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Indoor Fun for those Wicked Winter Days

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The crazy weather is all over the news - from N’or Easter to La Nina, and Lake Effect to the “Atmospheric River” - it’s wild out there!

On those days when going outside just isn’t going to be fun - what do you do to keep the kiddos occupied and the mommy from hiding in the pantry all day drinking her favorite CabSav?

We looked around, and thought these ideas could warm up even the most blustery of days.

Indoor Treasures

Create an indoor treasure hunt - perhaps you have a theme (find three things that start with the letter T; or find three things that are red), or maybe you select items with a purpose (can you find three things that clean?  Or three things that you cannot wear?).

You can encourage the kids to bring you the things, or just take a piece of paper and write them down (or, if you have enough mobile phones or tablet computers, they have to take pictures of the items).

For older kids - throw in an element of science, such as, “Find all the simple machines in the house.” (remember, simple machines are: Inclined plane, wedges, pulleys, screws, levers, wheel and axle - you’ll find them all over the place!)

Improvise!

Everyone loves a great story - what could be more fun that building that story together?  There are a few great improv games that are easy to play, and make for lots of laughter.

  • One Word Story - sit in a line or circle and each person says one word at a time.  Start the story with a theme (“This story is about our dog, Ruffles”), or just go wild and see where it goes.
  • Two Truths and a Lie - have everyone make up a lie and write it down, and then add two truths.  Read them in a random order and then try to guess which is which.
  • 4 Item Stories - fill a hat or bowl with silly small items, things like party favors, a small toy, items from your purse, or kitchen gadgets.  Pick four of them, and make up a story about them.  
  • Advertising Agent - Use the same bowl/hat as above, filled with silly fun items, and instead of making up a story - each person has to invent a new use for the item, and then try to sell it to the rest of the family. Kitchen gadgets and hardware/tools are particularly fun for this exercise. For example, if you grabbed a screw driver - instead of selling it to drive or remove screws, you might sell it as a marshmallow roasting stick - now, think of all the virtues of this new marshmallow roaster!  A potato peeler becomes a pan scraper or cheese grater?

Wine and Dine (you get the Wine!)

Make up a fun menu, just like a restaurant menu - kids can write it out longhand,or you could even type it up on the computer and print it out.  Set the table with your best china (or your best plastic plates!), and have a fun dinner with your kids playing waiter and waitress - or, perhaps you want to serve them.

Extra fun? Make it a picnic - spread the tablecloth on the floor, pull out the paper plates, and everyone can eat hot dogs just like a summer picnic!

Hot Lava!

Pretend the floor is covered in lava.  Set goals for the kids - (you have to get from the couch to the kitchen without touching the carpet.  You can only use these three placemats - and two of you have to cross at a time), then watch them try to solve the challenge together.  Add time constraints, or sudden challenges (like they have to save the cat, too!)

Fitness Fanatics

Create a fun workout for you and the kids.  Include a meditation at the beginning to get everyone calm and relaxed - and then ramp it up with silly exercises like frog leaps and gorilla walking.

To get everyone really involved - give each child a chance to plan 15 minutes of the workout - then take turns leading each other through the fun!

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With these ideas, you can fill a few hours on a day when you’re trapped in the house.  Or, declare a “Pajama Day” and have the family stay home (even if it’s sunny outside), and play indoor games together for the day! Talk about quality time - your kids will love the creativity, and getting your undivided attention (and who doesn’t love to stay in their jammies all day!)

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