On bad-weather days, kids still need something to do to stay entertained and engaged. As a parent, there are tons of ways that you can sneak in some education while the kids play, and there are countless physical ways to help them burn off energy, too. Here are some suggestions from Mom’s Choice Awards:
The act of making something is fascinating for many kids: taking three disparate things and creating something new is a novel and thrilling experience when your world is still small. Arts and crafts can be a great way to keep your children entertained and learning.
When working on crafts, it can even help physical development through holding crayons, using scissors, placing gems and stickers, or other forms of fine motor control. For example, making pasta necklaces using yarn and penne pasta is cheap, fun, and gives kids the opportunity to practice lacing items. For more of a challenge, consider lacing a colander using chenille sticks.
When you’re young, there are all kinds of learning opportunities that are just plain fun. Try putting food coloring in different glasses of water and have them mix them together using an eye-dropper to see how colors blend and go from primary to secondary. Help them use colors to create milk art in a pie tin to make rainbows and swirls. Make paper flowers they can keep for themselves or give to a friend. A way to reach every child’s heart? They can use their new-found color skills to make slime, a project that will entertain all ages for hours.
Toddlers love to play in the kitchen, and even older kids will have fun since they get to eat the result! Baking and cooking are great primers in reading and following instructions and learning new words, and using measuring cups and spoons helps children learn and understand volume and fractions. Pathways point out these are useful skills kids can use throughout life. And not only do you give them more confidence in the kitchen, by instilling positive memories working there with them, but it will also become a place that they remember fondly and enjoy years later.
Even when you can’t go outside, it’s important to keep moving. When you’re home together, play games together that encourage physical activity, from standards like Twister to virtual games through Playstation Move, Wii, or XBox Kinect. If you’re playing fitness video games with your kids, just make sure you have an upgraded internet connection so your family can enjoy these games free of interruption. For those times when you need to take a break, pick up a new pair of noise-isolating gaming headphones so your kids can play video games while you enjoy some peace and quiet.
For more impromptu fun, consider traditional backyard favorites toned down for your living room, like Hide and Seek or Simon Says. Another great example may be Red Light Green Light, letting them try to catch you unaware. These games not only burn off energy, they allow kids to practice following directions and playing well with others.
Music is a classic way to soothe an overstimulated child, and it’s also a beneficial resource. Positive music encourages kids to be more empathetic, helpful, and sociable, so crank up some happy tunes when the day feels dull! Dance with an online video or just to your favorite playlist; it will help them burn off some of that energy and let you spend fun time together.
If you’re exercising, playing games, and dancing with your kids, pick up a few items of clothes to stay comfortable. For instance, a new pair of sleek and versatile leggings and a well-fitting T-shirt can keep you feeling great while you keep up with your kids.
There are thousands of ways to covertly teach your child under the guise of playing and having fun. By spending this kind of time with them, you are helping to set routines and habits that they will remember and value as they get older too. Even during poor weather, you can keep active inside while still growing and learning.
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About Charlene Roth
Charlene is a stay-at-home mom of four. She’s a chronic worrywart and can’t help but always be concerned for the welfare of her kids. She feels better knowing that she’s taking steps to educate herself – and her children – on how to stay safe in every circumstance she can think of.