Fun Indoor Activities for the Winter Months

If you are reading this, that probably means you are recovering from all the outdoor fun that was discussed in last week’s article.  Even with all the fun you had in the cold outdoors, it feels nice to get inside in the warmth for a bit. Besides, the fun can continue indoors, as there are many great winter activities that can be done inside the house!  Here are a few:

1.    Scavenger Hunt. Hide objects around the house that your little ones can find.  Give them each the same number of items to find and put a time limit on the hunt.  Whoever comes back with all his items first, wins! For single child families, time your child while he searches for the items. When the time is up, have him come to you with any items he has retrieved.

2.    Make Snowflakes. We have all seen those snowflake decorations with the intricate designs on paper.  Have your children help you make some as all children love crafts!

There are hundreds of tutorials across several online platforms with step by step instructions for these and other winter decorations.  They do not have to be difficult either.

You will be amazed at the creations your children come up with. The whole family could get so occupied in all the fun you are having that the inside of the house ends up looking like the outside, covered in snow!

3.    Cook. This may not be a winter specific activity, but it is a great way to warm up and pass the time together. The best thing about this is that it gives the parents and children so many choices. You can choose a dish that takes 15 minutes to cook or one that takes a few hours.  It is all completely up to you. Children love helping out, so make these meal preparations fun and enjoyable for them.

What they do not know is that cooking also assists them with reading and comprehension skills.

If you want to give the experience that extra winter touch, you can make winter themed treats like snowman pancakes or gingerbread cookies. Delicious!

4.    Build a fort. There is nothing quite like the memory of building a fort to bring back the nostalgia of childhood for adults. Bring out your inner child and help build a fort big enough for the whole family. All you need is a large bed sheet, a few pieces of furniture to place it on, and some pillows to make it a little more comfortable to lay on the floor.

Try to remember that this is an activity for your children to take the lead on. It is easy to get caught up in the wistfulness of it all and take over. Try not to do that.

Once the fort is built, everyone can get in and tell stories, watch a movie, or simply relax and bask in each other’s company.

Not only are these activities wonderful fun for the family, but they also require lots of energy and you know what that means … sleepy kids!  After a day of fun, all your children will want to do is go through their bedtime routine and then sleep.

Cook with Your Children and Promote Reading at the Same Time

What does cooking have to do with reading?  A whole lot because reading recipes is involved!  Encourage your children to help out in the kitchen with cooking and have them read from recipes and other items at the same time.  And, have a lot of fun while you are doing it too!

There are a variety of excellent cookbooks for children available.  Or, you may have family recipes that you have collected over the years and written down on index cards or typed out.  The goal is to have your children read.  Start with the ingredients.  Let them read and then collect the items that are needed.  After that, continue on to the instructions.  What is step 1?  Step 2? Ask them questions about what they have read to make sure they understand what is involved.

Above all, be patient and understanding.  If egg shells get in the bowl, show them how to remove them and what to do in the future.  Help them read the numbers and then set the temperature on the oven.  Then, set a timer on a clock for the correct cooking time.   I guarantee that if you involve your children in cooking, you will create life long memories!

Make Reading Fun By Adding Hand Puppets

Make Reading Fun By Adding Hand Puppets

I know what you may be thinking after reading this heading for my blog today.  “Why should I add hand puppets to reading time?”  “Hand puppets – where do I buy those?”  “Help!! Can you give me some ideas?” If there is one thing that I know well about children- it is that they love to laugh...

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Reading Mystery Stories Can Also Teach Important Reading Skills

Reading Mystery Stories Can Also Teach Important Reading Skills

A good mystery story can keep you spellbound for a long time.  You do not want to put the book down until the mystery is solved and you know who has done it.  You read and try to pick out all the clues.  You try your best to figure out the ending.  Did you get it right after all?  If not, what clues did you miss? Children love mystery stories as much as adults...

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Children Playing Video Games – The Pros & Cons

I’m certain that many parents purchased or friends and relatives purchased video games for their children or other young relatives as gifts this past Christmas.  As the mother of two sons, I know well the desires that children have to play video games, especially boys.   

Many parents ask – can playing too many video games really hurt my child?  According to developmental psychologist Douglas Gentile, the answer to that question is “Yes”.  He gives the following reasons why:

  • Kids who spend too much time at the computer are missing out on other activities fundamental to their physical, social, intellectual, and emotional development. Time spent in front of the computer or game console is time taken away from playing with friends, reading or doing a project with you, and other activities.
  • Kids usually play video games alone, and too much time spent alone can foster social isolation.
  • Children who watch more than ten hours of TV a week don't do as well in school as kids their age who watch less. When setting limits, it's important to consider the total amount of time your child spends in front of all electronic screens — TVs, computers, movie screens, etc.
  • Bad habits can become ingrained and are more difficult to change as children get older. (According to research, the average American 4th-grade boy spends 9.5 hours each week playing video and computer games, in addition to other screen time.)
  • If your child regularly plays games with plots based on violence and aggression, research shows he is at risk for increased aggressive behavior.

There are pros to video games, though.  He recommends quality games that give children the opportunity to practice problem solving and logic skills. They help the development of fine motor and coordination skills and also help children become familiar with information technology.  He strongly suggests playing these games with your children as special bonding time. 

Are Books Among The Most Important Objects In Your Home?

Are Books Among The Most Important Objects In Your Home?

When I walk into a person’s home, I can immediately know what is important to that person.  Is there music playing and music paraphernalia all around?  Are there toys and play areas for children in different spaces?  Is there a large tv screen with surround sound and other modern equipment to make tv viewing an experience?  I’m not being judgmental – simply stating facts.  

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Did You Know That Singing Helps Young Children Develop Reading Skills?

Did You Know That Singing Helps Young Children Develop Reading Skills?

Singing can be such fun!  When was the last time that you sang in the shower?  Or with your children? Did you know that singing is a wonderful way to help your younger children develop good reading skills?

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Creative Ways to Help Your Children Become More Thankful and Encourage Reading at the Same Time

Image from www.courageforkids.com

Image from www.courageforkids.com

    I write often about the importance of literacy.  Since this month is November - the month of Thanksgiving Day - I want to merge the concepts of being thankful with reading.  How can we help our children become more thankful and encourage reading at the same time?

    As a Christian, I always turn first to the Bible for guidance.  With so many research tools available online as well as electronic Bibles, it is relatively easy to search for verses with the words “thanks” and “thankful” in the Bible.  There are many.  Encourage your children to read some of these verses and write them down.  One of my favorite verses is Psalm 188:1 - “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.” 

    Another idea is to have your children write on sticky notes once a day what they are thankful for and create an area in your home where they can put up these sticky notes as reminders.   Examples are “I’m thankful for my dog” and “I’m thankful for a sunny day to play outside” and “I’m thankful for food to eat today”.  Encourage your children to read them every day.  

    Also, help your children write “thank you” notes for gifts or for any occasion when such a note can be used.  I recently received in the mail a “thank you” card from one of my teenage nieces thanking me for a birthday gift I sent to her.  It was very special to me because it showed me that she took the time to think about thanking me and about what to write to me and then she took the time to actually write it out to me.  That one little handwritten note showed me that she cared for me and wanted to let me know how much she cared.  

    The list of ideas is endless.  Begin incorporating some in your day to day activities. 

Author Soraya Diase Coffelt