Friday, October 30, 2009

Mommy, It's Cold Outside!

The weather is cooling off (we had snow this week in Utah) and the days are getting shorter, this means less outdoor play and more time for the kids inside. With your kids constantly underfoot, it can be tempting to just turn on the TV or pop in a video game…and while a little of this is good (and heck, I know there are times when I REALLY need them to watch a movie so I can get a few things done around the house) too much TV is not healthy for our kids.

How can we keep them occupied when the weather is cold? Here are a few ideas that work for me:

- Turn up the music and have a dance party! Choose songs that are appealing to both kids and parents and get your groove on. My kids think this is great and just think, you will even burn a few calories (which is good, because you just might need to burn some after my next suggestion).

- Get the kids in the kitchen! I know, this means a mess for you to clean up, but kids really love to get involved in the kitchen. Whether you work on a special baking project together, or just let them help you make dinner, kids love being in the kitchen. Younger kids can help stir batters or get ingredients from a pantry or fridge (be careful which ingredients though, you probably want to give older kids the responsibility for anything in a glass jar or the eggs!). Older children can slice soft ingredients with a butter knife, add measured ingredients to a mix (start working on those fractions, and let them help measure too), scoop dough for cookies and much more!

- Have a good family library available (or regularly frequent your local library). Having books on hand for children to read when they come to you with the complaint, “I’m bored,” is definitely helpful. Keep it stocked with books about characters they love, or other family favorites. If the books interest your child, they are more likely to read them. (Sure, Littlest Pet Shop or Spider Man may not be the most educational of topics, but I have found by experience that finding something they love to read is more important to developing a life long love of reading than the quality of the books they read.)

- Stop what you are doing and take the time to play too. This is one of the biggest challenges for me. With five kids you should see the mess in my home, add to that the dishes, laundry and general upkeep, I can’t seem to find time to get all of that done, let alone sit and play with blocks or puzzles for an hour. But really, sometimes all it takes to get them playing is someone to get them started. Get out some puzzles and work on them together, read a story or two, build a giant tower out of blocks, I doesn’t take long, and more often than not your children will continue the activity alone after you have returned to your chores.

What indoor fun have you found that helps beat the cold weather blues?

- Christine

Posted by Christine of Random Thoughts With Chris

Featured weekly on Pink Lemonade Online Magazine

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