Stuck Inside: How to Get Brains and Bodies Moving on a Wintry Day
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Does the phrase “snow day” strike fear into your heart? Do you blanch at the thought of dragging your kids out in the rain to an over-crowded museum or shopping mall? Odds are that you already have everything you need to entertain them at home. They’ll have so much fun, they won’t even know they’re learning!
Cardboard boxes are your friends. Got a huge one from a new fridge or washing machine? Make a puppet theater. Cut off the flaps and one side and discard. You’ll have a U shape that can stand on its own. Cut an opening at preschooler height in the front square. Let the kids decorate the theater with markers while you hunt down unmated socks (you know you have a bunch somewhere). With a few permanent markers, socks become puppets. Extra credit for stapling cloth curtains to the theater and sewing yarn hair onto the puppets. The best part? Not only have your kids gotten busy building, they now have an excuse to exercise their imaginations and confidence by making up stories and acting them out.
Only have regular-sized boxes? Cut off the top flaps and stack them on their sides (bottoms in the back) to make an apartment building. You can use an exacto knife to cut windows and doors, and kids can draw rugs, curtains and decorations on the walls. When they’re ready to play, encourage them to be resourceful in making and finding dollhouse furniture. A straw can be a firefighter’s pole, an empty matchbox stuffed with tissue a bed, a compact the mirror, a paintbrush a broom….
Tomorrow, you’ll jump in puddles; today, you can splash around inside. Fill your kitchen sink with water and round up a selection of goodies to see what sinks and what floats. At this age, kids don’t need to know why wood floats and paperclips sink; it’s more important that they understand the same objects consistently perform the same way in order to hone their observational skills. Ask them to predict in advance what will sink and what will float, and keep track of the results. It’s the first step in becoming a real scientist.
Getting the Wiggles Out
Even the best-behaved preschooler tends to get a bit antsy when trapped inside all day. No matter how small your home is, there’s room to stretch little legs.
Turn two chairs back to back about two feet apart and balance a broomstick slightly lower than preschooler height. Instant limbo party! The rules? Bend down and squeeze beneath without letting hands touch anything. Too easy? Try it backwards.
Too complicated? Get out the music and dance your troubles away, play a round of ring around the rosy, use masking tape to make a hopscotch pattern on the carpet, or see how long you can crawl/jump/hop one-legged around the house.
Whether your kid’s an outdoors enthusiast or a couch potato, there’s plenty of fun to be had at home. So come on in…the weather’s fine inside!
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