Grayson is coming.
The preppy-named BombCyclone (a term used to describe a massive strengthening of a storm thanks to a quick drop in atmospheric pressure) is set to explode upon the New England region early Thursday morning. While it appears to be a quick-hitting event, it’ll likely force parents to remain indoors all day…with the kids.
With a typical snowstorm, parents are happy to let the kids out in the yard all day. The snow is light and fluffy, the temperature isn’t deathly low, and the gusts of wind don’t hit you like a Hulk Smash. None of these ideal conditions will exist tomorrow. So bunker down, parents! Prepare yourselves for a nice, long day filled with unsuccessful attempts at keeping the kids from hurting each other or crippling your soul.
If your anxiety has already reached a boiling point, have no fear. The Pondering Father is here to help. Here are 10 quick and easy kid-friendly activities to keep the mini-humans from terrorizing the village during tomorrow’s storm.
Build a Fort
Now you’re probably saying to yourself, “Wow, that’s a big undertaking for early on in the day!” It is, but it’s worth it. Allowing the kiddos to grab all the blankets, sheets, chairs, etc. to build a special hideaway will not only be a hit with them, it’ll also be an area to retreat to and play in later…especially when you’re in need of a little break yourself!
I’m far from a LEGO Master. I find it difficult to manipulate the little pieces, and I wind up having dramatic flashbacks to my younger days when my friends would mock my inability to make a simple castle with Duplo-sized blocks. Before I know it, I’m feeling drops of sweat cascading down the back of neck as I look for an easy escape route. Luckily, my wife loves building with LEGOS, and she’s always willing to lead the kids on a building expedition. In any event, LEGOS is a great way to keep the little ones busy for an hour.
Family Reading Time
After spending a good amount of time building some tricked-out medieval castles with LEGOS, the kids could use a good chunk of the mid-morning / early-afternoon relaxing. Here’s the time where I’d choose a nice medium-length picture book to read with the little ones. It may not take up a ton of minutes, but it’ll help calm the kids down a bit.
Lunch…and a Show!
Once I’ve finished reading a story, I’m ready to prepare the kids a nice, comforting meal that’ll perhaps fill them to the point of falling into a bona fide food coma. After they have eaten and are now completely nourished, I’ll allow them to choose either a show or movie that they BOTH would like to watch. There’s no fighting allowed. They have to work together to think of the program they’d like to view. Once they do, I turn on the show and get them snuggled up on the couch. If you’re not particularly interested in the show they’ve chosen, use the time to kick your feet up and relax a bit!
All parents’ favorite part of the day! At this point in the day, I look to capitalize upon the low-key lunch/show time by having the kids head up to their individual bedrooms. They certainly are allowed to play, but the number one rule is they have to do so quietly. Now, I hope they’ll eventually decide to plop down on their beds for a nap, but that’s usually not going to happen. However, if I’m able to get some grading or grad school work done for an hour or so, I call it a win!
Once I’ve announced that quiet time is over, I want to make sure that I’m actively engaged in the next activity. I like to get back into the groove by suggesting coloring time! We each pick a different coloring book, head to the round dining room table, and spend about an hour coloring. It really is true that coloring can be a wonderful mindfulness exercise. I’ve never found myself bored with coloring time!
Next, I’ll clear the table and put out some floor puzzles. The kids really enjoy working with puzzles, and it tends to take up about 30-45 minutes of the afternoon. The best part? Most kids will want to show you they can complete a puzzle all by themselves. Their desire for independence will give you a good half-hour to get some cleaning in, throw in a load of laundry, or even read a book of your own!
After the kids complete the puzzles, I comply with their request to stare in wonder and amazement at their ability to put a 25 piece puzzle together. It’s an easy thing to do, and they just eat it up. Talk about a self-confidence booster for the youngins! Next, it’s time to play some board games. Chutes and Ladders is our go-to game! It’s fun, simple, and addicting enough to last for quite some time.
To wrap up the day, it’s time for pretend play! At this point in the afternoon, I encourage the kids to use their imaginations and jump into their pretend world. Typically, the kids will wind up playing Star Wars with their lightsabers or Diner with their play kitchen and table set. On a good day, they’ll play together for well over an hour. It’s another opportunity to retire to the couch to continue that book or rest your eyes for a bit.
“Clean Up, Clean Up. Everybody Clean Up!”
Cue up that Dora tune! It’s time to get the kids to help clean up from a fun, yet exhausting, day away from school. They’re now ready to wind down and call it a day! Great job, Mommy and Daddy!
Grab a shovel. Did you really think YOUR day was over?
Until next time,
The Pondering Father