We’ve been getting more snow than usual in the DC metro area (a little too reminiscent of my Boston days!). And while snow creates new opportunities for outdoor fun, there’s only so long one can stay outside before the wetness and cold seep in. After replacing soggy outerwear with comfy dry clothes and snowballs with hot chocolate, what are kids to do?
During that last big snow storm, when boredom set in, I gathered the kiddies for a little brainstorming session and we created an idea basket.
Huh? Well, we had to call it something, and that seemed to fit. Simply put, it’s a basket full of ideas and options … things to do when it seems like there’s absolutely nothing in the world of interest to do (and it’s a life-safer when you’re home-bound with the kids – for any reason!)
What You’ll Need
- Index or note cards
- Small envelopes
- Pens, markers or crayons
- Healthy dose of creativity
For me, there were two triggers:
- My seven year old declaring that there was absolutely nothing to do amidst a sea of options
- Discovering a plastic bin full of card and other small games that we’d completely forgotten
I mean, how could there be nothing to do with shelves and bins full of games, toys, activity kits, puzzles. But, to my daughter, except for a few choice things, they’d just become part of the furnishings.
So we came up with a creative way to find fun things to do on the fly … We wrote the name of each game on a card and stuck it in it’s own envelope, wrote the word ‘Games’ on each one and that got the basket started.
Then we started talking about random things we’d like to do … someday, like make hula skirts with newspaper, make sun catchers with the kit from last Christmas, create a time capsule, etc. (We keep a notebook in the kitchen to capture random ideas like this, so we pulled a bunch from there.) We put each of those ideas on a card and put each in it’s own envelope with the word ‘Activities’ on it.
We did the same for crafts: make bean bags, oobleck, play dough, crochet shoelaces, etc. Then we sorted the envelopes by category and put a clip around each category.
Now, when the kids are looking for something fun to do, we grab the idea basket. If they’re in the mood for crafts, we take the clip off the craft envelopes, spread them in the basket and then someone gets to pick an envelop. Same with games and activities.
The kids love the anticipation and the element of surprise. And, because they participated in the whole process, they get really excited about drawing an idea from the basket. The envelopes really add to the mystery and drama! Drawing from the basket also reduces spats around who gets to choose the game/activity/craft because selection is random. Now to decide who gets to draw the envelope …
Got a great tip for how to spend home-bound days? Please add yours in the comments section below.