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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tips on Tuesday: Winter Boredom Busters Part 2

With Christmas just around the corner, this means there will be a lot of children out of school and at home with you. One of the things I hear lamented the most about the Christmas season is that the kids are too bored at home. If you end up with bored kids, try out a few of these boredom busters and see if you can fight the winter blahs.

Scavenger Hunt: Never underestimate the power of a scavenger hunt. Get a small reward of some sort (stickers, crayons, candy bar, etc.) and create a scavenger hunt throughout the house (or outdoors if you live where it's warm this time of year). If you have more than one child, they can take turns or hunt against each other with two separate routes leading to the prize. If your child doesn't read yet, use pictures or work with them to figure out the clues.

Gak - Gloop - Flubber: Doesn't matter what you want to call it, the result is matter how old you are! This recipe is great for those of you (like me) who make your own detergent because you have the Borax on hand. By mixing glue and borax, you get a gooey, oozing, cool substance that is so much fun to play with. WARNING: Gak can stain if you use food coloring and it is not edible. If your kids are too young to keep things out of their mouth, skip this. When you play with it, you might want to cover the surface of the table with wax paper or newspaper (not required). But be sure to keep Gak off of clothes and carpet.
TO MAKE: Mix together a 7.5 oz bottle of glue and 3/4 water in a bowl. Add 6 drops of food coloring and stir until mixed well. In another bowl, mix 1/3 cup water and 1 tsp. Borax (found in laundry aisle). Use a different, clean spoon to mix Borax and water until the Borax dissolves. Mix the borax into the glue mixture and stir constantly. It will get difficult to stir.
Let the Gak sit for a few minutes and then pour off any excess water. Take the Gak out of the bowl and enjoy!
Painting without Paint: Here's one for the bathtub! Take materials that are not paint and paint with them. Use shaving cream, pudding, yogurt, etc. and have a blast. You can do this on a table and "paint" on paper, but I prefer sticking everyone in the bathtub and letting them go at it. Then you hose them down and the mess goes down the drain.
A fun alternative is putting shaving cream on a mirror and letting them paint on the mirror. It's fun to see yourself through the shaving cream. WARNING: Shaving cream can discolor clothing so make sure you are wearing grubbies or a paint shirt.

Indoor Bubbles: Mix equal parts dish detergent and water together for a great bubble solution (Dawn or Joy works best). You can add glycerin (3 Tbsp for 2 Cups solution) to make them not pop as fast. Glycerin is found at your pharmacy/drugstore. If you add glycerin, you need to let the solution sit overnight before using. I've also added 1 tsp Borax to help give the bubbles more oomph.

Chalk Inside: I used to do this at the old house on my old carpet, but haven't tried it at my new house on my new carpet. I tested a spot on the carpet by coloring it with sidewalk chalk. It all vacuumed up without leaving a stain so I'd let my kids color on the carpet with sidewalk chalk. It was hours of entertainment and on a snowy day, we could pretend we were outside. Some variations I've used include purchasing a few carpet squares to color on (instead of my new carpet at my  new house). We did all sorts of chalk drawings on the cement floor of the unfinished portion of our basement. The garage (if it's not too cold) is another wide open space for creativity. Pull the cars out and shut the doors. Then chalk away. We even made race courses and would have tricycle races in the garage.

Make a Fort: Here's another one that even my teenager will get involved in. Drag out blankets and chairs and a card table and let the kids make a giant fort. My oldest gets yarn (and creative) and ties the corners of the sheets/blankets so they won't slip. Once the fort is built, they play in there, read in there, etc. for hours and days. Yes, it makes my living room look like a disaster relief zone, but the peace and quiet value is generally worth it. They also like to take in their flashlights and do shadow puppets and campfire stories. Let your imagination run free.

Game Night: How many of you have a game closet filled with games you never play? Drag some out and play them. Clear time out of your schedule to play with your kids. You'd be surprised how much fun you all can have.

Kitchen Creativity: Have the kids help make a simple dish with you. I love making a pudding pie. Prepurchase a graham cracker crust (or make one for added fun). Then use instant pudding. Instead of stirring, put in a tupperware container and shake it until it's ready to pour. Put in the crust and refrigerate until it's time to eat. You can also have them help add a layer of Cool Whip to the top and let older ones grate chocolate bars to sprinkle on top. Fun you can eat!
Some other easy things to make are graham crackers with frosting (and sprinkles if you dare). You can also whip up a batch of cookies or a pan cookie with the kids.

Finally, my last idea isn't some grand new experience, but a sage piece of wisdom passed to me from other moms. The best thing you can do to survive Christmas Break with your sanity in tact is remember one important truth. "The days are long but the years are short." Some days, we need to set aside our desires for peace and quiet and a clean home and remember our babies won't be a baby for very long. I honestly have no clue how I got a teenager in my house. I'm sure we brought him home from the hospital just a month or two ago. Take some time to build a memory with your kids. It's something you really won't regret.

1 comment:

Keeslermom said...

Here's my contribution: Take spray bottles and fill with water and either food coloring or tempera paint, thin enough to squirt. Then bundle up and go paint the snow. Make a few signs warning the neighbors not to eat the yellow snow...or the blue snow...or the green and red snow!

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