It's not summer break, but having the kiddos home from school over the holidays can drive you to insanity. They're excited for Christmas, Hanukka, etc., and you're desperately trying to get the house in order before Uncle Jed arrives with his new dog. To top it off, it’s been raining non-stop for a week. Trying to keep the kids entertained can be mind boggling. If you’re feeling as if you’re at your wits-end, try a few of these suggestions for bringing some activity indoors without losing your mind.
Play-Dough! One item sure to please and you can make it yourself. Incorporate the kids into the process to make it a family affair! You’ll need:
2 cups flour2 cups warm water1 cup salt2 Tablespoons vegetable oilFood coloring
Mix all ingredients together. Stir over low heat. After dough pulls away from sides, remove from heat and cool. Make sure you cook it long enough so it feels like Play-Doh and doesn’t get sticky.
Turn the dough onto clean counter. Knead until smooth. Divide the dough into balls for coloring. Make a divot in the center of the ball, and drop some food coloring in. Fold the dough over, working the food color through the body of the playdough, trying to keep the raw dye away from your hands and the counter. You could use gloves or plastic wrap at this stage to keep your hands clean- only the concentrated dye will color your skin, so as soon as it’s worked in, bare hands are fine. Work the dye through, adding more as necessary to achieve your chosen color. Store in air-tight container or bag.
Tried the Play-Dough and need something a bit more entertaining? Try fingerpainting. Make your own and paint cardboard boxed, grocer sacks or whatever thick paper you have on hand. You could even use a few layers of newspapers. Here’s the recipe:
2 cups white flour2 cups cold waterFood coloring
Put water into a large bowl. Slowly add the flour, while children stir. Once it’s all mixed together, divide into smaller bowls and add food coloring.
Once you’ve decorated those cardboard boxes, put them to use after they’ve dried and let the kids make a fort. Add markers, cut outs, curtains using blankets and more.
For some less industrious activities, have a gym party. Have everyone change into their exercise outfits’ (they choose). Put on some wild up-beat music and lead your little class in sit-ups, jumping jacks, push-ups, running in place and more. Spice it up with using the Simon Says’ game idea, do finger exercises, exercise while sitting in a chair, move from room to room, doing a different exercise in each room. When you’re finished, have a healthy snack of finger carrots and juice.
If it’s lunch time, take the kids on a picnic! Spread a tablecloth on the living room floor and sprinkle some plastic ants on top for effect. Bring out the chips, sandwiches, etc. and read a favorite story together. For a picnic game, try Duck, Duck, Goose’ around the table cloth!
Card games, board games, charades and Pictionary-type games are always fun for kids on a rainy day. Liven it up by writing your own Pictionary ideas.
Something fun that has been around for years and uses up those old crayons is making new crayons! Melt the broken/used ones in the oven, creating new’ colors in paper-lined muffin trays (make sure to remove outer paper on crayons first). After heating on 250 for about 10 minutes, remove and let harden. When cooled, bring out the paper and let the artists in your house draw til their hearts content.
A treasure hunt throughout the house is welcome rain or shine. Plant clues throughout, one leading to the other with a prize at the end. The kids will be kept busier with the more clues you have, so why not keep them going with a basket of goodies at the end filled with new coloring books or drawing pads, puzzles, markers, crayons, etc.
The key to making rainy day’s kid successful is to be prepared before they are here. Keep supplies on hand at all times, with a few treats’ stored away for emergencies. Not only will the wintry, wet days be met with less duress, but also you’ll find some of your best memories will be made indoors!