I wasn’t going to do it, but with day one of Hurricane Sandy nearly under our belt and day two coming up, maybe some of our tricks for house-bound kids will help others. So in the spirit of public service, here goes. I hope you’ll add a few ideas or two in the comments section.
1. Make pancake faces. Let the little ones help with breakfast and make characters with their pancakes. We skip the syrup, but have been known to use a little hair of whipped cream from a can.
2. Build a road. We love our road tape, that I bring out for occasions just like these. I have 2 girls, and I love that they end up building a whole town with their little animals and other toys alongside the track. Future civil engineers? If you don’t have this tape on hand, I could see a DIY version using regular packing tape and a Sharpie.
3. Baking. If you still have power, anything from a box is just fine. We’re making rice crispies balls and rolling them with Halloween sprinkles. I love these ideas from the Rice Krispies treats source.
4. Crafts for others. This time around, we’re finishing up treat containers that will go to school for Halloween. I got the idea from Kelly’s blog, The Centsible Life. I admit, it’s a little ambitious to make treat boxes for a whole class, but it’s keeping my kids busy over several days! We’re putting a small bouncy ball into the treat boxes instead of candy. Here’s another treat that I love to make because it’s fun to give away to teachers, favorite babysitters, or neighbors.
5. Don’t make lunch. Make a peanut butter zoo. I set out the fixin’s for our “zoo” and let the little ones make their own zoo. Slather a piece of bread with a thick layer of peanut butter. Then let them stand up some animal crackers, position some goldfish in the “pond”, use raisins and marshmallows for boulders. Pretzel sticks become the zoo enclosures. Sliced apples and strawberries become the slides and playground structures. My girls were building it all themselves. It was the perfect opportunity to mention architects and what they do, a possible career choice. (We covered zoo keepers long ago.)
6. Paper airplanes. By putting two lines of blue tape across am open doorway, we create three levels that the girls can aim their paper airplanes at. Maybe we assign points, maybe we don’t. It’s just fun to get them to play with paper airplanes. Maybe another career mention?
7. Research. We watch precious little TV and very few movies, but my 5 yo daughter is just at the age where she can start to research a little bit. We watched the animated movie Anastasia last night. I’m hoping we can interest her in a bit of research about a real princess (as opposed to the popular but less historical Disney princesses).
8. Tea party. What’s a day off from school without a tea party? I love to send the girls into their pink play kitchen and ask them to bake some muffins and see what they come up with. Very rarely we’ll have real mini treats on their tiny china. Usually it’s just practice for my little princesses.
9. Kitchen dancing. House-bound days are long for everyone. Turn up the tunes and dance! We’ve got some favorites, and I’m sure you do, too. No electric? No problem if you have an emergency crank radio on hand.
10. Pillow mountain. I’m sure every family has tried this at some point. We take every single pillow from around the house, throw it in a big pile, and then take turns throwing the kids onto the “pillow mountain”. I promise you we do it gently. It feels kind of good for everybody on a day like this, I think.
11. Write a book. This is especially good when I just need a few minutes. Just staple a few pieces of paper together to form a blank book. Haul out the old magazines and let the kids choose pictures they like, cut them out, and use a glue stick to paste them in their book. If they need help, I’ll ask them to pick a theme, like dogs or flowers. My 5 yo is getting to the point where she can create her own sophisticated storyline, and “illustrate” it with pictures of her own choosing. Be sure to have them sign and date their book.
One thing I won’t be doing? Organizing their closets. They’ve got more fun things to do today. You didn’t expect me to say that, right?
Those are some of my best rainy/snowy/hurricane day tricks. I hope it helps you get through Hurricane Sandy. What else can you throw in for me and my readers?
How will you keep your kids busy during Hurricane Sandy?