I was recently reminded of the opportunities so often missed with our kids because we simply don’t notice them, or maybe aren’t looking for them, and that these moments are what really add color to our lives as parents. A couple of weeks ago, my son and I were stuck at home because of a power outage that forced cancellations throughout the area. For the first part of the day, he played with his toys and his books while I did some work in the living room. It was a peaceful morning. But right before lunch, I looked over at the racket he was making and saw that he had climbed in to a large empty box that we had left on the floor, and he looked at me and said “Bus.” I should say that my son is nearly two and obsessed with buses. And cars. And trains. And tractors, airplanes, mail trucks…and anything else with wheels. So this improvisational action of his shook me from what was really an involuntary response to time at home – set my child to playing, pull out my computer and do some work. It felt like the time we were spending was what we HAD to do. But what this time really was, was an opportunity. No schedule. No deadlines. Just me and him and his love of buses. So I put down my laptop, grabbed that box and started cutting. I asked my son where the windows on the bus go. He pointed them out, and I cut out windows. I asked him where the wheels go. He showed me, and we drew wheels. In 10 minutes, we had not just a box, but a real bus with windows, wheels and even doors to get in and out. The flimsy materials and shoddy workmanship meant that this bus was not long for the world, but it did last for 2 weeks, and he spent each of those days continuously climbing in and out and pretending he was zooming along, mass transit style. So the next time you are at home with some time to pass, look for those opportunities. Look to your kids for cues about what you might do together. And if nothing comes to mind, maybe you can find a box somewhere to turn into a train, or a spaceship, or a taco stand/nail salon. The options are, of course, limitless. But make sure you have some duct tape. And add a comment below to tell us what YOU have done at home with your kids on a day off!