You might see it on your Facebook feed, especially during long school breaks or snow days: “I can’t wait for the kids to go back to school!”
Moms, we love our kids, but keeping it real…sometimes we are EXHAUSTED and out of ideas. I am learning to enjoy my current season of motherhood and the (sometimes) craziness it can bring. One of the things I’m starting to appreciate is the time we have at home: nowhere to be, nowhere to go, no one expecting our presence. During the winter months, those times might be forced upon you with dangerous weather conditions or maybe the ages of your kids.
So here are a few fun ideas (outside of the usual coloring book, DVD watching, and play-dough playing) that might keep the kids entertained and provide you a little respite as well.
Take Movie Watching Up a Notch
I don’t want my kids sitting in front of the TV the entire break (trust me, they might if I let them). But I have occasionally invited the atmosphere of movie watching to an otherwise dull afternoon. Our living room has a lot of windows, so we might cover all the windows and turn our living room into a theater, rotating the couches. Or we have transformed the living room floor into a picnic area, blankets covering the floor, picnic food spread. We have even pulled small card tables into the room (use a coffee table, or upside down cardboard boxes) and turned our living room into a café. Why stop there? Instead of movie watching, create your own family entertainment. Invite the kids to take turns singing, telling jokes, or (a favorite in our house) put on a puppet show! Any stuffed animal makes a great puppet (so do socks and paper lunch bags).
Remember how much fun blanket forts were when we were kids? Grab those blankets off the windows or floor (from your “movie theater” or “picnic”), slide those card and coffee tables together and you’ve got two ingredients for the perfect blanket fort. Extra points if you let them take the couch cushions off to make the walls for the fort. When the fort is complete, tell them to grab their pillows, stuffed animals, book, and book light. You just might buy yourself a few minutes to get in some reading yourself.
Greeting Card Puzzles
If you still have Christmas cards laying around, cut off the front of the card (the image) and cut the image into puzzle pieces. You can make this as complex or as simple as you want. Ours are pretty simple: we cut one zig-zag through the middle of each card front. Over the years, we have quite a collection. Spread the pile out on the floor, and have the kids find the images that go together. You could even turn this into a memory game. The plus: you can add to this stack every year! If you’ve already recycled the greeting cards, you can use images from magazines, or old books that are falling apart. I like a sturdy paper so I might use a glue stick to adhere those thinner pages to cardstock or cardboard. Want to really recycle? Use sides from boxes such as cereal, fruit snacks, breakfast bars…whatever you have around the house!
Sock Matching Game
Grab that laundry basket full of clean socks and make a game of it! You might be thinking, “They’ll see right through it!” They might, but they are never too early to learn how to help around the house in the way of a fun game (and the more people matching, the faster the task is finished). Learning while having fun might lay a great foundation for years to come, and their future spouses will thank you, too! We’ve conducted timed races to clean up toys, “dusting competitions” (I’m honestly not sure how I’ve pulled this one off…and many times at that!). You can even make a game out of cleaning the kitchen floor (make a chalk mark in each tile/linoleum, and have them wipe each square with a clean damp cloth). By the time you’ve finished, it just might be nice enough to venture outside again.