Whether it’s inclement weather or someone is home with the sniffles, filling an day inside with fun, enriched activities that DON’T involve putting in a DVD can be a challenge. Here is our list of stay-at-home activities that prove to be a good time for both child and adult.
2 cups of flour, 2 cups of water, 4 tsp. cream of tartar (found in spice area of any supermarket), 2 Tbs. oil, 1 cup of salt, food coloring (mix into the water before adding to saucepan). Place all the ingredients into a saucepan over medium heat. Stir continuously. The mixture will be watery at first, then lumpy. Keep stirring until the mixture is one big lump, about 5 minutes. Take out of the pan and knead until smooth. Make sure not to overcook. The dough will be softer and last longer if it is taken off the heat sooner and kneaded longer. Let cool and store in an airtight container. For an added treat, add some glitter while kneading!
2. Use shaving cream in the bathtub or shower.
Children love the feeling of thick, smooth shaving cream and spreading it all over the tub walls and themselves. Grown-ups love the easy clean-up; just rinse and it’s done.
3. Read a book. Or three.
Nothing is as important as reading to and with your child. Use the stories as a jumping off point for discussion and conversation. Books inspire language.
4. Cook together.
There’s chemistry in the kitchen, and cooking always provides yummy, instant gratification. Mix, measure, chop and bake. Cooking satisfies so many areas of development but the family bonding is best!
5. Make a magazine collage.
While you are catching up on your periodicals, give older kids safety scissors or just let the young ones tear out their favorite pictures from old magazines. After, give them a glue stick and some paper and make a beautifully graphic collage.
6. Plant an herb garden.
Watching plants grow is fascinating for children. Playing with seeds and dirt is a hit and daily maintenance provides an opportunity to take responsibility. Planting herbs is doubly exciting…they are small enough for the kitchen and can actually be used in cooking.
7. Use your imagination.
Children love to dress-up, use props and create imaginary worlds. And with a little help from a grown-up, a bedroom can be turned into a farmer’s market, enchanted castle or old-fashioned fort.
8. Bust out your craft kit.
Having a shoebox filled with feathers, rhinestones, foam shapes or any leftover materials from the craft store can provide an instant art project. Our favorite is to keep cheap frames around and have children decorate them to give out as presents.
9. Make homemade cards and wrapping paper.
Using homemade cards and wrapping paper adds a very personal touch to a friend or relative’s special day. Anything works, but we love stamping newsprint as wrapping paper and coloring and stickering simple white construction paper for cards.
10. Use a camera.
Allow your child to use a digital camera to snap photos of their favorite things. Then print out some photos and use them to make a personalized scrap book or even as the images for a storybook you write together.
By Aaron Goldschmidt, Founder & Director, Shine