As much as we hope that April Showers only bring May Flowers, May also has its share of rain - sometimes so much that we wonder if the sun is ever going to shine again. This is enhanced as our children go stir crazy from being indoors. However, don't fret, we have collected some ideas to help occupy your little ones when sending them outside might not be an option:
Camp In: Treat them to an impromptu sleepover in the living room. Set up a tent or fort and fill it with multiple items such as pillows and blankets. Keep them fed with healthy snacks, turn out the lights, and give them flashlights for making shadow animals and telling stories into the night. Sometimes it is ok for them to have a late night and sleep in (gets you some alone time in the morning!). To have this done for you - check out Andreas' Camp In and maybe make it holiday themed!
Painting: (this might require more supervision for the young ones) Perhaps a mural with where the kids can have a free place to express their creativity. By covering a wall with paper in a roll, kids can use crayons or paint to connect to thei rinner artist (we suggest taping up some garbage bags around the space in case they like to colour outside the lines). Another idea is to take some large rocks from outside and create animals or replicate elements of nature like leaves. Afterwards, they can arrange it in a scenery to show off their exhibit.
Dress up: If you have a dress-up box, pull it out and if not, create one with hats, socks, coats, purses, shoes, boots, kid glasses, costume jewelry, old dresses, jackets, mirror, brush, old cellphone, old keys (No long pieces or belts etc that could possibly be choking items). Getting a chest from a craft store or local hardware store should be fairly cheap and you can also invite them to decorate that box. Provide the kids with stickers and markers and let them fancy it up!
Reading and Writing: I know, it can be hard on the best of days to get kids to sit and read. However, what if they had the opportunity to write their own story and draw their own illustrations. Making comic books can be fun. You can find examples and some tips here – they can choose to either draw everything out on paper, or use some of the digital tools available to them. They can pick their own character, think of a plot and bring their story to life.
Puzzles: Some love it, some hate it. Some love to hate it and hate to love it. Whatever way you look at it, puzzles can draw you in and challenge you. This is an activity they can do in their own time or as a family. Set out a puzzle you have all agreed on and place it in a common area (dining table or coffee table in the family room etc) and it can be a project that you can work on when you feel like it. However, if you are anything like most, it is hard to stop once you start seeing it come together.
Dollarstore Raid: Over the weekend, take the kids to the local dollarstore and equip them each with a specified amount of money (ie. $20) - and let them go through the craft aisle and pick out whatever they feel they will need /want to work with. Sometimes you don't know what you can use/need until you see it (that is how I shop anyway). This way, they can brainstorm a number of activities that they would like to do - and get what they need to keep themselves occupied for the after school hours during the week.
Kitchen needs a new cook!: Next time you are making dinner, invite your child to help. Pick a simple recipe and if they old enough, make sure they are comfortable using the oven and other kitchen appliances. Show them the recipe and have them lead the charge. Then as you make a habit of this with different meals, you might be walking into the kitchen to a home-cooked meal without lifting a finger!
Journaling: We all need some downtime with our own thoughts - and kids are no different. We found this wonderful journal Be True, Be You! This book helps kids start practicing gratitude daily as it includes pages for them to enter three things they are grateful for daily. Teaching our children from a young age to look for the good each day, is teaching them a way to be happy no matter the situation they may be in. Which is especially important these days.
Overall, remember that the true joy comes from spending time together doing anything. Sometimes a simple movie night with a load of popcorn and an abundance of cuddles is what you all need.
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