a mission, a swamp and a kiss

My daughters are growing and changing like rapid fire. Lexi is now my toddler and Lily has become a young girl. I am having so much fun watching their personalities develop and trying to find ways of keeping them entertained. We’ve introduced Lily to board games like Candy Land, Memory and Zingo (our fave!) and she is really taking well to them. The only trouble is that when Lexi is around, she invariably steps on the board either right before or after she picks up all the game pieces and scatters them everywhere. Lily is never amused by that.

And as much as I love the board games, my most recent favorite playtime activities have been all from our imagination.


I have to give credit to my friend Ann Marie who taught me this trick at the park the other day. I tried it this weekend with my kids and my friend Hayley’s 3 kids and it was a big hit. I gathered them all around and told them they were going on a Top Secret Mission. I gave them a code word like Bonanza and then proceeded to give them a series of places they had to go and things they had to do a long the way.

For example: Run over to the far tree, run around it 3 times, skip over to the trash can, hit it with the palm of your hand and yell Bonanza at the top of your lungs, then run over to the slide area, go up the stairs, down the curly slide, run back to this spot, do 5 jumping jacks and yell Bonanza again.

Making up the missions is all part of the fun, and if you happen to have a sippy of chardonnay with you (not that I did nor am I condoning it, but whatever works) you really might be able to get creative. And your kiddos will be T-I-I-I-RED by the time it’s nap or night time thanks to a few rounds of Secret Agent Kid.


This one is one I remember playing as a little girl in the kitchen of my childhood home, now I play it in our livingroom by placing blankets, pillows and/or kitchen towels on the ground. Then I create an elaborate tale of a swamp thing, scaley crocodile or one-eyed monster that lives in the thick, murky waters of our carpet. They can’t touch the carpet or else they’ll get eaten, so they have to jump from blanket to pillow to couch to chair in an effort to stay away from the swamp creature. I love to see their faces light up when I give them the backstory behind the creature, or when I yell, “Uh oh, hide, the monster is coming.” Even Lexi says “Mahster coming” and she ducks underneath her arms.


This one is not as much creative as it is just plain warm and fuzzy.

When Lily became old enough to climb on the equipment at the local playgrounds, I would every once in awhile go up to the bars on the bridge or the side of the slide and say “Kiss through the bars.” Lily would gladly bend down and give me a pucker through the bars and it always made us giggle. Recetly I started doing it with Lexi now too and she gets just as big a kick out of it that Lily did. Last week, as I was putting both the girls to sleep, Lexi stood up in her crib and said, “Kiss through bars, mommy,” in her cute raspy little voice.


I went over and kissed her through the bars of her crib and then of course had to do the same for Lily between her headboard bars. Now it has become part of our little nightly ritual and it just makes my day complete. Sometimes I’ll get called back in via the monitor with one of them yelling “kiss through the bars.” I am blessed that my girls are so lovey dovey, would not change it for the world.

In reading through this post, I am realizing that the impetus for writing it was my own guilty conscience about how much TV I let my kids watch. I am feeling the need to validate my own parenting skills because frankly my kids love tv and I love letting them watch it. They watch it more than the doctor suggests, especially lately when they’ve been sick. But in talking to other moms I think it’s in the realm of normal tv watching.

In tv’s defense, my girls have learned how to sing and dance with the shows they watch (Barney, Yo Gabba Gabba, Fresh Beat Band and their new fave Hi-5) and that is what this stage-mom-in-training is happy about. So, as long as I am balancing the day out with creative acitivities, outdoor fun and plenty of love, then I think my kids will turn out okay, right? Come on, right?

Mission Completed photo



  1. 1

    Love your silly, creative games! I often find myself doing the same thing so you’re not alone. Sometimes the only thing that calms them down (especially while I cook dinner) is a little TV. A little Mickey never hurt anyone, right?!

  2. 2
    Natalie says:

    These are so great! I love active games for kids. Next time I am babysitting a little one, I will but these into use!

    - signed a girl who is still singing "your jogging stroller defines you…"

  3. 3

    I’m way too lazy for making up games.
    I probably should address that, you know, so I can be a good mom and all.

  4. 4
    Mary Burt-Godwin says:

    D, It actually helps the laziness since you can make up the game while you’re sitting on a couch or a park bench and then send them on their merry way. :-)

  5. 5
    stefanie says:

    I NEVER let my kids watch television. Unless they are sick or eating or breathing.

  6. 6

    I love all of your ideas!

    And we watch a lot of tv here too…BUT we do other stuff so I don’t feel that bad. I work from home and well, sometimes I have to work when they are awake and their fave tv show is on. It works for us. Rid of the guilt! ;)

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