How to Offer Fun Kid Friendly Hospitality

Whether we have kids, grandkids, or friend with kids, it is always good to have some kid friendly things to do in our homes.

My children are young adults now, but I do have two grandchildren. I also have a few friends who have kids.  The adults get to visit. But because there is so much to do around here, I don’t have to worry about the younger set getting bored with ‘grown up people stuff’.

Most of the things for kids to do around here involves the outdoors.  Kid friendly activities includes gathering eggs from the chickens, fishing in the pond, and running wild outside. But that is on days when the weather cooperates!

have kid friendly chores such as shelling peas

Rainy Day – Kid Friendly Fun

When the weather is just too wet, hot or cold to go outside, I like to keep several activities handy to entertain my younger guests.

If it is on a Friday, I usually have them help me bake cookies.  Most kids love playing with dough, so it keeps them happy.  And I can supervise and still visit with the adults.

If they are staying overnight, or for the weekend, I encourage them to help plan and make meals.  Kids love to ‘play’ with their food, and they are also learning an essential skill at the same time.

You can also get them to help with simple chores, like shelling peas, or washing dishes. They think it’s fun – but it can also be a great teaching moment.

There is a wide assortment of crafts that are kid friendly.  Whether it is a girl or boy, there is usually something in my craft room to keep them busy. 

I also keep a ‘Gran Box’.  It is a plastic tote box with a lid that fits securely.  In it I keep all the little things, such as coloring books, sketch pads, colors, colored pens and puzzles.  When kids come over, they usually head straight to the closet where it is stored.

You can also find stackable storage boxes to keep smaller crafts item in and separate.  These are perfect for beads, buttons, yarn and more.

Occasionally, at the Dollar Store, I come across craft kits that are inexpensive and easy to make.  I keep several of these handy for kid friendly fun.

have a Gran Box for kid friendly hospitality

What is in the ‘Gran Box’?

It isn’t difficult to come up with kid friendly activities. Here are a few that the kids who visit us like to do – with links to help you fill your Gran Box quicker!

Indoor Kid Friendly Activities

  • Friendship Bracelets – whether made with scrap yarn or beads, keep a good supply handy.  Find colorful buttons to use as closures.
  • Parachute Cord Bracelets – these usually come in a kit with enough cord to make a few bracelets.  Even better, they are useful if a rope is ever needed.
  • Water Colors & Water Color Paper – if you choose these, also keep some newspaper or a plastic tablecloth handy to contain the mess!
  • Colors, colored pencils, blank paper, coloring books
  • Construction paper, blunt kid-friendly scissors, paste
  • Stickers
  • Puzzles
  • Games
  • Books – choose a selection for all age groups
  • Floor Play Mats
  • Weaving Kits –
  • Blocks & Creatives – Mr. Potato Head, Legos, etc.
  • Playing Cards

find fun things outdoors for kid friendly hospitality

Kid Friendly for Outdoor Activities

  • Bubbles
  • Sidewalk Chalk
  • Badminton
  • Ring Toss
  • Jump Rope
  • Beach- or football (with or without Toy Sports Cones)
  • Whiffle Ball
  • Treasure hunts (you can use small plastic storage boxes or plastic Easter eggs and hide them around the yard)
  • Wooden Boat Races

There are so many things you can keep in a Gran Box.  Use your imagination and think like a kid again.  From toy cars and action figures for boys, to tiaras and dolls for girls, your Gran Box can be filled in no time.

Have an avid reader?  Introduce them to Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden and the Hardy Boys. 

serve a kid friendly snack with a tea set

Get Kid Friendly!

The key to having a welcoming home is to make everyone who stops in comfortable.  That means young and old alike.  If you know ahead of time they will be visiting, have a few kid friendly snacks, as well.

If you have cake or cookies and coffee, serve them a piece as well.  If you have a young girl visiting, consider keeping a small tea set handy, and add that extra special touch by serving her cookies using the plates and cups.  You may also have an extra ‘friend’ join her tea party.  Any stuffed animal will do for a tea companion!

Don’t limit your conversation to adults only.  Think of kid friendly topics that can include the children.  Ask them things such as if they have a favorite activity, book or friend.  Have them draw a picture, and ask them to tell you about it.

speak softly and kindly to kids

It Isn’t Just Kids that Need to Mind Their Manners

Always remember that young people are watching and listening, even if they seem preoccupied.  Watch your language – and I don’t just mean cursing.

Any disparaging remarks about another can be overheard.  When this takes place, at least a few things may happen. 

1) The child may very well repeat what is said. And who said it.

2) It may cause the child to not only mistrust the one you are talking about, but there is also a good chance you will be mistrusted. 

3) There may be a chance that it reinforces negative behavior, thoughts and actions towards others.  After all, the adults do it, why can’t children?

Kids have an uncanny way of seeing through us.  They seem to have a ‘sixth’ sense on our moods.  It may be difficult, but ‘teach’ children what true hospitality means.  Be warm.  Wear a smile.  Keep your tone of voice friendly and upbeat. 

watching chicks can be a kid friendly activity

Kid Friendly Goes a Long Way

Is your own home truly welcoming?  If so, then you motto should be ‘Kids are Welcome HERE!’  Go ahead.  Pack a Gran Box.  Have a few outdoor activities ready for any young children who stop by.  Before you know it, you will end up having as much fun watching them play as you do visiting with the adults.

Just be careful. If you are TOO much fun, you may just have kids pleading for their parents to have ‘Joint Custody’ arrangements!

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Julie Murphree is a blogger, newspaper columnist, and speaker on all things ‘Living a Simple Life on the Farm’. She is the author of \\\'The Farm Wife – Living a Simple Life on the Farm. She and her husband have 60 acres in NW Louisiana where they actively work on living as sustainable as possible.

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