Friday, January 21, 2011

Winter SOS Idea Exchange

I am a fan of winter. The -30C and colder temperatures don't bother me too much, it gives me an excuse to snuggle under a cozy blanket and read a good book. What does bother me is the running and yelling and shenanigans my three very bored children get up to at about this point in the winter every year.

By mid-January the thrills of the holidays have worn off, the gloom of the school routine has returned and the kids are thoroughly sick of being cooped up in the house together. They are bored and squirrely and I, the unwilling social coordinator, have run out of ideas to entertain the little critters. After the play dough is dried up, the movies have been watched, the games have been played and the crafts are all done...what next? What fun, exciting and creative thing comes next? (cue crickets chirping)

So, in the spirit of friendship and motherhood I suggest a Winter SOS Idea Exchange. I'm going to share a few of the things I do with Dude, Crafty and Mischief to stave off the January Jitters and I invite you to share some of your ideas either here in the comment section or on my Facebook page.

~Thrift Store Scavenger Hunt
Now that the kids are older, more independent and can read this has become one of their favourite games. I make a list of items that can readily be found in a thrift store as well as a couple more unusual items and give each item a point value, then we start hunting. It's a lot of fun to explore the unique and sometimes bizarre items at thrift stores with the kids and it's an easy way to kill an hour or more. At the end of the 'game' we count up the points and if the kids have enough points (they always) do, they can each get a few books or maybe a video.

~Tower Power
I got this idea from something the kids did at school a couple of years's brilliant. I give the kids a box of drinking straws, a bunch of pipe cleaners and some tape and watch their imaginations go wild. By inserting pipe cleaner sections into the ends of the straws (beams and joints) the kids have built bridges, buildings and towers. Dude, in particular, loves this! He can spend hours constructing things and when we are done I try to remember to take pictures of what they have built.

~Book Play
We do this one of two ways, either the kids choose a favourite story and act it out, improve style, as I read it or they choose a book and practice the play for a while and then they perform as I read. The second way takes more time (yay!) and gives the kids a chance to add costumes and props.

~How many?
I give the kids paper clips, drinking straws, shoes or anything else I find around the house and a list of measurement questions. They can spend ages running around the house discovering how many paper clips it is from Mischief's room to the bathroom or how many straw wide the dining room is. Usually after they have answered all of my questions they think of their own things to measure.

Those are a few of the things I do to keep my kids busy on 'inside days' what are some of your secrets?

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