Thursday, July 17, 2008

Stuck at Home

My first post on this blog was about what to do in the summer. I talked about fun and free places to take your kids. One reader however brought up a good point: What if you can't go places and have to entertain your kids at home? If you're a one car family and it's too hot outside to go anywhere, the day's can get long and mundane. Her situation can be particularly boring at times because she only has one child (no playmates but mom). I know, I've been there. We have one car and my husband's work is about 45 minutes away, so not like I can just drive him there. So what do you do to keep your sanity when you're caged up?

(I'll post my ideas as a comment, you do the same)


Jodi Jean said...

lots and lots of WIGGLES!!

luckily we have a park and friends with a pool close by ... so we go often (although its almost too hot to hang at the park ... even at 9am ... YIKES!)

and here's my dilemma ... aidan goes down at night easily, but lately it's been pulling teeth to get him to nap (like it takes me an HOUR to get him to go to sleep) then he only sleeps for 20-30 minutes and wont go back to sleep no matter what? any advice???

Real Momma said...

1. Chores For All- Get your kids working with you so you can have more time to play with them and they pass the time. Even as simple as taking their clothes to the hamper after getting dressed or unloading spoons and forks from the dishwasher. I pile the kids shirts and dresses on the bed and give my daughter hangers to put them on (she can't reach the bar, but she can "hanger" them).

2. Forts- As a kid I loved making forts with my brothers. Pull out some chairs, sheets and blankets and set up camp. Find some flashlights and do shadow puppets.

3.Make Musical Instruments- baby food jar shakers, oatmeal container drum, comb and wax paper kazoo, etc.

4. Dancing- Go to (or search your collection) and find great dancing music. My kids favorite was a German swing CD my husband brought home (they're so weird). Glue long ribbons on sticks or sashes to "express" the music.

5. Act out stories with props and voices or do a lunch bag or sock puppet show (put a blanket over some chairs or hang it over a broom stick in between).

6. Picnic/Tea Party- on a blanket in the house if necessary

7. Kiddie Pool, squirt guns, newspaper boats (float the boats in a bucket or bathtub if no pool)

8. Nature Collection- give them a paper bag and a list (verbal) of things to find. Do leaf rubbings with crayons.

9. Visit Parents or Family Fun to find crafts

10. Playdates- Volunteer your house for playdates, exchange b-sitting with a friend, or even volunteer to just watch someone's kids so your child has chances to socialize.

11. Encourage Independence- Don't feel you need to be constantly entertaining. Encourage them to use their imagination and do things on their own.

12. Be Spontaneous- My daughter became a hypochondriac after her friend broke his wrist and wouldn't even let the baby crawl because she was convinced he'd fall and break his head open. We pulled out her "body book" and made a "see-through" Emma (Basic body shape to color with sketch of bones behind) to show her what her bones looked like and talked about how they work, etc. She had fun and allowed us to start moving again.

13. Games- Animal Charade,
I Spy (shapes, colors, etc.), or when I babysit the kids play "ghost chase" and throw blankets on their head and chase each other

14. Bake- sit your toddler on the counter and let them stir or tie an apron around a bigger kid and let them stand on the chair to play chef. Teach them about sharing and service by taking the treat to a neighbor.

15. Look at pictures- my daughter loves looking at her old baby pics and scrapbook pages (she's kinda vain- she knows she's adoreable)

16.Laundry Basket Rides- and if they're a good pusher maybe they can have one too :)

17. Phone Calls and Webcam with family

18. Bowling- stuff empty soda bottles with shredded paper

19. Car/Train races

20. Rice in a bin (homemade sandbox)

21. Food Dye on noodles (throw a tarp, plastic, or newspaper underneath-hmm same with rice probably- #20)

22. Swap or borrow movies from a friend

Real Momma said...

Okay, so if that last post waasn't long enough I forgot one thing:
23. Arrange for a car now and then (once a week?)- Drive honey to work or bus stop or carpool or something and plan a day out. You need it and your kid(s) need it. Trust me, kids get to be weird if they're never taken out.

Robin B said...

I would suggest treasure hunts. Draw picture clues and or write clues and have them go around the house or yard and find the clues and then at the end they find a small toy or treat. My kids love doing this and they are now starting to create their own.

Also has lots of cool ideas that aren't to expensive to buy the kits for like making water ball polymers, or exploding diet coke with mentos.

My kids also like to play computer games on (this is free and educational)

We also try to do storytime where we read books together.

My favorite is quiet time where they have to play quietly in there room for an hour and if they fall asleep even better.

shayla said...

Wow!! Thanks everyone for all the good ideas! I feel so uncreative. I never would have thought of most of these things. We play with toys, listen to music, and read books. That's about it. Oh, and Brighton wold love for me to chase him around the house with a vacuum all day, but 3 minutes of that is about all I can handle at a time.

I'm most excited to try out the forts, the dancing wands, the indoor picnics, and the treasure hunts. Those should keep us busy for awhile. And then on to some of these other goodies!

Thanks again!

Gina Rochelle said...

Here's some more my sister-in-law sent me

lindy cannon said...

Do you have an artistic toddler who also can't resist the urge to put everything in his mouth (crayons, glue, any craft supply etc) I finally have the solution. It wasn't my idea but I think it's great. Finger painting with edible paint. You use vanilla pudding (food coloring added to make different colors). Young ones can have the pudding put dirrectly on thier highchair trays and older kids can be given their very own cookie sheet. It's messy so I take my sons' shirt off and put him in the tub afterward. The activity is fun and finally allows him to use his artistic talents. Make sure you have a camera handy!

Pease Family said...

Hi, I just found your blog through a mommy friend. I just wanted to add that trading books and toys with other moms is great for keeping kids entertained. I'm sure you've all been at the point where your kid(s) are bored of their toys and games so it's great to switch it up. The bonus is that when your toys/books come back, it's like their new for the kiddos. Thanks for such an awesome blog!