Easy Ways to Surprise and Delight Your Children

The following is by contributor Amy Anderson of Let’s Explore.

My kids love a good surprise – how about yours? Since the baby days of peek-a-boo, I’ve loved finding little ways to add more smiles and giggles to our days.

As often as I can, I look for sweet, memorable, or unexpected things I can do for my kids. I feel like I shine as a parent when I make the everyday things special – these moments fill me up as much as they do for my girls.

So, here are a few ideas I have up my sleeve that I know will both surprise and delight my two girls. They are easy, frugal, and don’t require much more than my time. There are going to be lots of smiles around here!

1. Give their bedrooms the hotel treatment.

While your kids are outside playing, taking a bath, or otherwise occupied, sneak into their bedrooms and fancy them up a bit. Make the bed and put a candy on the pillow. Set out a vase of fresh flowers or a new magazine. Maybe you could even offer room service for dessert!

2. Bring something surprising to the dinner table.

The kids are expecting noodles and veggies and you bring a tray of ice cream sundae fixings – how’s that for delightful? Other fun and unexpected dinners could be smoothies and popcorn, a cold cereal bar, or chocolate fondue.

3. Make an I Love You poster.

Make a big poster of all the things you love about your child and hang it on his bedroom door or above her bed. You could continue adding to it week after week, too. What a sweet thing to read each day!

4. Celebrate a crazy holiday.

You could make-up your own holiday or choose one of the many unusual holidays that already exist. For example, August 31 is National Trail Mix Day and September 9 is Teddy Bear Day. Make a snack, do a craft, or play a game that goes with the holiday. (For more unique holidays, check out the lists at About.com’s Family Crafts.)

5. Play a game with breakfast.

Set-up a favorite board or card game at night so it’s ready to greet your child first thing in the morning. Play, visit, and enjoy your toast with a game.

6. Go all out for story time.

Yes, usually bedtime stories are a time for snuggling and winding down. Make an exception and show-up for story time in costume! Don’t forget to do all the characters’ voices and special sound effects, too. I know my girls would really love it if my husband and I performed a story together. We’ll call it Bedtime Theater!

What ideas can you add to this list? Do you have time to plan a simple surprise for your kids this week?

About AmyA

At her blog, Let’s Explore, Amy shares her family’s experiences creating, imagining, and playing together. You can read about her homeschooling journey at Early Bird Homeschool.

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  1. Wow! It is incredibly inspiring to see so many moms enjoying their kids and making their days special. It’s sometimes easy for me to get caught up in the stressed out Mommy mode. These comments remind me that my child is such a sweet blessing and little surprises would make her day now and then. Can’t wait to try some of these ideas. Thank you!

  2. We have done so many of these things! Awesome suggestions!
    One thing I did for our 4 year old daughter was place a drop of food coloring at the bottom of her glass and left it at her place at the table. She helped to pour the milk in a little later and was amazed by the pink milk that “appeared”.

  3. These are all such great ideas! Thanks so much for sharing!
    I love to do lots of fun things with my kids but, by far, my favorite has been a camp at home. We did lots of sensory, messy activities. At the end of the summer I asked my kids which summer camp they enjoyed most and they smiled and said “Camp Firefly!” which was our at-home camp. I realized that just the little effort that goes into making their days special really makes a difference!

  4. My daughter decided one day that it was her favorite stuffed animals birthday. So after church we celebrated with goodie bags (I keep trinkets and small candys hid for special occasions) a birthday cake and candles.. We even sang happy birthday with the lights off while the candle was lit. I’m sure my daughter will remember this for years to come.

  5. A fun thing I surprise my son with occasionally is a treasure hunt. I draw pictures of things around the house, and add an arrow to where the next clue will be hidden (he can’t read yet). At the end of about 10 clues, is a chocolate coin. He loves it! (It took a while drawing the clues the first time i did it, but now I have about 20 clues that I hang onto, to save myself the bother of re-drawing new ones each time!)

  6. There are all such good ideas for surprising our kids. The idea I love most is number 3, make a poster for them. Kids all love paintings, they have a great concern about art. So that a poster with colorful and some texts actually make their day. By the way, I also have some kinds of good stuffs for my children, buying for them a couple of t-shirts is one of the best choices, they really like it and enjoy with their full happiness.


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