Today I would like to introduce a guest writer – Dan Gilbert, who posts on behalf of Primrose Schools. I hope to introduce more guests in the future with useful and interesting articles like the one below.
Primrose provides the kind of educational experiences and daycare children need to build a strong foundation for success in school and in life. Dan has written a number of articles on topics varying from bilingual learning to teaching the importance of volunteering.
What is worse than being stuck indoors? Being stuck indoors with nothing to do. When your children are stuck indoors, always have a few ideas like arts and crafts for them to do to keep them entertained. It is important to keep children’s minds active all year round and it does not take an expensive vacation or activities to keep them busy. Many arts and crafts are inexpensive and will keep children busy for hours of fun. A trip to your local craft store and some ideas are all you need to get started. Always have a few activities planned for outside when the weather is beautiful.
Here are 10 ideas parents can use to keep young minds active all year round:
1. Beat the Boredom Jar: At the beginning of each year, encourage your family to sit around a table. Everyone can brainstorm activities that can be done alone or together. Give everyone five or six slips of paper to write down their ideas. Include things like play a game of solitaire, paint a picture, play a game of charades and have a hula-hoop contest. As a group, decide which ideas to place in the jar. Label the jar “Boredom Buster Jar.” Each time a family member or the entire family is bored, allow someone to draw a slip from the jar to fight any boredom blues.
2. Stories Alive: Keep the entire family entertained by reading stories aloud. One family member can select his favorite book and read it to his family. If it is a long book, have him read his favorite part of the story. After reading the book or part, everyone can work together to make props out of craft supplies that go along with the book. For example, if you read the book Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss, everyone can make green eggs and ham out of items like construction paper, felt, glue and markers. Another idea is to make green eggs by adding green food coloring to a pan a scrambled eggs. Alternatively, read a short book and have the family act out the book. Everyone can select their own character from the book and act it out.
3. Treasure Chest: Turn a cardboard box into a treasure chest using paint, markers and scissors. After the paint dries, fill the treasure chest with a variety of art supplies, such as fabric markets, fabric, chenille stems, plastic wrap, clothespins, paint, foil, chalk, stamps and stickers. Always toss empty paper towel rolls, toilet paper rolls, magazines and newspapers into the box throughout the year. Have everyone use the supplies in the box and their imagination to create unique projects.
4. Family Skits: Create a box of old clothes, wigs, costumes, musical instruments, wooden spoons, empty canisters, shoes and costume jewelry. Have one family member select an idea like “Thanksgiving dinner” or “Drugs are bad.” The family must put together a skit related to the idea using the items in the box. Tell everyone to use their imagination. For added fun, video tape the skit for everyone to enjoy.
5. Forts: Many children love building forts indoors out of blankets. Help your children build large forts using boxes, chairs, beach towels, boxes and cushions. All the items needed are available around your home and children can enjoy hours of “fort building” fun.
6. Cooking/Baking: Help mom or dad cook and bake can be a lot of fun. Get out a recipe book and have your child select something she would like to cook. Help your child bake or cook the specific item. Cooking and baking will also help children’s math and measurement skills. For non-cooking fun, allow your children to making miniature popsicles using small popsicle sticks, juice and an ice cube tray.
7. Scrapbooks: Scrapbooks are a great way to keep the entire family busy while creating lasting memories. Give each family member a small scrapbook. Dig out old pictures and mementos for everyone to use in their scrapbooks. Always save items, such as movie or concert tickets, vacation brochures and flowers from special occasions, to use in scrapbooks.
8. Listening: Play a listening game by taking the entire family outside on a beautiful day. Spread out a large blanket on the ground and have everyone lie on their backs. One at a time, family members must tell what they hear like sirens, a horn or loud motorcycle. For added excitement, have everyone try to imitate the sound they hear.
9. Camping: When the weather is nice, plan a camping trip in your own backyard. Setup a tent and fill it with blankets. Your family can sleep in the tent overnight. Take a large picnic baskets filled with snacks, drinks and food. Everyone can sit in a circle and share an interesting story or talk about their day.
10. Scavenger Hunts: Plan scavenger hunts indoors or outdoors. Hide items like coins or balls and have the children try to find them. Turn the hunt into a competition by seeing who can find the most items in a certain amount of time.
Every child and family is different so plan activities that fit your family’s style and interests. Keep your family entertained and involved in family functions all year round with these inexpensive, exciting activities.