Ways to Surprise Your Kids


Oh, January. The magic of the holidays is now over. You and your kids are coming down off the high of planned fun and events. Sooo, now what? You are probably itching to get back into the swing of things — school, extracurricular activities, meals as a family — your everyday routine and schedule. 

But that can be monotonous, too, right? You may be looking for some ways to add a bit of spice and specialness here and there for your kids. It doesn’t have to be an extravagant and perfectly planned family night. (Though it can be! Nothing wrong with that!) But just any little thing to let your kids know you love them and you’re thinking about them.

If this kind of thing piques your interest, then read on! 

Here’s a list of (stress free) ways to surprise your kids:

  1. Have a picnic! Indoors or out, eating on a blanket on the floor is fun! 
  2. Turn on some feel-good music and have a dance party.
  3. Build a fort together.
  4. Bake a favorite treat (and eat it in the fort you built!).
  5. Let them paint, use shaving cream on the counter, play in the mud, or whatever messy activity they love but you usually say “no” to, because it’s too messy. 
  6. Don’t go straight home after school, but head to your favorite ice cream shop instead!
  7. Set up an obstacle course in your living room or backyard.
  8. Do a favorite activity for way longer than you usually would (my daughter’s would be bubbles!).
  9. Have a pajama day one Saturday.
  10. Go to the park and actually play with them.
  11. Have a tea party.
  12. Read to them during a time you normally wouldn’t (ie, not at bedtime).
  13. Do a science experiment together (there are some really easy ones – like this one – on Pinterest).
  14. Leave them a surprise in their room, like a small treat or toy.
  15. Write them a joke to leave in their lunchbox – find a whole list here!
  16. Let them get candy/gumballs out of the machines at the grocery store.
  17. Sit/rock together for extra cuddles.
  18. Do a simple scavenger hunt, either around the house or on a walk.
  19. Ask your kids these “Would You Rather” questions.
  20. Let them help you cook.
  21. Play tag or hide-and-seek together.
  22. Let them have friends over for a playdate.
  23. Go for a pajama walk before bed with flashlights.
  24. Help them prank their dad or siblings! 
  25. Make a kid charcuterie board for an afterschool snack.

Making your kids feel loved is always fun, in my opinion. And doing small, extra special things to make them think, “I get to do that?!” is just the best!  

What “surprise” item on this list are you going to try first?


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