“It rains 9 months of the year in Seattle.”
Yes. It really does rain that much. Boredom is a guarantee each and every winter. Here in the Seattle area, it is pretty easy to settle into a movie marathon for a good 6 months. The best defense is a good arsenal of quick and easy boredom busters. In an effort to give my children a little less screen time, here are my favorite boredom busters from this past TV free week.
Play Dough– Who doesn’t love a little ball of dough? Making homemade play dough couldn’t be easier. You probably have most of the ingredients in your kitchen right now. I love to add essential oils to my homemade play dough. The aromatherapy effect of playing with a ball of dough that smells like lavender or eucalyptus is just heavenly if you are stuck inside due to nasty weather!
Here is my favorite recipe:
1 cup water
1 cup flour
¼ cup salt
1 tablespoon cooking oil
2 teaspoons cream of tarter
3 drops essential oils
- Mix all ingredients minus essential oil in a small sauce pan and put on med heat.
- Stir well. It will get thick, then tacky, and then it will start to ball together and look a bit darker around the edges. That’s your clue that it’s done.
- Pour onto a heat resistant surface (my counter worked just fine) add essential oil.
- Knead until it has a uniform consistency.
- Get tools from your kitchen (butter knives, garlic presses, spoons, etc) and enjoy!
Story stones – In Waldorf education, storytelling is valued even more than reading books aloud to your child. The reason behind this is that as you tell the stories, they can change and adjust depending on the child’s age, mood, and needs in a way that a book cannot. On one day, the princess may marry the prince and live happily ever after, and on another day, she becomes a successful farmer artist with a flair for the color peach. My kids and I enjoy using story stones to give our story telling a little bit of a boost when we are feeling a lack of imagination. They are simply rocks I washed, painted, outlined in permanent ink, and covered with a coat of Mod Podge. But they hold magical worlds in which all things are possible and no reading is required. We love to grab them out of the basket as the story progresses and figure out how the new character or item is going to fit in the already growing story. It is a game that everyone can enjoy!
Transferring – This Montessori activity is not only great for the hand/eye coordination, but it strengthens their fingers for a good pencil grasp. Dry transferring activities are a huge hit with my youngest who doesn’t like to get dirty. All you need is two bowls, a spoon, and an item to transfer, like dry beans, cotton balls, or small glass floral gems. (No age warning here. You know your child best! But please, make sure the items you are giving them are safe for them to play with.)
And tongs. My kids LOVE tongs. Who knew? I added some cotton balls and tongs to the transferring tray and Luke thought this was the best thing ever. He was so serious that I couldn’t even get him to look up and smile for a picture. He was hard at work, keeping busy and learning at the same time.
The biggest thing I have tried to remember is to keep my own creative spirit open. If I am spending all my time at the computer or in front of the TV, then of course, they will want to as well! But if I spend my time reading, cooking, knitting, or being creative, it doesn’t take long before they wander away from that screen and want to join with me in my fun!