SURPRISE! Weather reports predict it may snow again in Boston. This is good because we can still see the very top of our fence and a few more inches of snow should cover it completely. Goodbye fence! I guess we’ll see you in the spring.
As everyone in the greater Boston area knows, we’ve had record snowfall this winter, schools cancelled throughout MA, RI, NH and beyond, and at times the snow has forced the MBTA to slow down or shut down completely. Being cooped up inside for days can be frustrating for everyone. For parents and children it can be very challenging, as we reach a whole new level of “stircraziness”. (Is that a word? It should be!).
Kids of all ages need to move their bodies and they need to be challenged to think and learn every day regardless of the weather. Essentially, they need to play! Especially in cities (where living space is limited enough without 60 inches of snow) it can be hard for kids to share space, release energy, and focus their attention when they are stuck inside.
My own daughters are 5 and 8 years old and both are very active kids. With schools closed and my husband and I working from home, we’ve had our share of loving, cozy times together and our share of full family blowouts – where everyone is talking, screaming, and moving at once. In the midst of all of this there is a steady line of questioning from both girls: “Mom, can we watch a movie? Can we play on the iPad? We’re hungry. Ok, can we watch now? Can we have your phone to play a game? We’re hungry.” As far as screens go, the answer is sometimes, “Ok”, but we’ve been trying hard to do other things as well. When stuck inside for hours we’ve gone through the pattern of some screen time, reading books, playing Monopoly and card games, playing with blocks, eating, reading, some screen time, snacking, another card game, etc. over and over again. It’s time for a change!
Maybe some of you are in the same boat – a boat surrounded by snow? Luckily, I work at Boston Children’s Museum with several creative educators, many of whom are also parents. We all got together to create a list of a few activities and recipes you might find useful. I also asked my own daughters and their friends for their suggestions. (See Frozen Hot Chocolate and the Yarn and Tape James Bond game!). The activities usually will require only what you might already have at home. For example, with a cardboard box, some paper towel tubes, and tape you can allow children to create whatever they imagine.
If you’d like to explore MANY ways to play with cardboard, please join us at BCM during February vacation week starting Saturday 2/14! The entire Common will be filled with Cardboard Box Blocks for tons of construction and pretend play and there will be hands-on cardboard creation activities throughout the entire Museum.
Check Boston Children’s Museum’s Facebook page (click here) for frequent updates on activities you can use with kids to chase away the winter blues. If you try out any of these ideas or have some recommendations of your own please share your stories in the comments below, and your photos on Instagram. Enjoy!
Oh, and for those moments when you do say yes to screen time, visit www.commonsensemedia.org for excellent reviews and recommendations for educational shows, apps, and movies designed for kids across age groups. It’s a great resource.