Thursday, March 24, 2011

What to do, what to do?

An unexpected day of of school can be a parent's nightmare.  Especially if the weather is too bad to take your child(ren) outside to burn off excess energy.  Sometimes it's not possible to send them outside to play or hop in the car and take a drive someplace fun where they can run around and socialize with other kids.
So, every parent's question is, "How can I keep them from getting bored and driving me (and each other) nuts?  That my friends, is the million dollar question for all. 
This winter (now Spring) has kept me on my toes with all the snow days, early dismissals and two hour school delays.  The calendar may now say Spring but we had snow 3 out of the last 5 days.  Yesterday, my kids were released from school early and today they went in late.  All because Mother Nature must be on vacation and forgot to update the weather chart, which I'm sure she keeps on her office wall.
Here's a list of things I like to do to keep my kids entertained and engaged:

  1. Picnic for lunch-We spread a blanket out on the rug in the living room. I like to have a variety of kid friendly finger foods: strawberries, grapes, finger sandwiches, cubed cheese, crackers, pepperoni and more.

  2. Board Games-Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders, Scrabble Flash, Jenga, Dominos, Bingo, Checkers, Monopoly and Sorry are just a few favorites in our house.
  3. Baking-Chocolate chip cookies, brownies, cake, cupcakes and more.  My children enjoy frosting and decorating goodies before gobbling them up.
  4. Cooking-Both my love to help me prepare dinner.  I haven't gotten to the point of having them chop anything up yet but they do enjoy washing veggies, adding ingredients, setting timers and stirring pots.
  5. Coloring-I like to buy a few large activity coloring books that they can pull out on days they're stuck indoors.
  6. Computer Worksheets-Believe it or not my kids enjoy doing these.  Even my 8 year old son who "hates" school.  I think he likes it because it's just for fun and it's not homework.
  7. Arts and Crafts-I have a box dedicated to arts and crafts.  It's filled with the essentials like: paper, crayons, markers, glue, stickers, foam and fabric pieces, googly eyes, yarn, Popsicle sticks and more.  Whenever I'm at A.C. Moore or Michael's I'll pick up a craft kit or two if they're on sale.  My kids like to paint ceramics, sun catchers, door signs, and more.
  8. Puzzles-I always have these on hand.  It keeps them busy for a while.  I like to get ones that are a little challenging for their age but not too hard where they give up quickly. 
  9. Puzzle books-Word finds, mazes and easy crossword puzzles are a keeper.
  10. Movie Day with Popcorn-Yum
  11. Building forts using blankets and couches/chairs-Lots of fun and creative imagination.
  12. Dance Party-Whether it's the radio, Cd's or ipod the kids love turning on the radio, singing and dancing around all crazy.
  13. Dress up-My daughter loves to dress up and play princess.  She'll put on a fashion show or have a tea party with all of her babies.  I'll do her hair, nails and makeup too for the total girlie experience.
  14. Wii-Though I try to limit video game and computer usage these can be active and interactive on bad weather days.  I love the wii because it gets the kids moving.
The most important thing to remember is keep your child engaged and you're day will go much smoother and you're kids will be happier.  Just have fun and make it a special day together.

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