Keep the kid busy

Resident Monster

Man, I hate winter.

Quite apart from the monotonous colour of the landscape and the congealing of flesh upon exposure to the wind, there’s the element of cabin fever that starts to set in in February.

Katherine and I have been rattling off each other lately, irritating each other for no good reason. Part of it is that John is gone for longer each day in winter (it took him 1.5 hours to get home last night, a run he can do in 25 min in summer). So we’re car-less for longer each day and alone together for longer each day. Eleven hours together straight is a lot. For anyone.

So I’ve developed a bunch of coping strategies to get through and stave off boredom:

  • reading together time – we curl up together on the couch with a stack of books each and read. Actually, I read and she squirms. Sometimes I read to her (she loves The Hobbit) and sometimes we talk.
  • baking things
  • colouring sheets and worksheets from this site, among others. Katherine is really enjoying the worksheets and her numbers and letters are getting more and more recognisable
  • throwing the ball down the stairs for the dogs. I sit at the top and throw. Three dogs plough down the stairs and ricochet off the wall at the bottom. Katherine laughs at the resulting pile-up. Luckily the wall has concrete behind it…
  • Train tracks – today we built one that later tripped me up in three separate rooms.
  • The library – Katherine will happily read by herself at the local library for an hour or two while I peruse the gardening section or somesuch. The library is, happily, within walking distance.
  • Art supplies – I’ve laid in a good stock of clay, paint, glue and paper and we’re doing various weird things with them. Mostly they involve Katherine coming up with an idea and implementing it with more glue than paper and more execution than planning, but it kills time.
  • Planting things – we have basil, snowpeas and lettuce growing. Next week we start a sprout garden.

I’m open to some other suggestions. Anyone have some things to do indoors with a kid in winter that won’t break the bank, cause adult brain stultification or involve hours in front of some screen or other?

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5 Comments Add yours

  1. Deb says:

    When I was trapped inside on bad days with mine (now 26 & 21) the after lunch bubble bath complete with many plastic toys and kitchen implements became a big hit. Good thing too, by dinner and bedtime I was ready to let them go down dirty.

  2. Dovetails says:

    Do you know the Swallows and Amazons series of books by Arthur Ransome? Though some of the language is a little dated (I believe they were first published in the 1930s), they have been reprinted in the last few years and are great read-aloud books.

  3. Diane says:

    If you touched up that photo with the red-eye tool, I’d feel better about your being in the same room with her….
    She’s cute but she’s a little devilish, isn’t she?

  4. natalya says:

    edamame in the pods as a snack, good to keep them busy for an hour…. which is how i’m finding time to leave a comment!

  5. Louise in SW Saskatchewan says:

    As a live-in nanny to 3 ACTIVE youngsters, 3,6, and 8, I’m getting good at finding stuff to do with them when it’s too cold to go out and so we don’t get bored. It sounds like you and K do a lot anyway. A good idea I got from the little guy’s pre-school is to fill a good size container with lentils and use it in lieu of a sand box. The kids seem to LOVE it.

    Anything they can MAKE to eat later or immediately also seems to be a hit.

    I had fun painting fabric with them one day – the 3 yr old really enjoyed it.

    We’ve started doing some plastic canvas needlepoint kits…..the 3yr old wanted to try it as well…… I was amazed at how much co-ordination is required for him to put the needle in and draw it out correctly……but he persists and is quite happy to do it.

    Puzzles are fun………for all of them. I found some blank puzzles for the kids to draw on and later give to friends as birthday cards at the Bookstore at the Medicine Hat College.

    Balloon Ball is a GREAT indoor game. Blow up a balloon and bop it around……… try to keep it from touching the ground.

    We’ve started playing hall soccer….. typical bungalow bedroom hall with all the doors shut…… kids can kick the ball (I use a soft rubber ball about 8-10″ in diameter) indoors without breaking stuff. We’ve also done a variation with a small ball and mini hockey sticks. Gets them active and some of the pent up energy out of their systems.

    Don’t forget the tents ……. and indoor picnic opportunities. Kids can make the homemade tents into anything.

    Stuffed animals make great picnic companions

    These kids are imaginative and often just need a suggestion to go off and develop a make believe game they will play all afternoon.. course there are 3 of them.

    I drew an outline around each of them on newsprint from a roll and they spent a good part of an afternoon colouring it to suit themselves.

    Dress up works well too.

    Hope there are some new things you can try!

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