My son is seven and like most seven-yearolds, he’s brimming with energy. As I write this, we’re deep into winter and though it’s been relatively temperate, Michigan winters can be aggressive. There will be days he’ll be home, stuck without school but also facing below temperatures outside which will mean playing outdoors for any real length of time would be uncomfortable and ill advised. It’s a good idea to have a game plan for days like this.
Every child will have different interests and some of these ideas won’t necessarily work, but they can certainly be tailored to suit their needs.
This idea I credit to my son’s Mom. She’s collected plastic bins that she keeps either high in our son’s closet or in a lower, reachable shelf in the kitchen. The bins have holiday craft materials, but also just collections of glue, paint, construction paper, string, and quick kits purchased from bargain bins. The best time to collect these goodies is immediately after any holiday at stores like Michaels or Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts
After board games and puzzles have gotten a bit stale, it can be fun to have a Lego set handy that can be torn apart and put back together. Many times, pieces may need to be put together in stages. That means you can work cooperatively to build the dinosaur or space police cruiser that will later be played with.
Make Some Music
Not everyone is a musician, and you may not want a lot of racket in the house- that’s understandable. But there are all manner of toy instruments available, from maracas, to guitars, to bongos that little kids can get into. You may want to suggest that if they’re going to watch a favorite cartoon (especially the musical ones), they might want to try to play along with their own instruments. This is best for children a bit younger than my son- say, pre-school and kindergarten.
Browse and Play Together
There’s really nothing wrong with just browsing the Internet, watching TV, or playing video games, if it’s done within proper time limitations. That said, this is a great opportunity if you’re snowed in to get to know better know your child’s interests. While they can certainly have time to themselves, sit in with them and watch that cartoon or play along or even cheer on some video game play. Bonding doesn’t always have to be “forced fun”, but electronics don’t have to be baby-sitters either.