Passing the Time
The gifts have been opened, the food has been eaten and only one thought remains: What to do now?
January is the time of year that leaves many folks wondering what the answer to that question is. Just ask any parent and he or she will tell you it’s something they think about year after year. It’s cold outside. Sunshine is limited. And for many, the bank account is just plain empty. Kids are oblivious to these realities. So parents, here are some ideas to keep you and your kids entertained this winter.
It’s a simple idea really, but Amy Hanna and her three kids, Nicholas 6, Reece 4, and Erin 3, have pajama days. They get up in their pajamas and stay in them all day. It’s cozy. It’s fun. And it can be done any day of the week. The theme can continue throughout the day by serving pancakes for dinner or scheduling a family movie with popcorn in the middle of the day. The only downside Amy says to this inexpensive, family fun day is that the kids enjoy it so much they want to do it all the time. Who can blame them?
Another wonderful idea that Kathy Peele’s kids enjoy is to create their own obstacle courses and indoor carnival-style games. Her kids, Rachel, 6, and Christopher, 4, really enjoy the opportunity to play and win prizes. They gather items from around their home such as empty 2-liter bottles, beanbags, card stock paper and toys that they own and plan their activities. Mom often helps the kids set-up their obstacle course (including the use of their stairs) and steps back as they race to the finish line. Armed with a stopwatch and prizes for the winners, she enjoys watching them burn off some energy.
For their carnival games, the kids use some giant cardstock paper dad brings home and cuts it into rings to toss around the soda bottles and place cards for their mock cake walk. At the end of the games, they pick their prizes from the supply they have on hand. “They don’t care if it’s something they already have, they just like the act of getting a prize,” Kathy mentions.
While not my own, I too have an idea that kids enjoy in the winter: ice-skating. I’m talking about indoor ice-skating, in your own home! It’s an idea that we learned about through our Kindermusik program. Grab a couple of cheap paper plates, take your shoes off, leave your socks on (or not) and skate away. It works best on carpet and when paired with some music, your kids feel like they are stars. My daughter Anna, 4, has really enjoyed this activity the last couple of years. It is something the whole family can easily do.
Whatever you do this winter to pass the time, remember you are not alone. Parents all over are looking for creative, inexpensive ways to keep their kids entertained. Enjoy the tips, search for some more and look forward to spring. It’s just around the corner.