When the holidays are over, when the toys are old and tossed aside, when the wind and snow are howling outside, and the kids are wailing “ I’m bored” what can you do to entertain and educate them?
Here are five – no or low cost examples of things to do that actively involve you and your child in learning and bonding experiences.
1. Make your own play dough (puzzle, website, puppets)
My kids used to love helping me make play dough. I used a recipe similar to this one on Playdoughrecipe.com http://www.playdoughrecipe.com/alum-playdough-recipe/. Make sure they use the play dough on a surface that won’t absorb the food coloring!
Take an old magazine picture or calender picture and glue it to a piece of cardboard. Turn the picture over and trace cutout patterns on the cardboard, then cut out the pieces. Alternately, go online and find sites (such as Discovery Education) that let you create other kinds of puzzles (crosswords, math puzzles, cryptograms and etc).
If you have a computer and internet access, you can find a family friendly website creation product and sit with your child while they create a site. Here are a few:
Come Home (http://www.comehome.net/); My Family (http://www.myfamily.com/welcome/tour/); Family Lobby (http://www.familylobby.com/); Family Website (http://www.familywebsite.net/); FamDazzle (http://www.famdazzle.com/aboutus.php); Adorable (http://www.adorable.com/); Your Family Site (http://www.yourfamilysite.com/) or Your Family Website (http://www.yourfamilywebsite.com/)
If your child is a bit older, let them try Blogger (http://www.yourfamilywebsite.com/) or WordPress (http://wordpress.com/).
Use old socks and a marker; glue paper cutout figures to a saved up popscycle stick; use brown paper lunch bags and cut holes for eyes and mouths, glue on yarn for hair; use an old pair of gloves to make a bunny puppet (2 fingers for ears, rest of fingers folded in to make the face); use those old round clothespins and paint a face on the nubbin on top – creativity wins. Challenge your kids to find material and make up characters – then let them put on a puppet show for you!
2. Learn to crochet (knit, sew, build a birdhouse, build a model, play chess)
What do you know how to do? Is your child old enough? Is your child interested? Sharing a hobby with a child can be very rewarding.
My leftie Grandma taught me (a rightie) to crochet when I was about 10. I learned how to play chess to teach my own 8 year old son. If you don’t know how to craft, build or play, YouTube videos await to enlighten you!
3. Sell something together
If you have a digital camera and a computer with internet access you can set up an eBay or Etsy account. Then you and your child can work together to get a good picture, write up a description, research an asking price and get the item listed. If you list for multiple days, you can watch the bidding together. Once it sells, you can assist your child in getting the item packaged and in the mail.
4. Produce a play
Possibilities are endless for involvement – from writing the script to designing the set to making the costumes, programs and etc and finally to acting in the production. Maybe you could even sell tickets to the neighbor kid’s Moms (face it, they are also looking for ways to entertain their kids).
5. Make butter (soap, candles)
Show your kids how the pioneers (or maybe just your grandparents) did things. Work together to find out how to make things we now buy – like butter, soap or candles.
My own grandma was a farmer’s wife and always churned her own butter from fresh cow milk. While most of us today don’t have access to fresh cow milk or a butter churn, you can still make butter. Yahoo has one recipe http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20070918064417AAzXkWW but if you google “Make butter without a churn” you will get other answers as well.
My kids and I made soap when they were in first or second grade. I made mine from saved up meat fat, but there are numerous recipe’s you can follow!
Any of the above activities will cause the winter hours to fly by; teach you and your child new ways to interact and help you teach your child how to do things.
What resources do you use to find ways to occupy your children when they are bored?
This post was written by Marie.