Have Fun Inside!
By: Rhea Seymour
When it’s too cold to play outside, you don’t have to turn on the TV to keep the kids entertained. Next time you’re snowed in, try these 12 activities to turn your home into a fun zone.
Create an obstacle course. Get the kids to take turns completing the course — crawling to a table, climbing over a chair and then bouncing a ball into a bucket. Use a timer and see who makes the best time. Try other indoor games too, like "Snowball over the mountain" and"Shoebox relay race".
Hold a Lego contest. Give each child the same number of Lego pieces, then get them to build something and choose the most creative structure, suggests Lisa Hall, director of the Eastern Start School Age Program in Oriskany, New York. Then serve this Lego cake.
Freeze dance. Everybody dances until the music stops, and then they must freeze in place. For older kids, add another level of challenge, suggests Hall. When the music stops, they must freeze and name a TV-show or book title at the same time. Or, make a Dance ribbon craft.
Play indoor basketball. Place a wastebasket on the floor and use masking tape to mark distances from the basket. Get the kids to toss in balls made with scrunched up newspapers. See who can get the ball in from the furthest distance away.
Other fun ideas here.
Bury treasure. Tal Fagan, a Chicago mother of 6-year-old triplets hides costume jewelry and fake gold coins and then has her sons go in search of the hidden treasures. “They love it,” she says. “They get dressed up as pirates and we talk pirate lingo — ‘ARRRR scurvy dog’ and all that stuff!” Find a pirate book review here. Then have an indoor picnic — perhaps on a deserted island? Try a few of Kaboose's yummy and kid-friendly recipes here.
Make marshmallow sculptures. Using mini marshmallows and toothpicks, the kids can create two-dimensional figures, like spiders, a marshmallow rabbit and three-dimensional marshmallow snowman.
Have a Hawaiian luau. On a sunny winter’s day, turn up the heat, get everyone into sunglasses, sun hats and leis, crank the beach music and pretend summer has arrived. Get inspired by reading about Hawaii, family-style.
Build a fort. Use an empty cardboard box for an instant fort or put a blanket or sheet over top a table. Feeling crafty? Sew a pillow for your fort.
Make a beanbag snowman. Fill a sock with dry beans and then wrap a rubber band around its middle and a second rubber band to form the head, suggests Nancy Castaldo, author of Winter Day Play (Chicago Review Press). Glue on button eyes and say hello to Frosty! Here's another bean bag pal.
Start a tournament. See who shoots and scores best with a table hockey tournament, says Hall. Or set up game stations with different activities: Lego, puzzles, art projects, cards and then every 15 minutes get the kids to switch activities.
Have a go at limbo. Secure a stick in between two chairs and then see how low your kids can go under it. Lower the pole after each round; the winner is the one who gets the lowest without knocking down the pole. Want a dance-related DVD? Read a review here.
Cuddle under the covers. On chilly days, Fagan and the kids get cozy under lots of blankets in Mom’s bed. “We read stories, nap and read more. It’s a simple thing but we love doing it.”