It's been a week and a half of canceled school and no playdates here. I love how the world outside my window looks after a fresh snow fall. I love snowmen, snow forts, and snowball throwing contests but there is a limit to how much of a good thing I can take. The natives have been getting restless (myself included).
My bag of tricks was getting exhausted so I brainstormed and put out an appeal for help.
Here are some boredom busters to keep the kids busy and you from losing your sanity:
Who says you can't camp indoors? Build a tent with blankets. Close the curtains or blinds and try to make it as dark as possible. If you have a fireplace, camp out in that room. Tell ghost stories, use flashlights to make hand shadow puppets on the walls and have the kids guess what they are, and even make smores (since our fireplace is electric we use the microwave to make ours). Have hot dogs for lunch and other "camp-friendly" foods.
Have a picnic/beach party
Dress up in some summer wear complete with sunglasses. Go for a mid day swim in the bath tub. Blow bubbles. Have a picnic inside. The kids will love just sitting on the floor to eat rather than the table. Fill up the sink with some toys for some water play or fill up a pan with sand and let the kids scoop and pour until their hearts are content (just put a tablecloth or something underneath to catch the mess).
Bag of tricks
Have a bag of tricks with crafts or toys that you may have put away. Pull them out to entertain the kids when they are stuck inside. Silly putty, dollar store craft kits, those capsules that when put in water turn into foam animal shapes, etc. are all great things to have on hand when the weather gets nasty.
Make your living room an obstacle course. Lay down pillows, hula hoops, foam squares, and anything else to complete your course. Time the kids to see who can get through the fastest.
Set up a store in your house. Have the kids go around and choose toys that they would like to "sell". Help them determine how much each item is worth and put little stickers on those items. Give them some play money (or some real money) to go shopping along with a little reusable shopping bag. You can pretend to be the cashier and check them out. Maybe also set up a little grocery store to visit to buy snacks and drinks after they go to the "kids store". Everyone can enjoy a little refreshment since shopping can be hard and exhausting work.
Bring the Outdoors Inside
Do your kids have lots of outdoor toys that are sitting around in the garage? Clean them off and bring them inside if you have a room with enough space. Fill their water table with rice and let them play. That little plastic basketball hoop will keep them busy as would a slide. Fill their little plastic swimming pool with balls to make a ball pit. Get creative.
Have themed days
Create cooking, craft, or movie days. If your stuck inside because of the snow make snow cones with fruit juice and crushed ice or homemade ice cream with ingredients you have on hand and no fancy equipment needed (thanks to Jeanine for passing these tips along). Give the kids cereal and string to make edible necklaces for a snack or have them create their own pizzas for lunch. Kitchen crafts don't have to be time consuming or difficult. This will keep them busy for awhile both putting the "food crafts" together and then eating them.
I keep prepackaged craft kits on hand that I picked up on sale at Michael's for days like this. This way I don't need to rummage around to find everything to put a craft together especially if we're stuck in the house for consecutive days. Also, give the kids some old magazines or newspapers, scissors, and glue and have them create collages. Then have them tell you a story about their collage. Display them.
Need some quiet time? Make your living room a movie theatre and let the kids choose the movie along with coordinating snacks (goldfish go well when watching Finding Nemo, etc.).
Spa Day/Face Painting
Have a pampering day inside if you have girls. Put some cucumbers on their eyes and see who can lay still the longest. Paint their nails and do their hair. Let them do yours. Have them do their dolls hair. Have a fashion show. Most little girls love to play dress-up.
If you have little boys and some face paint or old makeup lying around let them paint each other's faces like you see at carnivals (or you can paint their faces) to cut down on the mess. Have them put an old t-shirt of yours on over their clothes to keep their clothes clean.
Let them visit the neighbor kids or invite the neighbor kids over to play along with their moms. Just because there is no school doesn't mean the kids can't have a playdate. This will also give you a chance to talk with another adult rather than just the kids all day.
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