety. Don’t assume they have a strategy in place. Be certain there’s protocol when it comes to who or whom can pick up the child. Find out what they do if there’s any emergency, etc. If you don’t ask, you can be sure there will be a certain level of anxiety when you drop the kids off.
Lastly, do your research and find out what type of field trips and off-site activities are planned. If the facility has an outing planned at a place such as an indoor gym or recreation center, be sure you know the rules and regulations of the venue before allowing your child to attend. Better yet, volunteer at these events. Not only will you feel more comfortable, but you’ll also rekindle fond memories of when you were a child. Who knows, you might even get the day off of work!
Call to to plan your next event with The Wow Factory! (954) 380-8600
If there’s one thing, most parents will agree to, they love spending time with their children. In addition to that valuable time, it seems there’s just not enough of it so we all should agree the time spent should be of quality. This week’s blog we focus on date nights with the kids that are both meaningful and a great way to cherish the moments spent together.
Dinner and a movie may seem redundant. But, make it more unique by taking them to an iMax or independent film. Another great way to see movies with kids is to attend indie film events that may help inspire your children more than just entertain. Word of caution, however, be sure to check the ratings as not all flics are meant for young viewers.
Next, plan a day doing photography with your children at a local park or some other visually pleasing location. If you’re not great at taking pictures you can hire a part time photographer from places such as Thumbtack.com to ensure the time spent with your photo session is a good one.
Besides photo opportunities, pick venues that are ideal for the type of child you have. For instance, if you’re planning on a Mommy-Son Date night go to places like an indoor park where there’s plenty of video games or laser tag, and use the same theory for the dads. Reason being is you wouldn’t want to take your son to a fashion show or a daughter to a WWF unless they’re into that type of thing!
Another excellent date night or day with your kids no matter what the gender, visit your local zoo or places like Butterfly World, Seaquarium, etc., Most people love animals no matter who they are and this is an excellent way to build memories together.
Visit a local bookstore and spend a day at home reading. We love this idea as it’s tailored to both parents and children. Barnes and Noble or the library are excellent places to spend a few hours and its educational activity for both.
These are a few beautiful days not only to spend time with your kids, but they’re also memorable and keep the little ones from becoming bored. After all, every parent wants to build on their relationships and one day hopes to hear “I love spending time with my mom and dad.”
Until next time, be sure to stop by the Wow Factory to see what’s new!
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