5 Ideas for Fun on a Dreary Day


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January is often cold and gray, but there are plenty of simple pleasures to enjoy with your children when the weather prevents fun outside. It may be tempting to hop online or play video games all day, but think of it as a good opportunity to unplug. In fact, dreary weather provides an opportunity to connect with your kids in old-school, unplugged and creative ways.

1. Bake. Let cold weather inspire you to bring magic and comfort to your kitchen. Can't decide on gooey cookies or fancy cupcakes? Make both. You can freeze extras. If your kids are old enough to read, let them recite the recipe to you and allow them to measure for excellent math practice. You don't need fancy pans or equipment to whip up culinary masterpieces. A wooden spoon, mixing bowl and enthusiasm will do the job fabulously.

2. Rainbow picnic. Make sandwiches, spread celery sticks with peanut butter and dream up a yummy dessert. Lay out a quilt on the family room floor and play a board game or two. Since indoor Frisbee may be a bad idea, think about balloon volleyball instead. Bonus: There are no ants or itchy grass to worry about on this picnic.

3. Dance. Forget "inside" voices! Crank up the tunes and cut loose. Kids never seem to tire of the freeze dance game. You be the DJ and control the music, and they dance until you silence it, at which time they freeze and hold their position until the music starts again. Let them request their favorite songs and wear themselves out.dancing.jpg

4. Rowdy runway revelry. First, they will need to select wardrobe. Encourage them to be as flamboyant, creative and crazy as possible (offer them sports jerseys, pantyhose, purses, pumps and hats). Tape off a catwalk with masking tape and play energetic music to get them in the mood for strutting their stuff for the paparazzi - YOU!

5. Mother of all forts. Is there anything quite like constructing a tent and then climbing inside to read, dream, play Legos or simply snooze? With sheets, quilts and clothespins (or duct tape), help them make a magical cozy nest.

Michele Ranard has a husband, two children and a master's degree in counseling. Visit her blogs at cheekychicmama.blogspot.com and hellolovelyinc.blogspot.com.

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