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As the short days and long nights of winter roll into February, both parents and kids start feeling bored by the old standbys for family entertainment. If you can quote the lines to all your favorite videos, and your best games don’t excite you anymore, it's time to try some new activities to chase away the doldrums and make winter your new favorite season.
Design Your Own Fun
Design your own fun with a creative art project. You probably have leftover art supplies from other school years, and now is the time to put them to good use.
- Create self-portraits. Try the old light-and-shadow trick in which you use a lamp to cast a shadow of your child’s profile onto a sheet of paper taped to the wall (make sure that your child is between the lamp and the paper). Once you have drawn around the profile, let your child decorate the profile with paint, markers, or crayons. Yarn makes great hair that your child can either glue or staple on.
- Make paint stamps out of erasers or cut-up chunks of potatoes. Simply dip the carved surfaces into washable acrylic paint, and stamp away onto sheets of paper!
- Create 3D collages by pasting elbow macaroni, spaghetti, or oatmeal onto paper; after they are dried, paint them.
- Collect all those short little pieces of crayons, peel off the paper coverings, and then put them into a muffin tin (cupcake paper is optional). Bake in a 250 degree oven for about 15-20 min., swirl with a toothpick, and then let it cool completely. You have now created some new round crayons that will change colors based on what you put in it!
Drown Out Boredom
If your child needs more action, try drowning out the boredom with bubbles or noise:
- Bubble machine: Make your own bubbles. Since there are different approaches to this, check out pinterest.com and type “bubble solutions” in the search box for recipes to create small, large, huge, and unusual bubbles. You could be a hero with this one!
- Percussion instruments: Save up some empty water bottles, and put in a few inches of various types of beans and rice. By adding some cornmeal, you can change the tone. Be sure that the lid is either twisted or taped down tight to prevent spillage. You have now created a percussion section!
- Play some festive music: Use a spoon as a baton to conduct the music while encouraging the children to dance and/or use their shakers. Plan a parade route and march around to the music.
- Make up your own songs: Make use of whatever instrumentation you might have around your home, and have your children suggest topics on anything from airplanes to ice cream. Make up silly lyrics and tunes, record them, and then enjoy the laughter when you play them back.
With a little forethought and planning, you can be ready for those days when your children need to stay inside. Let these fun activities become special memories for them in the years to come.