As I sit down to write this post, I can see the icicles forming on the deck rails outside the kitchen window. We get an occasional snow day in central North Carolina, but, more often, just sleet & freezing rain. While the ice is beautiful to look at, it isn't exactly enticing for outdoor play. Here is how we combat boredom (without screen time) and save our sanity ...
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- Board Games & Puzzles A day stuck indoors is perfect for a nice lengthy game like the Game of Life or to complete that 1,000 piece puzzle.
- Dress Up Get out the dress up box, old costumes, or even some of your old clothes the kids can play in and let them have fun dressing up. Tip: I shop the clearance racks after Halloween each year to add extras to our costume collection at a discounted price.
- Put On a Show The costumes are on - now act out a play or your favorite movie..
- Lego & Duplo Blocks Pull out the instructions and build the actual kits OR just go wild - see who can build the tallest tower or work together to build long bridge.
- Crafts From basic coloring to combing those Pinterest boards for options. The limit is only your imagination.
- Plastic Container Stacking Dump out the plastic containers in your kitchen and build away.
- Create a Town Legos, Little People, plastic containers, train set, cereal boxes, etc are all great for building your own town and playing in.
- Write a Story This could be an individual project or team effort. For the latter, try taking turns each writing one paragraph or page.
- Bake Find a fun recipe and bake together. This is a great way to sneak in a little math with fraction practice!
- Story Time Grab a book to read quietly or read out loud to your kids (or them to you!). Also, check your library's online resources. Ours has taped story times we can access via the web anytime.
- Bubbles Always a winner with my kids. I keep a stash of Gymboree bubbles for cold and/or rainy days.
- Coffee Filter Painting Another easy & relatively mess free painting idea using markers & water. See the tutorial here.
- Monthly Subscription Kit Ok, this won't help you if you're reading this today already stuck inside, but take note and sign up. We love Kiwi Crate. Each month my son gets a new crate that include supplies and instructions for multiple craft and/or science experiments. I confess, I tend to hide these for rainy (and icy) days when we are stuck inside so we have instant entertainment. Tip: this is a great "non-toy" gift idea to ask the grandparents for for birthdays or Christmas.
- Build a Fort Pull off all those sofa cushions and grab some extra sheets and/or blankets; use a fort kit; or pop up your camping tent in the family room or playroom.
- Indoor Snowball Fight No snow? No fear. Make your own soft snowballs with this tutorial and have fun tossing away (safely) indoors.
- Dance Party Crank up the music and dance out that energy!
- Photo Booth Bust out those costumes, get dressed up, then pose for photos using your computer or phone & selfie stick.
- Treasure Hunt Have each of your kids pick a small item to hide somewhere in the house. Then give them blank paper to draw treasure maps. Swap maps and go off to hunt for the "treasure" their sibling hid.
- Trains Pull all those tracks and pieces off the train table. See if you can use all the pieces and build the biggest track ever. Maybe it circles the dining room table. Maybe it runs up and down the upstairs hallway.
- Let's Write a Haiku Create the lines together. Remember the rules?
- Bring in the Water Table Yes, that table you have for outdoor summer play. Bring it in. Stick it in the shower, turn on the water, and let the kids play.
- Make Bathtub Paint Put the kids in the tub with this simple homemade bathtub paint and let them make a big, clean mess. Let the kids wear their swimsuits and imagine they are having a day at the pool or beach!
- Go Fishing Use a toy fishing set to fish in the tub. Or create your own using fabric, magnets, and a small pole using this tutorial. If you enjoy sewing and have a small (eh hm, large) stash of fabric and remnants like myself, this is a great way to use them up.
- Miniature Golf Set up a course in the garage or the house. Just be sure to use soft foam balls and putt (not drive!) them in the house.
- Make Snowflakes Fold paper and cut snowflakes. Or make window cling snowflakes using puffy paint & glitter.
- Bundle up and go Outside! Sure it's cold, but the fresh air and change of environment is good for all. If there is enough snow, play. If not, take a short walk even if just around your yard or try a scavenger hunt. See who can find an icicle, a pine cone, spot a bird, etc.
Finally, enjoy and be thankful. Yes, perhaps it was another chaotic day trapped inside with your kids, but someday you'll be wishing for another day like this. Not to mention missing this cold weather on those hot summer days that are closer than we realize.