Well, it’s official…CABIN FEVER! These long winter months are wearing on everyone. As parents, our bag of tricks is running low. Let us give you five cheap and easy ways to help keep the kiddos busy during the last stretch of winter. Hang in there Mom and Dad, outside time is right around the corner!
- Make a few busy boxes. Use some plastic shoe boxes and put one activity in each box. Number the boxes 1-5 respectively. You can tell them you want them to do all five boxes or any combination. Make the activities something they can do independently such as matching, sorting, lacing etc.. It gives the kiddos a target and direction with some semblance of independence. Remember, the goal of these types of activities is NOT to get things correct. It is participation and completion of a task as independently as possible. Ideas for boxes could be; Lacing cards, sorting silverware, matching or making a Lego tower, play dough, putting cars in to drawn parking spots, using tongs to pick up items and put them in old medicine bottles.
- Homemade Play dough is one of my all time favorite things! It is cheap, SUPER easy to make and keeps kiddos creatively busy for long periods of time! This is the recipe I have used for years. It keeps for quite a few days in an airtight container or baggy. You can make this in the microwave: Add 2.5 C of water, 5 Tablespoons of vegetable oil and several drops of what ever color food coloring you desire into a large microwave safe bowl. ( I feel glass works best). Pop that into the microwave until it just starts to boil. While that is in the microwave, add 2.5 cups of flour, 1 1/4 C of salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons of Cream of Tarter in a separate bowl. Mix dry ingredients together well. Just as the liquid begins to boil take it out CAREFULLY and combine with the dry mixture. Mix until you form a ball. Kneed it on a dry clean surface. Let the dough cool and you’re ready to go! Have fun with vibrant colors! You can also add some lavender or lemon essential oil to make the house smell great. This only takes about 6 min. to make and the kids love it!
- Make forts! Get out all of your blankets or flat sheets and make some tunnels and forts. Children love crawling in them, taking books, cars, toys inside. Children on the spectrum may need you to model how to crawl under and play inside. Don’t be afraid to leave them up for a few days. I know this may be difficult for some of you that keep an especially tidy space, but, it may take some of our kiddos some time to explore these new spaces.
- Don’t throw those boxes away! Turn a shoe box into a car wash or an amazon box into a farm! Check out some ideas online of cool things you can do with just a box. Have the kids put stickers on it, paint it, use markers to decorate it. If you have a toddler, you can just cut holes in the box and have them put things inside! Balls, socks, pom poms….they love putting things inside of other things.
- When in doubt, BATHTIME! Most kiddos love to be in the tub. Bring out the shaving cream, scoops and cups. Sometimes just putting them in the tub for a playtime helps to break up a long day stuck in the house.