Ever hear this expression voiced around your house? If the answer is yes, keep reading. There are lots of television, video, or computer game options available in most homes:
But we all know they’re FAR too often the default choice of leisure time for children.
We worry that always using the audio-visual route to provide activities for our children will take away their imagination and a few hours of distraction just isn’t worth it. But what are the options…………….
So what’s a parent to do? There’s plenty that children can do indoors on their own without touching a remote or a computer. Here are a few ideas:
Read a book.
This is always the favorite of choice. Even though they can’t read on their own looking at a book is always an option. And don’t forget about your public library to keep your home library well stocked of choices.
Write a book.
Even if your kids aren’t writing yet, they can still compose literature on their own. Find blank books and let your kids illustrate a story. Write the words for them as they dictate them to you. These books will make great keepsakes later.
Act out a book.
Does your child have a perennial favorite book? Help them act it out — the plot may take a unique turn, all on their own.
Listen to a book.
There is a great selection of quality literature available for children. Download a few and either give your child some headphones, or play the book over speakers while they listen.
Make an indoor clubhouse.
Build an indoor playhouse. Get your child started and give them some sheets and blankets, and see how else they architect a little place of their own.
Perform a puppet show or play.
Hopefully you have a collection of finds in a dress-up box for your kids. They can use these to create costumes for a play, with you as the audience. Or they can let their stuffed animals star as puppets, and hide behind the couch for a dramatic reenactment starring their pretend friends.
A simple puppet show theater with a spring-loaded curtain rod and a piece of fabric in a doorway is easy to construct.
Have an indoor picnic or tea party.
Lay out an outdoor tablecloth on the floor, and enjoy lunch together down there. Kids think it’s a big treat to do the everyday in a special place, and the floor is one of those places. Or brew up some warm tea and have a little tea time in cups with saucers, alongside crackers for an afternoon treat.
Make homemade play-doh.
Making play-doh from scratch is incredibly easy, and you can make an endless array of colors with basic food dye. Plus, it doesn’t have that awful commercial-brand smell. Spread an outdoor tablecloth on the floor, and give children dull knives, a rolling pin, and some cookie cutters. Check out recipes on the internet.
Save up those TP rolls
Arrange TP rolls like bowling pins on one end of the hall. Stock up a few balled-up socks on the other. Bowl or throw at the “pins,” and you’ve got an indoor bowling alley.
Craft, Craft, Craft
Have opportunities to draw or create as often as possible.. Keep supplies handy and your children can grab supplies whenever the mood strikes. If they want to paint, simply use a handy outdoor tablecloth, and spread it on the kitchen floor.
Have a simple playdate.
Invite your child’s good friend over — this often makes for an even easier day, because your child has a playmate instead of asking you to play all the time. It depends on the age and the particular friend, of course, but it’s worth a try.
Play flower shop/or any shop
Create different shop ideas. The next time you’re at a craft store, pick up some fake flowers. Make some homemade plant labels, save some empty seed packets, and hang on to those temporary pots from store-bought plants — all these supplies will make great tools for a flower shop at home. A notepad, pencil, apron, tray, and play food are all you need to play restaurant at the dining room table.
Find a supply of some cardboard boxes.
If you haven’t recently moved or purchased a new appliance, go to your local grocery store and see if they have any cardboard boxes you could take off their hands. Bring a few home, and let your child’s imagination take over. They might build a castle, take off on a spaceship, or go sailing to a new world.
Go on a treasure hunt.
Think of some unusual spots around your house, or plant some treasures in rooms and on shelves .Then make a list of objects, and have your child go on a treasure hunt. If they can’t yet read, draw a sketch of the hidden item.
Children are seldom truly bored; they just haven’t exercised that part of the brain that requires them to use their imagination. Make a rule that if your child announces they’re bored, you’ll be glad to find them household chores to do. So if they truly can’t think of anything off-hand to do… eventually, they’ll think of something.
It’s a good lesson to learn that life is not always entertaining. If you’ve got a typical home, there’s actually plenty they can do. So don’t feel like you always have to provide options and events for your children. They’ll be just fine.