Creative Child

Kids Activities: Mid-Winter Playdates

by Erin J. Bernard on Jan 15th, 2015

As winter wears on, delight restless kids with a new-and-unusual indoor play date! Movie nights, museum days, and one-thousand-and-one pillow forts are all fun and good, but by the time late January rolls around, most kids have grown rather weary of the same old routine.

Here are three off-the-wall kids activities sure to put a smile on their faces!  

Kids at Play

Build Edible Jell-O Castles.

Who’s afraid of a little mess? Dress kids in old clothes and have a Jell-O castle-building fair. It’s easy to make “building blocks” out of colored gelatin packets and ice cube trays, and this delicious activity can keep kids entertained for the duration.

You’ll need:

• Four or five square- or cube-shaped ice cube trays

• Jell-O (or another brand of gelatin) in various colors

• A large plastic sheet to cover the table

• Cornstarch (optional, to prevent blocks from sticking together)

• Bowls, one large and one small

Method:

• Prepare the Jell-O as directed, then pour into ice cube trays to set

• Empty the set “blocks” into a large bowl using a butter knife

• Place the bowl of blocks and a bowl of cornstarch on the table

• Build away!

(Adapted from www.kiwicrate.com)

 

Make a Time Capsule.

Who says history has to be dull? Invite kids to create their own “time capsule,” to be opened in two, five or 10 years, and watch the creativity flow.

For the “capsule,” track down an aging piece of Tupperware, an airtight lunchbox, or a mason jar. Then, decorate the capsule and fill it with notes and objects that will remind kids of life in 2015. They might write letters to their future selves, trace their hands on paper, or list things they want to remember as they grow older – the names of best friends, favorite foods, favorite movies. Other objects to include: photographs, small toys they’re ready to part ways with or, special rocks and shells.

On the next sunny day, hold a dedication ceremony for the time capsule, and have kids discuss what they’ve chosen to include and the memories the objects represent.

Then, bury the capsule in the yard (or tuck it away in an attic or closet). Make careful note of its location, and on the appointed future date, unearth your treasure and enjoy a blast from the past.

Check out WikiHow for a quick tutorial on this kids activity!

 

Stage a Play or Musical.

The task of putting on a play for friends and family can engross older kids for days a time, which makes it an ideal undertaking when you’ve got a houseful of kids and a long wintertime weekend to kill. It’s also an activity ideally suited to a bored brood of varying ages – older children can take on casting, coaching and directing roles, while younger children can audition, act and help put together costumes.

When kids are ready to stage their performance, invite an audience of friends and family to watch the show, and applaud their efforts with hugs and flower bouquets.

For free printable scripts, check out:

http://www.teachingheart.net/readerstheater.htm

http://www.thebestclass.org/rtscripts.html

http://pbskids.org/zoom/activities/playhouse/

 

So the next time you find yourself entertaining a houseful of restless little munchkins, how about serving up a cure for the common playdate? 

Erin J. Bernard is a freelance writer, editor, and photographer from Portland, Oregon. Before becoming a writer, Erin worked as a nanny and an ESL classroom teacher. She taught English at a Montessori school in Mexico and then ran an after-school language program in South Korea. Erin is the editor of the parenting guide, “Instructions Not Included: A Pediatrician’s Prescription for Raising the Best Kids on the Block,” written by Irwin H. Berkowitz, MD.

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