A day of shopping usually starts out exciting: going to the mall, trying on clothes, looking at all the people. But soon after the reality of the purpose for going to the mall sets in, it becomes hard for families to find ways to engage their kids long enough to endure their mall trip. Thankfully, with a little bit of creativity and advanced planning, you can bring the excitement back into the mall trip for any member of your family.

The first key to making the mall fun is by utilizing the stores. This may seem obvious, but many times we stroll right past fun and interesting stores because we are trying to get our shopping done. By keeping an eye open for stores that could be fun for your family, you can phase out some of the work of shopping, and integrate more fun. The stores that cater to kids are a good start. Play with some of the toys at the toy store, watch the dogs at the pet store, or read a book in the book store. However, the more adult stores can also provide fun for the little ones. If you need to go into a store that has a lot of breakable items in it, make it into a game. Your kids might play a game at home in which the floor is lava and they need to get around the room; at these stores, reverse the game and have your kids pretend that the tables and merchandise are lava. This will encourage your kids to be careful while giving them a fun excuse to pay attention to it.

Another way to make the mall more fun is to play "car games." These are games that you would normally play in your car, but that can just as easily be applied to a mall setting. The license plate game (in which you look for license plates from different states) can be changed to the shopping bag game (in which you see how many stores you can identify from the shopping bags that are being carried around you). "I Spy" is also a great way to get your kids interested in what is going on. Start by saying "I spy something red." Your kids then have to try to figure out what you see.

You can also encourage your kids' interest and entertainment at the mall is by using the built-in play areas and fountains. Don't get your child's swimsuit, but sit down together and watch the water as it goes up and down. You can even share stories about waterfalls and rain. The play areas are also a great way to give your child something to do in an enclosed, relatively safe setting.

Through getting creative and encouraging your kids in activities like those mentioned above, you not only give your child a great time in the moment, but you begin desensitizing them to the mall. The more you have fun together at the mall, the more your child will perceive the mall as a fun place to go. And ultimately, it will be more fun for your entire family.

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