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If your family life is like mine, youre strapped for time. Are your kids craving fun time with you, but you arent sure what to do? Does it seem like the only time you spend with them is driving around, waiting for scheduled activities to start or putting them to bed? Life with kids is busy. As much as wed like to make memories with our kids, its hard to find a couple of hours that arent filled with schoolwork, sports or other obligations. But heres a secret you dont need hours. You can turn time thats normally idle into a fun activityan adventure! This eBook will help you fit kid fun into the nooks and crannies of your dayall in 15 minutes or less. And yes, you can find 15 minutes. Well show you how. Print this eBook out, grab a pen and circle the activities you think your kids will love. Next time you find yourself idle with the kids, youll know what to do.

Michael Stelzner Dad and founder of My Kids Adventures P.S. On the following pages youll find creative new activities along with some classics that you can use to make memories with your kids (or grandkids) in less than 15 minutes. P.P.S. These ideas are from the amazingly talented writers and editors of My Kids Adventures. Be sure to check out their bios on the last page.

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How to Make Your Adventures Stick


Congratulations! Youve taken the first step. You realized that you need to spend more time with your kids and youre looking for ways to bring fun to your family. If you make a few changes nowand do them consistentlyit will have a big impact on your relationship with your kids for years to come. Before you dive into the activities and adventures, take a minute to review these tips that will help you succeed: Know your kids best times. Observe and learn each of your childrens patterns. When are they most energetic, grumpy or talkative? Some kids like to talk in the car on the way home from school, others open up at bedtime and still others warm up to discussions over the dinner table. And they may all be in the same family! Figure out your kids and pursue adventures at the times theyll be most receptive. Commit to adventure time on your schedule. Most of us have heard about SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely). Include some dedicated fun time with your kids as one of yours. Add a weekly adventure to your to-do list right now. Set an alert. Each Thursday after work (or whenever works best for you), youll see a reminder saying, Did you get 15 minutes in with the kids this week? Make sure you can answer Yes. Talk with them, not at them. The next time youre with your kids, make a conscious effort to listen to the way you phrase things. Do you switch off your polite, public voice as soon as youre alone with family, spouting things like, You have to or Go do? (Our hands are guiltily raised!) Try to not be so bossy. You get to are three magic words that give kids some ownership of the task (or the adventure) and set the stage for fun, happy times. Choose to put them first. We have a million things competing for our limited time, even our down time. Remind yourself to choose time with your kids rather than things that are less important in the long run. Use a physical remindera sticky note on the TV remote, a popup on your computer, a picture of your kids as the wallpaper on your phoneto say Hey, is doing this more important than doing something with them right now?

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Now get out there and have an adventure together! Youll find ideas on the following pages.

Car Activities
As parents, it sometimes seems that we spend more time in the car than anywhere else. The good news is that those short trips to school, practice or the store are a great time to connect with your kids. In the car, youve got a captive audience, its relatively quiet and the view outside is constantly changing, which can be great for games. Next time you turn the key, be sure to turn off the electronics and connect with your kids during the drive. Here are some ideas for connecting with kids in the car in 15 minutes:

Classic Car Games


Alphabet: Find the letters A-Zin orderon signs, stores, license plates and other things outside the car before you reach your destination. Starts With: Pick a letter in the alphabet. Now spot as many things starting with that letter as you can during your drive. A variation of this game involves naming all of the animals or clothing items (or anything else you can think of) that start with that letter. Penny for a Pony: Select something you know youll see on your drive (ponies, mailboxes, etc.) and find as many as you can. Award a penny for each one spotted. A variation includes finding as many things of a chosen color or shape as you can during the drive. License Plate Game: Keep a list of states or provinces in your car and mark off new ones you see each time youre in the car. When youve found them all, celebrate! Spot the Car: Keep on the lookout for a car that is the same as the one you are driving and be the first one in the car to spot it. An alternative includes looking for a classic car like a VW Beetle. Compliments Game: Say 5 to 10 nice things about each person in the car.

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Whats the Song?: Sing (or hum) just a few notes and everyone tries to guess the song. Add more notes or lyrics if theyre stumped. Alternatively you can switch the radio on and off quickly or change stations. I Spy: Choose something you can see and say I spy with my little eye something... You can say a color, shape or some other defining characteristic. Other players try to guess what youre looking at by asking yes/no questions. 20 Questions: Think of a person, place or thing and tell the other players which of those 3 categories its in. They can ask up to 20 questions to come up with the correct answer. All of the questions must have yes/no answers. As a variation, you could have an unlimited number of questions.

The Car Jar


Keep a jar of talking topics in the car. These can be anything! Include a mix of topics that are fun and imaginative, such as the ones in the boxes below. Print out this PDF for a list of topics to get you started. Next time you run out of things to say in the car, reach for the jar instead of the dial on the phone, radio or DVD player. If you could have any superheros power, which would you choose and why? What are you thankful for? If you could be present at one historical event, what would it be and why? Name 5 things you love about the people in the car. What types of plants do you see outside? Make a rhyme using someones name in the car. If you were a monkey, what would you do? If you could meet any person (living or from the past), who would it be and why? What are the biggest and smallest things you see outside the car? What do you want to be when you grow up and why? If you could be invisible, what would you do and where would you go? If you were a millionaire, what would you do?

Where do you think that family in the car in front of (or behind) us is going? Tell a joke.

If you could snap your fingers and be anywhere right now, where would you go? Make your favorite animal sound.

If you were a shoe, where would you go?

If you could create a video game, what would it be?

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Make your own in these spots.

While-You-Wait Activities
A lot of time with kids is spent waiting aroundfor practice to end, for the doors to open, in line
Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or a No or waiting for their hair to grow. Everyone is just waiting. Oh The Places Youll Go, Dr. Seuss

Rather than standing around bored or yakking on the phone while your kids try not to squirm, use your wait time to do something fun together. Turn wait time into a chance to connect with your kids.

Classic While-You-Wait Activities


Simon Says: In this classic, you say something like Simon says touch your head and everyone else must do the activity. Occasionally say something without saying Simon says and see if you can trick your kids into doing it. Cloud Shapes: Look up at the sky and find shapes in the clouds. Its very relaxing. Try to get your child to find the shapes you see. Think outside the box by saying things like I see your grandpas mustache or I see a rabbit holding a carrot. Tale of Three Things: Have your kids choose three things to include in a story one for the beginning, one for the middle and one for the end. Then tell a short story that incorporates those three things in that order, using only a sentence for each thing. The sillier the story, the better!

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Body Sculpture: One person is the sculpture. The others are the sculptors. Move your sculpture in different silly ways. The sculpture has to freeze in whatever position he or she is molded into. You can also have two sculptures that the sculptors make interact. This game usually ends when someone is laughing too hard to be a good sculpture.

Can You Do It? Cootie Catcher


When you have a short time between events, this game makes the minutes pass by. A cootie catcher (also known as an origami fortune teller) is a fun game filled with silly challenges. Heres what youll need to do: Step 1: Decide on your funny challenges. Here are a few ideas to get you started: Pretend to (ride a horse, play soccer, look through binoculars) Make the sound of (a donkey, a truck, a giraffe) Touch your (elbow, knee, foot) to your (nose, stomach, behind) Spin around XX times while (whistling, clapping your hands) Impersonate (a family member, a famous actor) Act like you live in (France, a cave, a glass house) Have others guess what you are. You are (a snail, a kite, the wind) Have others guess this song as you whistle (Happy Birthday, Mary Had a Little Lamb, God Bless America)

Step 2: Print out the template for a cootie catcher and add your challenges. Here is a good template for PowerPoint: http://downloadablecootiecatchers.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/blank-template1.ppt

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Watch this video to learn how to fold a cootie catcher: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHT3N-pXVTY Step 3: Play the game. Heres how: one person asks another to first pick a color among the four choices. Based on the number of letters in the color, the cootie is opened and closed that many times. Then a number is selected among the choices shown. Depending on the number selected, the cootie is opened and closed that many times (or you can spell out the letters in the word). Finally a number is selected and the action is revealed.

Watch this video to learn how to play: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMCh1esQO_4

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Learn Something New Together


While waiting at restaurants or for sports practice to end, fire up the GeoQuiz app (available on Android and iOS). It features different quizzes about different areas of the world, mountain ranges, oceans and so on. The key is to do it together. Dont just hand your phone over for your kids to do alone; keep the phone and ask them the questions prompted by GeoQuiz aloud. Youll be surprised as your knowledge of geography expands right along with your kids. Youll learn about places like the Marianas trench and the Gobi desert. Your children will be eager to look up more facts about places they discovered with the quiz.

Heres a screenshot from the GeoQuiz app.

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Chores With Your Children Activities


Its unavoidable: cleaning, laundry, yardwork All of the chores we have to do to maintain a household take away precious time that wed rather spend having fun with our kids. The solution? Turn the chores themselves into a family adventure. Here are some ideas that will make housework a bit more enjoyable. An added bonus: getting your kids involved is a great way to teach them responsibility and selfsufficiency. Resist the urge to do it all yourself because its faster or yields more perfect results. Instead, get your kids involved in chore-time fun. Here are some ideas for connecting with kids while cooking and cleaning: Race the clock: Get kids moving by turning their tasks into a competition. Set a timer for 15 minutes and race to correctly complete a job on time. Laundry race: Pull out all of those socks and such. Have your kids split them up. Then race to see who can fold and put them where they go the fastest. Story chores: Ever read the books about Mrs. Piggle Wiggle? She always told elaborate and exciting tales that led kids to clean up or change bad habits without realizing it. Make up your own silly stories to ease your chore challengesmaybe you need to hurry and put away anything valuable before pirates come to steal it all. Dance the dust away: Play some upbeat music, grab a duster and sing and dance your way through the room until its clean. Hoop Dreams: Set a free-throw line and shoot dirty clothes into the lights or darks baskets.

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Non-Tech Activities
For all its benefits, technology is one of the biggest deterrents to family fun. How many times have you sat down to check email, find some recipes on Pinterest or make a couple of quick calls, only to discover an hour or more has passed and its already your kids bedtime? Its easy to get lost behind a screen and just as easy to pass these bad habits on to our kids. Have you ever popped in a movie to keep the kids occupied while you get something done? Finding 15 minutes to spend with your kids is as easy as pressing a buttonthe Off button. Take time back for your kids by turning technology off for awhile. Here are some ideas for fun ways to connect with kids, unplugged.

Build a House of Cards


Grab two decks of playing cards. Build a house of cards with them. Then make a triangular paper football, flick it and try to knock down the house of cards.

Watch this video to learn how to make a paper football: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTIwzFuczxw

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Play Hide and Seekin the Dark


Play a classic game of hide and seek with a twist: you play it in the dark! Give whoever is It a flashlight and turn off all the lights. It has to try to spotlight the hiders. Unlike traditional hide and seek, the hiders can move around, making it similar to Marco Polo. Its fun to see which shadows you can hide in, often in places that would otherwise be obvious. Depending on where you live, you could play this game outside or inside (or both). You can also play a variation by using the night vision setting on your camera.

Heres a fun video of kids playing this game: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMikSZrSHXY

The Dictionary Game


Pick an odd-sounding word out of the dictionary. Write down the actual definition and have children write down their own possible definitions. Mix up all of the definitions, then read them off in random order. See if your kids can guess the real definition. If you want to score it, give each child a point if someone guesses their definition and two points if they guess the right definition. The person who reaches a set number of points wins!

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Bedtime Activities
Bedtime is one of those times of day when your children can spend special time with you. Take advantage of this window of opportunity to connect with your kids. Getting them to bed, however, can sometimes be a struggle! When its time to turn in, remember that theyre never too big to be tucked in. Spend some time saying goodnight and sharing quality time together. Here are some ideas to make your kids hop into their jammies and leap into bed for 15 minutes of together time.

Pajama Dance
Get into your jammies. Pick a great song (or try the one below). Dance together in a silly way to the song! Its a fun way to let out a little last-minute energy. Do it together as a family. Consider having themes tooDance like a monkey! Dance like your dad! Dance like your legs are stiff as a board!.

Try this song out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rz2I90hq1Xc

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Create Your Own Make-Believe


Instead of reading a bedtime story, ask your child to make the story. Depending on his or her age, you can help by providing a character (Elmo, Santa Claus, Jack Frost), a place (forest, beach, desert) and a quest (trying to ride an airplane, rescuing the captured princess, discovering lost treasure). By working together, a funny and unusual story typically comes out of the exchange. If your child is super-creative, you may consider recording the story and listening to it again when he or she is older.

Read an Adventure Story


Its obvious and its classic, but we can never be reminded too much: read your children a great story. There are numerous educational and developmental benefits to reading together, but its also a great way to develop your relationship with your kids, especially when you really get into it with character voices and sound effects. The stories you share give you things to talk aboutcharacters to discuss or imagine in various situations and times and places to get lost in, together.

Your Turn
This eBook has merely scratched the surface of fun activities you can do with your kids. Just remember they grow up so quickly. Cherish the moments, create memories, start traditions and watch what happens. If youd like to discover more fun activities you can do with your kids, be sure to visit MyKidsAdventures.com, where we come up with new fun adventures every week.

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eBook Contributors
This book would not have been possible without the creative contributions from the 15 writers, editors and photographers of My Kids Adventures. An extra-special thanks to Kristin Ammerman, Jennifer Ballard, Holly Chessman and Heidi Estrada, who delivered beyond the call of duty for this eBook.

Kristin Ammerman
Kristin is a creative writer, mom and freelance marketing consultant. She lives on a farm and keeps busy with family activities from soccer and scouts to chickens and gardening. Follow her on twitter @KristinImagines.

Jane Aubrey
Crafting ought to be her middle name. For Jane, nothing beats crafting for an easy, relaxing, calm and sociable means of entertaining her children. Check out her projects at funwithjane.co.nz/.

Jennifer Ballard
Jennifer is associate editor for My Kids Adventures, where her experience as cub master, birthday party entrepreneur, marketing writer and mom of two boys all fit together and find relevance. linkedin.com/in/jenballard/

Robin Bermel
Robin socially markets small businesses and serves in various childrens ministries. She especially enjoys goofing off with and feeding her husband and three school-age children. contentineverything.com

Valarie Budayr
Valarie is a childrens book author, publisher and advocate who is committed to instilling the love of reading and play in children. You can connect with her at jumpintoabook.com.

Holly Chessman
When not offering strategic marketing advice or managing sales enablement programs for tech companies, Holly plays music, reads, watches sci-fi (think Doctor Who) and cares for her four children. takemyadviceidontuseit.com/

Heide Estrada
Heide loves to create family memories. When not working, you will find her photographing her children, trying new recipes, planning family trips or browsing Pinterest for her next project. linkedin.com/pub/heide-estrada/76/853/4b9

Christina Kettman
When she is not exploring the Seattle area with her kids, Christina works with small businesses to market their companies online. She also enjoys blogging at marketingstaircase.com.

Lisa Mason
Lisa is mom to five, ages 1 to 14. When shes not running after kids, shes running her businessSocial Media Satisfied. She writes about parenting at parentingfive.com.

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Cas McCullough
Entrepreneur and mum of three wired-in boys, Cas lives in Brisbane, Australia. She writes about her parenting and family adventures on mumatopia.com.au and her entrepreneurial adventures on casmccullough.com.

Deb Ng
Deb is a busy work-at-home mom with an 11-year-old son. When shes not off having her own family adventures, shes writing books and growing online communities. twitter.com/debng

Sarah Shipley
Sarah is a homeschooling mom of four girls, part-time employee and runs an urban farm. When shes not milking goats or preparing school lessons, Sarah enjoys creative writing. sarahtshipley.blogspot.com/

Michael Stelzner
Michael is a busy dad of three girls and the founder of My Kids Adventures. He also founded Social Media Examiner and authored the books, Launch and Writing White Papers.

Ron Vitale
Ron is the author of the Cinderellas Secret Diaries young-adult fantasy series for teens, and director of electronic communications at Temple University. ronvitale.com/

Bethany Winston
Bethany is a mom, blogger and Greenville News columnist. She enjoys helping families find that next great adventure through her two blogs, No Twiddle Twaddle and Kidding Around Greenville.

The best inheritance a parent can give his children is a few minutes of his time each day. -O.A. Battista

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