Winter Boredom Busters For Kids

Canadian winters are long. And this winter, brought to Ontario by global warming, has been weird; wet and uncharacteristically mild. The blanket of snow that covers the ground by now, providing hours of outdoor entertainment, has been replaced by a layer of mud. And unless you’re a pig or a female college student looking to make a few extra bucks, mud isn’t all that entertaining.
So, we’re trapped inside and it’s all fun and games until someone goes all Jack Nicholson in The Shining. “Heeeere’s Mummy!”
I’m not above using a Dora episode here and there to break up the day or so I can make an important phone call in peace. However, I try to make TV time interactive… if possible. I’ll randomly pause a program and ask the kids a question like, “What do you think will happen next?” Or, I ask them to summarize and retell what’s happened so far. Yes, they find this EXTREMELY irritating (which totally makes me laugh), but whatever kids, at least you get to flake out in front of the boob tube so, deal with it. haha
There are lots of easy Winter Boredom Busters besides television. 
I’m happy to report I have yet to chop down any bathroom doors to date. Some of our favourite indoor activities include:
WORD GAMES: Avery’s are still very basic and include simple classics like “Eye Spy” with versions including colour, shape, function, location in the room {high, low, under, over. between}.
My son enjoys more complicated word games like “Fortunately/Unfortunately.”  One person starts with a scenario like, “I know you enjoy donuts, but unfortunately, I ate them all.”  The other player counters with a statement beginning with fortunately, e.g., “Fortunately, a donut truck overturned in front of the house and dumped a load of apple fritters on the lawn.” This is followed by a statement with unfortunately. And it goes on from there. In about 89% of these scenarios, I somehow end up in jail. 
PRINTING PRESS: My older child writes/illustrates his own books (hole punched paper in a binder), while my daughter’s books are a team effort; she makes the pictures, and I write the words. My son has also started his own blog. It’s set to “private” so only friends and family can view it, but it’s his place to publish his stories. He also has a photo page where he can show off the pictures he’s taken with his camera.
USE OLD TOYS IN A NEW WAY: e.g., Puzzle Hunt – Hide puzzle pieces around the house Easter egg style. THEN as your child finds each piece, they insert them into puzzle.
SKETCHING: Go old school and have your kids sketch a bowl of fruit, the family dog, you {that’s always good for a laugh!}. We go through so much printer paper, I’ve had to hide my stash. For real.
“Business is slow today mummy.” LOL!

IMAGINATION: Puppet Shows are a great way for your kids to work together. We don’t have a proper theatre per se, but a kitchen island or half wall works just fine.

Playing “store” is another favourite. My son sets up a table in his room and displays his “wares.” He makes price tags and a sale sign, and invites his sister and I to shop. Actually, I shop, she shoplifts!

COOKING: … My kids love playing Iron Chef. Pull out a few child-safe bowls and some random ingredients and set a timer. Challenge the little chefs to create their own “recipe.” Then if you dare, taste it!
ACTIVE GAMES:  Activities that burn energy are essential. Without them, all of the above are useless as your little ones won’t be able to focus for more than 45 seconds. 

“Hall Ball” {Why yes, I did come up with that not-so-creative name} – this is so simple it’s ridiculous. Close all the doors in a hallway. Then give the kids an soft rubber ball and let them have at it.

“Alligator Island” – My two can play this for ages! Using pillows, furniture or whatever else you decide upon as safety islands, your kids must travel around the room without touching the floor or….they will be eaten by the alligator {who is usually in the kitchen starting dinner or checking her email}.


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