Kid Boredom Busters

Some kid boredom busters: ever thought of an all day pajama party, fashion show, or double bubble time to keep the boredom from sapping your kids?

When winter settles in, and long sunny days become short and dreary, challenging weather might not be your only problem. Boredom can become a factor for even the smallest of children. Stripped of unlimited outside playtime, children can become antsy, moody and downright irritating.

Every parent should have an emergency kit of entertaining ideas that are easy and fun. Even the yuckiest day can be exciting if you are prepared.

SMALLER CHILDREN:

Try some of these ideas with your kids that are under six. Don't just stick to these ideas, though. Let your imagination run wild. You'll be amazed at the range of things that will capture a young child's interest.

* Theme days: Have an all day pajama party if the temperature has dipped below the safe level. Stay in your pj's all day long. Watch favorite movies and pop popcorn. Have all the treats that pajama parties bring""hot chocolate, fluffy pillows, cozy blankets and fuzzy slippers. Or, if you have an adventurous outdoor family, have a "Campout Day". Build a tent out of your biggest blankets, toast marshmallows (if you have fire place), grab the sleeping bags and play hide and seek. If the day is an adventure, they'll forget about being cooped up inside.

* Stroll Down Memory Lane: Get those pictures you've been meaning to organize and let the little ones sort through them with you. Children love looking at baby pictures and seeing themselves in pictures. Tell them all about when they were babies, show them pictures of them with favorite relatives or friends. As you get your big album together, let them pick out several favorite pictures and help them make their own albums by gluing their snapshots to heavy construction paper (punch hole in an upper corner and attach with a knotted piece of string).

* Have A Teddy Bear Fashion Show: Dig out all your kids' infant clothes (this alone is exciting to small children) and have a teddy bear fashion show. Show them what outfits go with what socks, hats, etc and help them put together their contestants' ensembles. Once all teddy bears are attired to their satisfaction have them stroll down the runway (a large blanket or towel).



* Play Nursery: Most small children love to pretend to take care of babies. Gather all the dolls in the house (if you don't have any dolls then assorted stuffed animals will do) and set up a nursery. Find any play baby bottles (or let them use and old baby bottle of their own), plastic bowls, infant spoons, baby clothes, etc. Take care of the babies. Let them tell you what each child needs. Do they need a diaper, a snack, a song sung to them? Little ones love feeling like big ones by providing care for babies.

* Play In A Different Area: If your kids spent the majority of their play time in one or two specific rooms""let them explore. Make a bed tent in Mommy and Daddy's room. Have a (gentle) pillow fight with Mommy and Daddy's big pillows. Or, if you have a clubbed basement that the kids don't normally get to visit, take them there. Kids find excitement in a change of scenery""even when it's in their own home!

* Double Bubble Time: Do double duty by getting them their bath and letting them do something fun. Take the bubbles, usually restricted to outdoors, and head for the bathroom. While they soak they can blow bubbles, see who can blow the biggest bubble, or have a Mommy (or Daddy) break the bubble challenge. How many bubbles can you pop?

OLDER KIDS

Older kids have the advantage of video games and being able to read. Keep yucky days exciting by having games and books that are only used on days where they can't go outside. It will give them something to look forward to. Also, try some of these ideas:

* Dress Up Chest: Who didn't play dress up with their parents' clothes? Let your kids do the same. Have on hand a bag of clothes (both boy and girl) and old shoes that they can try on. Don't forget accessories! Strings of beads, clip on earrings, belts, hats, purses and sunglasses complete the ensembles. You'll be surprised at how many times they'll say, "You really wore this?"

* Invent A Board Game: Give your older kids a set amount of time. They must come up with rules for their own board game. Give them the art supplies needed to then construct the game board: construction paper, markers, glue, Popsicle sticks, stickers and anything else you have on hand. Once they have finished, let them explain the rules to you and then play with them!

* Bakery: Most of us have fond memories of Mom letting us help her bake. Get your kids in on the action. Find a kid friendly recipe, or better yet invest in a kids' cookbook, and let them help you decide what to make. While your all whipping up your goodies, take that time to go over kitchen safety rules with your kids. They are more apt to learn when they're having fun!

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