After the excitement of getting new Christmas toys wears off, your kidsand consequently, youcan go stir crazy with boredom during the long, dark days of winter. Here are some creative (and cheap!) ways to keep the troops occupied until the first sightings of spring.
Stage an Indoor Stuffed Animal Hunt.
Collect the stuffed animals in your house (including all the Beanie Babies) and give them to a designated "hider." While everyone covers their eyes, the hider puts the rabbits, pandas, and teddy bears in secret locations throughout the house. Then it's a mad scramble to find the stuffed animals.
One clever mother strategically hid dimes around the house during Saturday morning chore time. As her children vacuumed behind furniture and dusted shelves, they were rewarded with finding money.
Celebrate Nontraditional Holidays.
Did you know that January 23 is National Pie Day? Get the family together, mix up some pie crusts, and bake pies. January 27 is National Backwards Day. Serve spaghetti for breakfast and pancakes for dinner. Walk through the house backwards and do other silly "backward" things. Who wouldn't want to celebrate National Popcorn Day on January 29th? In addition to making popcorn, get sticky and make popcorn balls. Draw a winter picture and glue popcorn on the paper to represent giant snowflakes. For a description of more than 3,000 unusual holidays, check out Celebrate Today! by John Kremer (Open Horizons).
Host "Crazy Indoor Olympics."
Everyone competes in a variety of unusual events such as:
Javelin throw: Contestants throw cotton swabs as far as possible.
High Jump: Compete to see who can jump over the most pillows.
Discus: Toss cotton balls with all your might and see who gets the farthest.
Standing Grin: Measure everyone's smile!
Prepare an awards ceremony where contestants receive "medals."
Make a Family Documentary.
You may think your life is ordinary, but missionaries in undeveloped countries marvel at our way of life. Check with your church for names and addresses of people they support overseas who might appreciate this day-in-the-life glimpse at your family. Include photos of your school, family pets, and even your bathroom. After the pictures are developed, put them in a photo album with captions and a suggestion for further contact with the missionary. Often the missionaries write back, describing their work and personal life. This exposes children to different cultures.