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With many of us spending a lot more time at home with our families, it can be challenging to keep the kids entertained every day, particularly when they tire of the toys they already have. Here at Hotondo Homes we’ve done a bit of brainstorming and drawn on our own personal experiences to come up with a few foolproof and creative ways to keep the kids happy, and more importantly, busy and active within the home!

Getting Creative in the Kitchen

Kids
If you love to bake and your kids are a little bit older, this is the perfect time to get creative in the kitchen with them! You can bake a batch of cupcakes or simple sugar cookies the night before, and set up cupcake and cookie decorating stations for them to participate in. All you need are a few batches of icing with a few drops of food colouring to create different colours, some sprinkles, crushed up chocolate biscuit crumbs and chocolate bars, some lollies, and you’ll have a fun family-friendly activity to keep them busy, with the added bonus of having some delicious morning and afternoon tea treats to enjoy in the days to follow.

Indoor Inspiration

Kids
As the weather becomes a bit cooler in the mornings, or for those rainy days when everyone’s indoors, a little imagination is often needed. If you have any large carboard boxes ready to recycle, cut the sides and flatten them down, then grab a black marker and draw a series of roads all over the flat cardboard. Your kids can grab their toy cars and assorted small figurines to play on the tracks together in their bedrooms or in the living area as you get on with household chores. Alternatively, you can pop a plastic mat down on the floor and set it up as an art easel or canvas to get their creative juices flowing with some painting. If you have a small camp tent you might also like to set it up in the living area and set the kids up inside with some cosy blankets and pillows, a few books and toys, and some snacks so they can do a bit of indoor camping! No tent? No worries! Just grab your dining chairs, a few big blankets to drape over the top and you’ve got a perfect indoor fort for the kids to enjoy while they’re stuck inside.

Bath Time Fun

Kids
A big bottle of bubble bath does wonders to elevate normal bath time to something a lot more fun for kids, but to take things to the next level you might like to order some coloured bath foam and bath crayons so the kids can have some fun and get creative! There’s also the option of using washable paint diluted with a bit of water and some paintbrushes to really let their artistic flair shine through as they paint a few masterpieces for you to admire. With any of these bath products, it’s always a good idea to do a patch test first to ensure it will wash off your bathtub and tiles properly once the activity is finished.

Backyard Fun

Kids
If your new home has some outdoor space, now is the perfect time to add a few items that the kids will be able to enjoy for years to come. Many retailers sell sand pit kits that just need some quick DIY assembly and a few bags of sand added to it. Grab the kids’ cars, beach buckets and spades, and they’ll be happy for hours digging in the sand. If you have a covered alfresco, and a baby who’s getting increasingly mobile, you might like to purchase a hanging swing that can be bolted from the beams so your baby can enjoy some fresh air and activity outside with their older siblings. If you have older kids, a larger swing set, while undoubtedly a splurge when it comes to cost, will no doubt be a huge hit and keep them happy for hours on end. For simpler things that toddlers and younger kids can participate in, investing in some bubble wands, sidewalk chalk and a water table will give you a stash of fun activities to encourage outdoor play at home.

Being at home doesn’t have to be a dull or stressful ordeal. By making a plan and having plenty of things on hand to keep the kids entertained, this can become a time that the entire family embraces and enjoys together as we all make the most of this extended time at home.

When you’re ready to build a new home for your family, there are so many decisions to make. Choosing a design that suits your family’s lifestyle is probably the most important decision you will make, and if you have children there are a few important things to consider to ensure your home is child-friendly. Thinking about what will make your home suitable for your kids during each stage of their lives is something you should factor in to how you design each room of your home, and we’ve got some great tips to help you below.

Floorplan

Child-friendly
Choose a home design that includes an open-plan kitchen, living, and dining area so that you can still supervise the kids when you’re in the kitchen. Open-plan spaces allow kids room to play, relax, and even do homework under the watchful eyes of a parent while still giving everyone space to spread out and do their own thing. Another important thing to consider is the layout of the bedrooms. If you have a baby or small children you may want their bedrooms to be close to the master suite. However, if your kids are heading into their teenage years, perhaps a little space between your room and theirs is a good thing!

Fixtures and Fittings

Child-friendly
Ensuring your fixtures and fittings are child-friendly doesn’t mean they have to be utilitarian and without style! It’s important to make sure things like sinks, vanities, benchtops, and tile edging are safe by installing items with rounded edges and taps that swivel. Non-slip tiles are a must for chaotic bath times or teens who have a tendency to splash water everywhere as they shower! The main bathroom should always have a bath tub for young kids, and while it may not get a lot of use in your kids’ teenage years, it will come in handy again when grandkids start visiting further down the track.

Finishes and Furniture

Child-friendly
Durable is the key word here! Selecting flooring and benchtops that are hard wearing to keep up with the constant foot traffic and activity of a large family is well worth the investment when you build your home. When it comes to furnishing your home, buying furniture that is kid-friendly and can easily be wiped, washed, or cleaned should factor in to your purchasing decision. Large items like couches, tables, and beds should be sturdy and made from solid materials so that they can endure bumps, jumps, and scrapes for many years to come.

Play Spaces and Chill Out Zones

Child-friendly
Little kids have so many toys, and when they’re small, their things tend to stay in the common areas of the house where they play close to their parents. A house design that includes an additional space that can function as a play room can help contain the mess of toys scattered everywhere, and later on this can be converted into a rumpus or media room for older children to relax in with their friends.

Outdoor Space

Child-friendly
Kids love to run around outside so having a home with enough outdoor space for them to burn off some energy is important in a family home. Having an alfresco area also means you can sit and relax outside and still be able to watch the kids run around. Creating an outdoor space that includes non-slip tiles and is at least partially shaded from the sun will create the perfect space for families who love indoor/outdoor living.

Building a new family home to suit you and your children means you’ll have to take a few things into consideration to ensure you have a home that suits your lifestyle while still being child-friendly. Working with your builder to find a design that will suit your children from their baby and toddler years right through to their teen and young adult years will create the perfect family home. To see more home design ideas, visit the Hotondo Homes website today.

 

Cooking with the kids provides the perfect opportunity to interact in a fun way. Whilst you may be moulding the next Nigella or Gordon with your culinary teachings, at the very least you will be able to pass on an appreciation for food and its preparation, as well as instill good, healthy eating habits.

It can be educational too!

In addition to being loads of fun, preparing food is also a great way for kids to improve their basic level of literacy and numeracy. If they are made to follow a recipe it could help them to improve their reading, language and comprehension skills. It could also help further advance their maths ability through counting, deciphering fractions and weighing and measuring ingredients. Heck – it can even help them develop fine motor skills!

Even if you are a self proclaimed ‘terrible cook,’ here are some recipe ideas that even the greatest cooking novice can attempt with the kids.

Chocolate Rice Bubble Crackles

Serves 12

Fairy cup cakesIngredients

Cup Cake Batter
2 eggs
115g sugar
115g self-raising flour
115g butter, melted

Icing
135g icing sugar
55g butter
30g cocoa powder, sifted

Method

Preparation: 30 minutes › Cook: 10 minutes › Ready: 40 minutes

  1. Cup Cake Batter: Preheat oven to 180 degrees°C and prepare a 12-cup muffin tin with paper baking cases.
  2. Using a beater, whisk together the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Gradually add the flour and the melted butter, gently folding the mixture together.
  4. Pour the mixture evenly into the paper cases.
  5. Bake the cakes for 10-15 minutes, until golden on top and a skewer inserted carefully into one of the buns comes out clean. Allow to cool for ten minutes on a wire rack before removing from tin. Once the buns are cool, ice them liberally and smooth with a knife.
  6. Icing: Using a beater, whip together the icing sugar, butter and cocoa powder.

Chocolate Cornflake Crackles

Serves 12

Choc Corn flake cracklesIngredients

Method

Preparation time: 10 minutes › Cooking time: 5 minutes

  1. Place 12 patty cups in a cup cake tin.
  2. Put the chocolate, golden syrup and butter in a heavy based saucepan over low heat until melted; stir until smooth.
  3. Fold in the corn flakes or rice bubbles until evenly mixed then divide the mixture between the patty cups. Chill in the refrigerator until set.

Chocolate Rice Bubble Crackles

Serves 20

Chocolate crackles

Ingredients

Method

Preparation time: 15 minutes

  1. Mix dry ingredients together. Melt copha over a low heat until melted – do not boil. Mix melted copha and dry ingredients well. Spoon into paper patty cases and set in refrigerator.

Recipes and images courtesy of All Recipes Australia. For more simple recipe ideas to try with the kids, visit their website: allrecipes.com.au

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