If you’re looking for easy and meaningful ways to spend one-on-one time with kids, you’ve come to the right place!
Towards the end of the last school year, I was really struggling to stay afloat. I was frantically working ahead on all of my work projects in preparation for the transition from school to summer camp, and found myself using the iPad as a babysitter more than I was comfortable with. I inevitably felt guilty once bedtime rolled around and realized my daughter and I hadn’t done anything together, and decided to try something different.
I bought a small chalkboard and some chalkboard markers, and each night before I tucked my sweet girl into bed, we decided on an activity to enjoy together the following afternoon, and wrote it on the board. I suppose we could’ve just verbally agreed to the activity, but I found writing it down gave the 2 of us more accountability. I also noticed that having a written reminder gave us something to look forward to each morning while we were getting ready for school, which was an added bonus.
We fell off track with this nightly ritual over the summer as our schedules were hectic and we were both too tired to do anything of meaning at the end of the day, but once school started back up in September, we dove right back in. It’s been such a positive addition to our daily routine, and allows us to squeeze in a little quality time together each day no matter how busy or tired we are.
If you’re searching for ways to spend one-on-one time with kids, here are 36 ideas broken down by age to help get your creative juices flowing!
12 Ways to Spend One-On-One Time with Kids in Preschool
Finding ways to spend one-on-one time with kids in preschool can be easy and challenging all at the same time. Kids this age tend to have a relatively short attention span, but they love pretend play and take great glee in including others in their wonderful world of make believe. If you’re looking for more structured activities you can enjoy with your preschooler, these ideas will inspire you.
1. Do something crafty, like drawing, coloring, or molding things with playdoh
2. Dress up in costumes and pretend it’s Halloween
3. Crank the tunes and have a spur-of-the-moment dance party
4. Visit your local library and choose some new books together
5. Have a pizza-making party
6. Play hide-and-seek
7. Go for a walk around the neighborhood after dinner
8. Make a tent in the living room and read your favorite books inside
9. Play charades
10. Have a pillow fight
11. Do chores together
12. Make a lemonade stand to raise funds for a good cause
12 Ways to Spend One-On-One Time with Kids in Kindergarten
Once kids reach kindergarten, they have a longer attention span and more of an interest in longer, multi-step activities. You can even split a craft or project up over several days, or go on an adventure outside of the home. If you’re looking for ways to spend one-on-one time with kids in kindergarten, these ideas are worth a try!
1. Challenge each other to a skip rope contest
2. Get out the glow sticks, turn off the lights, and have a glow-in-the-dark party
3. Have a water balloon or snowball fight
4. Grab your magnifying glasses, binoculars, and cameras and go on a nature walk
5. Make and fly your own kites
6. Go for a drive and blow bubbles out the window
7. Get dressed up in your Sunday Best and go out for dinner
8. Surprise your child by delivering his or her favorite lunch to their classroom and eating together
9. Play board games
10. Have a staring contest and see who blinks first
11. Roast marshmallows over the stove top and make s’mores
12. Do a science experiment
12 Ways to Spend One-On-One Time with Kids in Elementary School
My daughter just started grade 3, and this age is definitely one of my favorites as she’s beginning to develop her own interests and opinions, and she’s not only able to sit and concentrate on projects for longer periods of time, but she’s also interested in helping to plan and organize activities with me. This gives us so many opportunities to spend quality time together, and they tend to have a lot more intention and meaning behind them. If you’re looking for ways to spend one-on-one time with kids in elementary school, here are some ideas my sweet girl helped me come up with!
1. Organize a ‘minute to win it’ family game night
2. Challenge each other to complete a random act of kindness
3. Have a camp out in the backyard
4. Work on a puzzle together
5. Go on a breakfast date before school
6. Make friendship bracelets
7. Eat dinner in bed while talking about your day
8. Create a new recipe together
9. Let your kid(s) do your makeup
10. Volunteer at a charity that’s important to your family
11. Write a book together
12. Paint each other’s nails
13. Make a time capsule
14. Lie outside in the backyard at night and look for constellations together
15. Play card games
If you’re looking for ways to spend one-on-one time with kids, I hope these tips and ideas inspire you! Remember to plan ahead and make it part of your daily routine, to find ways to make household chores and exercise fun, and to think outside the box and find ways to spend time with your kids when life gets busy. Most importantly, have fun!