Bring a Smile to Your Child

Bring a Smile to Your Child





Easy Tips to Chase Away a Bad Day (the kids’ way)

Study after study shows that laughter is perhaps one of the best medicines. Give your kids lots of opportunities to laugh with you with these easy ways to get your kids smiling.

Have you ever just had a bad day? Our kids can have bad days, too, when they might disagree with friends, have challenges at school, or just feel down in the dumps. Sometimes those negative feelings just seem to rub right off onto other family members – but before one pair of crabby pants ruins the whole load, try some easy Blue Busters to help get your kids smiling once again. They don’t require a lot of supplies, but they give back a lot of smiles.

Blues Busters

Drive-In Theatre (with cardboard boxes)

Give the kids cardboard boxes and markers to decorate them, then line them up in the living room and let the kids watch a cartoon, a movie, or even a home video. Each “car” can be adorned with glow sticks curved in circles for headlights. Add in some popcorn and let the fun begin.

Vent Balls or Splat Balls

My children each just received these as random gifts from my parents – and everyone from the youngest to the college freshman think these are hilarious. Throw them on the floor (not at the ceiling as my daughter discovered) and watch them splat and then retake their shapes. These are the kinds of silly toys that just make kids (and adults) smile, and are worth the 99 cents they cost.

Backwards Day

On one very hectic, rather crabby day in my home I needed a way to turn all of the sour faces around. I declared Backwards Day – an instant success. The kids ate dessert first, and ate it under the dining room table. They switched their clothes backwards, wrote their assignments backwards (flexibility of homeschooling, but could be fun for other things around the house), and tried to speak backwards.

Giggle Chain

This one requires at least 3 people to work well, and can work with as many as you can fit on the floor. Everyone lies down on his or her back and places his or her head on the stomach of another, using it as a pillow for the back of the head. The first one in line should be an easy, boisterous laugher. Then let the laughing begin – and just try not to laugh. It really is infectious!

Random Instructions

This is a silly take on “Simon Says” and I usually use this approach when I just need to get one of my kids out of a funk. In a serious tone I might ask him to pick up his shoe. Because he is in a funk he usually doesn’t catch on right away that he’s getting the Random Instruction of the day. Then I start adding on various instructions that make no sense when added together. Raise your left leg. Ring the doorbell. Touch your finger to your ear. Sing We Wish You a Merry Christmas. I just keep adding on things until the giggles take over.

Tactile Trinkets

Some children react better to tactile stimuli and interaction, and really respond well when they get to manipulate, touch, and feel something in order to chase away the blues. Try these easy recipes for gooey fun.

Homemade Play Dough

  • Ingredients: 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of water, ½ cup of salt, 2 Tbsp. Cream of Tartar, 2 Tbsp. oil, food coloring
  • Instructions: Mix ingredients in stovetop pan. Cook until thickened over low heat. Cool, knead, and let your kids explore. It keeps in an airtight container for weeks!

Homemade Pouty Putty (our version of Silly Putty)

  • Ingredients: 2 cups of white glue (stock up on school sales), 1 cup of liquid starch, food coloring (optional)
  • Instructions: Put the glue in an old plastic container (if you are using food coloring, add it now). Pour in the liquid starch slowly, stirring constantly. Keep stirring until it comes together like putty. If it is too sticky you need to add more starch and stir again. It should become a rubbery, stretchy material. Store it in an airtight container.

We are all entitled to those days we wish we could just crawl back under the covers and have a do-over. But in real life, do-overs rarely happen, especially not easily. Sometimes the best things we can do for our kids are just find ways to laugh with them. How do you get your kids to turn their frowns upside down?

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