I’m going to get the electricity related activities out of the way first. They are a legitimate way to pass the time, even if they are not the best choice when trying to conserve energy (in the hottest or coldest part of the year).
Video games (DS, PS3, Wii, Xbox)
TV (on demand, DVR, rentals)
Music (turn on a CD, MP3 and “move it, move it”)
Now for some more “green” options. As I’m pulling things out of cabinets, my kids are rediscovering toys and activities they had forgotten. Guess this will be a good day to clean out cabinets and closets.
Puzzles – I have plastic baby puzzles, wooden preschool puzzles, and puzzles ranging from 24 piece to 100 piece as well as large floor puzzles.
Card games/board games
Read – read together, read separately. If you don’t have books all over the place like I do, write a story together. Let your imaginations run wild, just be sure to write it down then you can read it again.
Coloring – we have tons of coloring books, but you can create pictures with construction paper or printer paper. Use markers, colored pencils, crayons—have you ever really noticed the different textures that these media produce?
Build a fort – use sheets, blankets, table cloths, couch cushions, dining chairs, tables—then crawl inside.
Paint – I always have water colors around, sometimes from old school supplies. I’ve even heard of people who allow their kids to paint the fiberglass walls of the bathtub. If you have construction paper but no paint, try making designs with plain water.
Beads and lacing – with two girls, we have pony beads to chunky wooden beads. Shoelaces are easy to use (if you’re stuck at home anyway, just swipe the laces from your tennis). If you don’t have beads, or your kids are too little for that, but you have cardboard, old cereal boxes or even paper plates, punch some holes and show them how to “sew”
Crayon rubbings – Did you ever make crayon rubbings out of fall leaves? Go on a hunt for things that a fairly flat and will fit under a piece of paper. Now rub over the sheet of paper with the side of the crayon. Compare the different textures and designs.
Magnifying glass – If you have a magnifying glass (or two) then go on an expedition through your house. Have you ever looked at your fingers, carpet, or toys with a magnifying glass. If you don’t have one, maybe you should look for one (in the office supply section) next time you’re out shopping
Go through their toys – If your kids are complaining they are bored, ask them if they have played with their own toys in their room. If they only played for a short while or haven’t played at all, ask them which toys they are bored with and would like to give to someone else. They will either quickly go play (like mine) or will start getting rid of things.
Well, there’s the first installment. I’ll let you know if I find anymore treasures as we explore other cabinets and closets ;)