Keeping Kids Busy at Home

Keeping Kids Busy at Home

Make your own hat game.

Make your own hat game. Photo by Shirley Ruhe.

Week four, and you’ve already used up all the good ideas for your stay-at-home children. How about trying one of these?

An outdoor scavenger hunt: Give each child a check list with boxes to mark: bug, dog, leaf, rock, flower, something red, something orange, stick, butterfly, bird, acorn, worm. Be creative.

Make dinosaur shadows: Place a 2-3 foot length sheet of white shelf paper on the floor. Put your favorite dinosaur figures (or action figures or mermaids) along the edge of the paper. Shine a light in back of the figures to cast a shadow on the paper. Trace the shadow and color in the figures.

Make birdseed Easter eggs: Add 1/2 cup hot water to package of plain gelatin. When dissolved add 1/2 cup cold water. Mix in birdseed and pour in two-piece plastic Easter eggs. Let harden. Pop out and “hide” for the birds.

Make a homemade bird feeder: Cover a toilet paper roll with peanut butter. Roll it in bird seed. Put a string through the roll and tie in a circle. Place on a tree branch.

Make your own ice cream (courtesy of the Arlington County Parks and Recreation Department): Put 4 oz. milk, 4 oz. cream 1/4 tsp. vanilla and 4 Tbl. sugar into a small ziploc bag and close completely. Put a cup of ice into a large ziploc bag and cover ice with a small handful of salt. Put the small bag into the large bag, with more salt, more ice until bag is full; close and shake back and forth for 5-8 minutes. Open large bag and take put small bag. Viola, you’ve made ice cream. Try other flavors by adding chocolate sauce, strawberries, M&Ms.

Try the hat toss: Turn a chair upside down so the legs are in the air. Mark a tape on the floor five feet away, 8 feet etc. Toss a hat to land on a chair leg. If you get a success, you get another turn. Keep score. Start with the closest marker on the floor and move back as you continue. The most hats to land on a chair leg in ten tries wins.

Story time: Tell stories of what you remember growing up: farmhands all came in at noon for dinner, milk delivered in glass bottles on your front porch, listening to The Shadow and Gunsmoke on the radio, taking a drive on Sunday afternoon for entertainment, walking to school in the snow in zero temperatures, gathering eggs from your grandmother’s chickens, cars with manual roll-up windows, dial telephones, Monday was washing day and laundry hung on the clothesline to dry, men wore hats when they went out; ladies wore hats and gloves to church. Ask them what they will most remember.