Fun Family Activities to Try This Weekend

From Parents Magazine

Weekend adventures with your little explorers are right at your fingertips. Try one of these sure-to-please activities for the whole family.

Visit a fire station.

Most local stations will arrange tours for kids, which is an exciting field trip for truck-loving preschoolers and school-age children alike. They'll love checking out the different fire trucks and meeting firefighters.

Root for the home team.

You don't need season tickets to get into local sporting events, such as a minor league baseball game or a town swim meet.

Eat out (way out).

Choose an exotic cuisine that your children haven't tried, such as Thai or Portuguese. Find the country on a globe or a map and read about the nation's culture. Go to the restaurant before the evening rush begins, so your kids can really take in the atmosphere.

Check out the stars.

Buy a star chart to get started. Then choose one spot in your yard with a clear view and venture out to watch how the sky changes from night to night. A little fresh air before bedtime can really help your kids sleep, too.

Plan a treasure hunt.

Hide little dime-store jewels and treasures in the garden. Then draw up a map with directions. (For an ancient look, let some coffee soak into the map to brown it with age; while the paper is wet, rip it around the edges.)

Get cooking.

Kids especially love making pie crusts, biscuits and pizza because they can squish the dough with their fingers. Watching yeasty dough rise and then punching it down is especially entertaining.

Create a dress-up box.

On a rainy day, weed out unwanted dresses, hats, shoes and costume jewelry from your closet. After your kids have picked out all the items they want for their costume box, take the rejects to a thrift shop.

Be a card shark.

Turn off the TV, and teach your child a classic card game, such as gin rummy, hearts or Uno. Adapt the rules for younger kids.

Watch old movies.

Many classic movies are excellent entertainment for kids 3 and up. Some recommendations: "Baby Take a Bow" with Shirley Temple; "Top Hat" with Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire; "Young Tom Edison" with Mickey Rooney; "National Velvet"with Elizabeth Taylor; and anything that stars Laurel and Hardy.

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