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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Dear Mom - March 15, 2008

Dear Mom,

I have two wonderful kids. One is 4 years old. One is 17 months old. Frankly, I just can not seem to motivate myself to have fun with them. I am looking for a few ideas for indoor activities that will get us all moving and having fun. I am looking for something other than arts and crafts because I want us all to be more active even though we are inside due to the cold weather.

Bored Mom

Dear Bored,

Let's face it. Every mother at some point in her life becomes bored with the activities that entertain small children. After all, we are NOT small children. There is only so much singing, marching and reading of stories that our adult minds can tolerate. However, it is important to try to fill your child's day with interesting activities.

Below is a list of some suggested activities to get you and your kids moving even when you are stuck indoors due to bad weather:

-HIDE AND SEEK: This is not the traditional hide and seek that you knew and loved as a kid, this game incorporates the use a few small stuffed animals and one really good room for hiding those animals. The living room is usually the best spot, as it typically has lots of furniture. You have your children wait in a different room where they can not see where the animals are hidden. Then, after you hide the animals is suitable locations based on the age of the child, you bring them into the room and let them seek the animals. This will last for at least one round and will likely turn into multiple rounds of hide and seek that only ends when you are too tired or too bored to hide anymore animals.
-THE TENT: Take a few sheets and blankets, combine with kitchen chairs and assorted pieces of furniture, drape cloth over furniture to create a really cool tent for the kids to hide in. You will hear them. You will probably not see them. If you are really motivated, you can turn your entire living room into a huge tent/maze. The kids will love you.
-MUSIC: Put on some of your favorite music from when you were a kid and start dancing around the house. Your children will join you. They will not be able to help themselves (unless they happen to be teenagers - then they will just stare at you like you are crazy).
-SOCK FIGHTS: On laundry day, take all the mated socks and divide your kids into teams. If you only have one or two children, then it will have to be the kids against Mommy. Set one team up on one side of the bed and one team up on the other side of the bed. Arm each team with a suitable number of sock bombs. Declare war on the other team and start throwing socks at each other. This fight will end in helpless giggling. As an added bonus, your children will probably love this game so much that they willingly offer to match and roll all the socks for you just so they can have a sock fight.
-COIN PLAY: Take all your saved coins and pour them in the middle of your floor. Be sure to choose a place where coins are not likely to be lost under the furniture. Let the children run their fingers through the coins, drop them to hear the sound they make, and just have fun playing with them. You can also use this as a teaching moment by pointing out to your children what each coin is, and depending on their age, what the coin value is. This activity can also be done using a large collection of buttons or Coke bottle lids of varying colors, shapes and sizes.
-WATER PLAY: Give each child a bucket or large pan with warm, soapy water. Include a wash cloth in the bucket. Turn the kids lose on your kitchen floor. They will enjoy "scrubbing" the floor (and making a complete mess). Be prepared for cleaning up with a few large towels. The kids will also enjoy "skating" over the floor to dry up the excess water. When they are finished, your floor may actually be clean enough to eat off of.
-CHASE: Pretend you are a lion or tiger and chase your kids around the house. When they've hidden in their rooms, pretend to slink away as if you've been outsmarted and then wait until they come back out. Turn around and give chase again while they run from you screaming and giggling all the way.
-HORSE RIDES: If you are physically capable of doing this, your children will enjoy this activity. Get on all fours and let one child climb up on your back. Have the other child lead you around while you give the rider a ride around the house. Switch places after a few minutes so that each child gets a turn riding and leading. You can use a scarf or ribbon as your "rope" for the leader to use.
-JUNGLE GYM: Take all the pillows and sofa cushions in the house. Pile them in the living room floor and tell your children that they need to climb the mountain. They will be entertained for a while just climbing up and over and down their very own jungle gym. Feel free to add in a few blankets, too. Depending on how motivated you can be, you can use this opportunity to vacuum all those cookie crumbs and dust bunnies off the sofa where they inevitably accumulate under the cushions.
-OBSTACLE COURSE: Set up an obstacle course using sofa cushions, blankets, kitchen chairs, and any other item you can think of. Show your kids how the course works and then time them while they maneuver through their obstacle course. Be sure to make this appropriate to the child's age and abilities.
-BATHTUB ART: Buy some bathtub crayons and markers. Run about two inches of water into the tub because these products do require water. Put your kids in their swimsuits (or birthday suits) and let them go wild on the bathroom tile. The crayons and markers are really easy to wash off the bathtub and the kids will have a blast writing on the shower walls. ***PLEASE NOTE: IT HAS BEEN MY EXPERIENCE THAT THE CRAYON WAX WILL BUILD UP IN YOUR PIPES AND MAKE YOUR DRAIN CLOG. TO AVOID THIS, YOU SHOULD POUR BOILING WATER DOWN YOUR DRAIN ONCE OR TWICE A MONTH, DEPENDING ON HOW OFTEN YOUR CHILDREN USE THE CRAYONS.***

The key in keeping yourself and your children entertained is variety. With a little planning, you will be able to fill your days with enjoyment. As you begin to see just how much your children love having you interact with them, you will be more motivated to continue finding unique ways to entertain them. Remember, your child's interests are the most important factor in any games you play.

For specific suggestions regarding this topic and your child, or any other questions you may have, please contact Mom at