Preparing Kid’s Activities

My sister and her girls were coming over for the day (as they often do). M and M spent hours preparing activities for their cousins to enjoy. I wonder where they get that lesson planning spirit.

As I watched them working so hard setting up, I felt a little tug of worry. What if the girls weren’t interested? What if all this effort goes unnoticed? After all, I know how it feels to be so excited about an activity only to have it completely ignored. (Have you been there?)

Have you spent time preparing kids activities just to have them ignored? You need to read this one before planning the next one!

Wanting to prepare them for the disappointment that might follow I started in with the warnings. “They may have other ideas of what they want to do.” “What happens if she wants to use markers instead of crayons?” “You’ve set this up so nicely in your room, but what if the girls want to go straight out back?”

Each question was met with a playful smile. Then Little M hit me with an answer that relieved my worry (and forced me to grab my notebook). “We know Mom, but we are having fun NOW!”

Wow, moments like that remind me just how important it is to let kids speak their mind. With that one sentence she switched my train of thought. Sure those things I was worried about might happen. They might plan an activity that elicits zero excitement… and so might I… and so might you.

Instead of continuing with my annoying questions, I started writing (and left them to have fun in peace).

Have you spent time preparing kids activities just to have them ignored? You need to read this one before planning the next one!

Preparing a Kid’s Activity (What Every Parent Needs to Know)

  1. Only put as much time into the prep as YOU want to. If you enjoy the set up it will sting a lot less if the kids don’t flock to it. On a similar note, cater activities to yourself as well as the kids. If you love to be outside, plan the kid’s activities on the back table. If you love music try to incorporate it into the plan. Yes it’s best to offer activities that revolve around the kid’s interests, but that doesn’t mean you can’t fit YOU in there too.
  2. Be flexible. If only one portion of the activity works out like you planned… so what. It likely inspired a kid lead activity! Plus if you let the kids adjust the activity to fit THEM they are more likely to grab on and dig in.
  3. Try again. If an activity doesn’t get rave reviews after nap time, try it first thing in the morning. If a game you set up is ignored at the creative table, move it out back or onto the floor.
  4. Put it away. Maybe you just flat out missed the mark. This activity isn’t going to happen. Maybe it’s the time of year, maybe it’s the age of your kids, maybe it just wasn’t a great activity. Put it away and let it go.

Have you spent time preparing kids activities just to have them ignored? You need to read this one before planning the next one!

What tips do you have for preparing kid’s activities… when you know they won’t all be a great success?


  1. This is great! I always try to remember that whatever activity I plan might turn into something different, or what I get excited about, my kids might not be interested in at all. I love these suggestions!

  2. Excellent tips! I really like how you remind parents to incorporate what they love into the activity — I think that’s so important whether it’s a created-at-home activity or just a board game. The kids can always tell when you’re engaged and having fun. As they get older, I also ask my kids how an activity could be more fun for them so I know that as I prepare the next one.

  3. Wow…this post was just what I needed heading into a week full of carefully planned kids activities at home and at work! Such a good reminder to focus on the joy planning these activities brings to us as moms, teachers (and in my case as an OT) and to remember to pull the plug when something clearly isn’t working! :). Thank you! We’ll be sharing this post with our Twitter followers (@inspiredtree) and Facebook followers (The Inspired Treehouse)!

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