After a day or two of being cooped up inside, even standbys like TV, video games and board games can feel old and tiresome. Plus, these activities do little to engage kids' minds and bodies.
It's especially important to keep kids' activity level up with fun activities when they are stuck at home. Otherwise, they might come down with cabin fever and become more irritable or withdrawn.
Here are some ideas for indoor fun.
They'll never know it's exercise
Play cardboard-box basketball. Place a few open boxes at one end of the room and mark a throw line with a rolled-up blanket at the other end. See who can get the most balls or beanbags in the boxes. Move the throw line farther back for older kids.
Get into the swim of things. Have the kids put on their swimsuits and turn the bathtub into a kiddy pool. Let them splash soap-free (supervised, of course).
Have a jump-rope jump-off. See who can jump the most times without tripping. Keep a log and see if your kids (and you!) can beat your records.
Turn the garage into a roller rink or tricycle course. Move the cars to the driveway so little ones can cruise around on big or little wheels in the sheltered garage.
Creative and crafty pursuits
Get a head start on homemade Mother's/Father's Day cards. Round up the construction paper, markers, scissors, magazines, glitter and glue. Let the kids go to town.
Keep a sketchbook journal. Give each child a small notebook and have them draw a picture each day. You can assign a daily theme (family, places you've been, favorite foods) to start.
Make homemade puzzles. Glue a pretty page from a magazine or picture from an old calendar onto a piece of cardboard. Cut it into a few large pieces (or smaller ones, for older kids).
Bring nature indoors
Plant a mini-garden. Plant grass or herb seeds in soil in small pots and place them on a tray near a window. Water them every few days. When they're a few inches tall, cut off sprigs of herbs to use in recipes or trim the grass with scissors.
Create colorful window boxes. Poke the stems of fake flowers and plants into turned-over shoe boxes to make a cheerful floral arrangement for a windowsill or the kitchen table.
Make twig nameplates. Pick up thin branches and twigs from the lawn. Break them into pieces so each child can form the letters of his or her name on a piece of painted cardboard. Use dots of glue or pieces of tape to hold the twigs in place. Hang the sign on a bedroom door.
Feeling inspired? Have your kids come up with more activity ideas and write each one on an index card. Then when they complain they're bored, your kids can pull a card from the box for instant access to a healthy, fun way to pass the time indoors.
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