Monday, January 16, 2017

5 Favorite Indoor Boredom Busters

We just moved. The last time we moved we had one 18-month old child. This time we have two children and we homeschool! Even though our new home is only 20 miles away (our last move was over 1500 miles), it was significantly more work moving all our school books and learning supplies. Honestly, who knew we had so many books and board games! Or bookcases! I never realized we have 12 of them!

Thankfully, our move took place during our long winter break from school, so I haven’t been trying to juggle lessons along with all the rest. But in the mean time, I have two young children who are getting bored without access to their usual amusements. It’s the dead of winter in Missouri and they can’t simply run outside all day. Thankfully, all it takes is a willing spirit and a little imagination to have some fun! Here are five of my kids favorite boredom busting ideas for when they’re stuck indoors.

Build a Monster Box, a.k.a. beanbag toss

If you’ve just moved like us, one thing you have plenty of is BOXES. Turn a box into a fun game with a little imagination. Cut a mouth and shape the top flaps into ears or horns or hair. We decorated ours with poster paints and a sharpie, but you could use acrylics, spray paint, markers, or construction paper to give your box a little personality. Then feed that monster!

Make Beanbags

What’s that? You’ve made a lovable monster box and have nothing to feed it? Never fear, beanbags are fun and simple to make! You can use nearly anything to make them too. All you need is a needle, thread, some cloth, and something to stuff them with. We’ve used everything from washcloths to holey old jeans to sheets of felt to make beanbags with. And we’ve filled them with unpopped popcorn, dried beans, cotton balls, and even small wads of newspaper. It’s a simple craft that keeps little hands busy and yields a fun and versatile toy in a relatively short period of time! Once you have a few beanbags, the games are endless! Play hot potato, put one on your head and practice walking like royalty, start up a game of hackey sack.

Play Hide-and-Go-Seek with glow sticks

Hide-and-go-seek is a children’s classic favorite, but it’s even more fun when you shut off the lights and play in the dark with glow sticks! Actually, my kids call this game “Hide-and-Glow-Seek,” and it’s a favorite year-round, both indoors and out. You can go completely dark or simply low-light according to your children’s comfort level. My kids’ new favorite hiding place is the closet under the stairs which they have taken to calling “the Harry Potter bedroom.”

Cars & Ladders

Since we live in the city now, the kids spend hours just looking out the windows, watching the doings in our new neighborhood. They’ve developed a game where each kid picks a window and watches cars go by. They “collect” cars by counting them, but every time a service vehicle with ladders goes by all their collected cars “escape” (up the ladder, I assume), and they have to start over. Whoever has the most cars after an appointed amount of time is the winner. This game is fun because it can be adapted to be more or less competitive according to your family’s preference.

Tape ‘Em Up

Sometimes when the natives get restless all you want to do is tie them up and throw them in a closet so you can have a little peace and quiet for a while. Well, next time go for it! Only make it a game and not an act of aggression. My kids have had a blast taping up each others’ wrists with a spare roll of masking tape and then “busting out” of their bonds. Over and over. Good, cheap entertainment, I call it! Oh, and as a bonus, they gathered up all their used bits of tape and made a huge masking tape ball that has served to keep them busy for hours more. They keep adding to it and are having a grand old time. Sometimes it’s the simple things, right?

I hope you are having a wonderful winter and are not burning up with cabin fever just yet, but if you are, give some of these simple activities a try. You might just hit on a winner in your family!

This article was originally published in January 2015 by Home & School Mosaics.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

DPP Day 21: Planning

Eight weeks. That's how long our break from school will be by the time we start back after New Year's. It's been such a wonderful break -- much needed!  But our time off is drawing to a close and in these final weeks a good deal of my time is being spent planning our year. I love starting a new school year in January!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

DPP Day 20: Gingerbread Man

My first Christmas as a married woman I tried my hand at gingerbread men and have continued to make them every Christmas since. I prefer them plain because they're just that good, but of course there's a lot of fun to be had in decorating gingerbread men (and boys and girls)!

Today we packed up our cookie cutters and went to a friend's house for a rollicking good time baking and decorating gingerbread men. Most of the decorating was done by the kids (who have not yet learned the wisdom of "less is more"), but here's one I made as a sample for the kids to see how to use the supplies.


Gingerbread Men

Cream together until smooth:
2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup sugar

Stir in:
1 cup molasses
2 egg yolks

In a separate bowl, mix together:
4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Stir flour mixture into molasses mixture until smooth. Cover and chill for at least one hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. On a lightly floured surface, roll the doughnut to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place cookies 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven until firm. Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks. Frost or decorate when cool.


Bonus photo of the kids' creations.

Monday, December 19, 2016

DPP Day 19: Sycamore at Sunset

This evening I snapped a shot of the light from the setting sun illuminating the upper branches of our sycamore tree.  The sun sets so early this time of year, but it's awfully lovely while it's going down!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

DPP Day 17: Frightful and Delightful

It's not the worst snowstorm I've ever seen, but anytime there's snow on top of ice it gets awfully dicey out there.  But it is awfully beautiful watching the snow blow around from the warmth of the indoors. At one point I couldn't stay in any longer, so I grabbed my camera and went for a little trek around the house. The snow is delightful even when the weather is frightful!  

This is the house across the street from us. It's what I look at out our front windows day after day. Today it is frosted and lovely!

Friday, December 16, 2016

DPP Day 16: Where the Magic Happens

I spend a great deal of time with these keys this time of year -- keeping up with holiday events, weather forecasts, Christmas shopping, tracking deliveries, and sharing the festivities with friends near and far.  I've also been prepping some for our new school year that starts in January.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

DPP Days 14 & 15: Powdered Nose, Full House

I didn't have a chance to pick up my camera the whole day yesterday. I did snag this quick shot of daddy and daughter at the supper table with my phone. Daughter had been baking and was adorably smudged with flour -- or is it powdered sugar? She baked chocolate Christmas cookies for today's tea party!

Today we were up bright and early (for us) to get everything ready for a last minute Christmas tea party we hosted for some local homeschoolers. We had a great turnout and the house was bursting with fun! I snapped a few shots and then gave Miss M my camera to go around and photograph everybody. Somehow, this is still the only shot that came out even halfway decent. Oh well...