Winter. This means that you can’t really just tell the kids to go outside, ride their bike, or just find something to do. They are inside almost all day and ruts and routine and the doldrums creep in. There is fighting, yelling, screaming, whining, crying, way too much tv, way too many electronic devices being used, and this goes for the adults too. I was sick of the kids and they were sick of each other so I thought let’s just turn on movies and not talk. This wasn’t really what I wanted though. Not for the whole of winter. I decided during a long weekend I would use Pinterest to help me come up with some indoor activities for my kids. I got a piece a paper and I just wrote down a list of things and decided we would try them all. We did. My kids are 9, 6,5,2,and 1-years-old. Here is how it went.
1.Scavenger Hunt– How I did our scavenger hunt was this- 4 different lists with 5 objects on them. Objects on the list included things like toy dinosaur, a yellow sock, a matchbox car, a red shoe, and a pink glove. First one finished got a piece of candy. They all had fun and the first one finished was willing to help the younger siblings who were struggling. I could have added more things to make it last longer, and I believe it still would have held their interest. I call this one a success.
2.Build a Fort– in the past my husband or I build the forts and let the kids play. If it falls we help to build it again. This time I wanted my kids to build it alone. At first, they put a blanket over the couch and ottoman and called it a day. I asked them to try to make it bigger and reminded them they could bring in chairs or other things to help with this task. At first there was fighting, calling each other names, blaming someone else for it falling apart, but ultimately they built a larger fort and enjoyed playing in it once they were done. Perhaps another way would have been to have each kid build their own fort, but I think this was pretty successful.
3.Simon Says– This was one was so fun. Even my (almost) 3-year-old was able to be Simon and came up with some great ideas. We all had a turn being Simon, we all laughed, and had a great time. I highly recommend Simon Says for indoor fun.
4. Indoor Basketball Shooting Contest– we have one of those over the door hoops, but we haven’t used it in a long time. This was the perfect opportunity. We started close to the hoop and everyone was allowed 5 chances to make it. Then it went to the next kid. We kept moving the markers further and further back until either no one made it for two turns in a row. There were a few whines and moans because kids are competitive, but there was a lot of cheering each other on and pride in making a basket. This was deemed a success. *yes, we used a small soccer ball because we couldn’t find the small basketball.
5. Indoor Dance Party– This may have been a know you audience sort of fail. There are kids out there who love to dance around to music, my kids, not so much. For the first song, maybe song and a half, they were game. They tried it out but by the end of the third song they were just standing there staring at me as I tried to make up crazy moves. For us, this was a fail.
6. Obstacle Course– I am sure there are lots of ways you can do this, but what I did was bring all of our kitchen chairs into the living room and then got string and zig-zag tied it to the legs of the chairs. I threw a few toys on the ground that they had to grab. They each got a turn going through and coming back. It was fun to watch because each kid went through it differently even though they were all watching one another. They all liked this.
7. Sensory Play– I grabbed cookie sheets, measuring cups, cars, playdough toys, and there were different experiences that they passed around. Two cookie sheets had plain flour, two had shaving cream, one had shaving cream and flour mixed, and the last one had oil and flour. This activity lasted the longest and seemed to be the most enjoyed by all. My 1-year-old hadn’t really been able to participate in most of these, but this one he loved and enjoyed for quite a long time. There wasn’t one experience that they seemed to enjoy more, they liked trying them all out, and were thrilled that they were able to make a mess.
8. Wave Bottle– I went through recycling grabbed out empty water bottles and used the proportion of 1/3 water to 1/3 cooking oil. Add a few drops of food coloring, put lid on and then we mixed, shook, or tilted back and forth. This was ok. Cool for like a minute. I learned that darker food coloring makes it almost impossible to see the waves. This may seem obvious, but live and learn. After this we added stuff to our bottles like googly eyes, beads, pipe cleaners, and poms. Put the lids back on and shook again. The kids liked putting weird stuff in the bottle. They learned to make sure the lid was on tight because otherwise you have a big mess on your hands. People do superglue lids on when finished, but my kids didn’t want to keep them and lost interest, so we did not do this.
9. Milk Color Experiment- This was cool. Get a plate or we got a clear baking pan, put milk in (2% or whole), next add food coloring (three or four colors next to each other), then get a cotton swab dipped in dish detergent and dab it in the middle of these colors, and watch what happens. Get another one dipped in dish detergent and move it slowly around, and see what happens. It looks very cool.
I had more on my list, but was pretty tired after all of these activities, so they will have to wait for another long weekend. The response from the kids was amazing, especially my oldest, they all loved the family time, the bonding, the attention I was paying them, and they felt like it was better than electronics. Perhaps because it is a rarity, but that was part of the fun, it was meant to spice up the winter and add a little change to the routine. Overall success. So glad we did this.