Does the frequent occurrence of the wonderful winter tune, Let it Snow, make you shake with fear? NO SCHOOL!!! What will I do with the kids if we are stuck inside?? How will my LD kid who needs to burn off energy get it out of his system? What will keep them occupied? What if we lose power? Never fear, IDEA LADY is here!
As a resident of the East Coast for my entire life I’ve had a lot of practice with all of the above scenarios. The winter season is just beginning. Now, if I had a choice, it would be to fully participate in hibernation. I mean seriously, eat lots of yummy food and then sleep until the weather is decent again, what’s not to love? Sadly, our reality is very different from that. We are usually surrounded by our children who, after 10 minutes of being excited about the snow and no school are now TOTALLY BORED with NOTHING TO DO! Weather permitting playing in the snow is great, but that requires a whole lot of effort for a very short return because they are too cold, too wet, or bored with it much too quickly. It also may require you going out in the snow too.
Of course playing and getting energy out is a good thing, but once they are back inside what can you do? The first thing you can do is sit down at the beginning of this winter season and make an “I’M BORED” Jar. Ask your kids what kinds of things they would like to do if they are stuck inside. Write them on pieces of paper. You can also pick up arts and crafts supplies and other fun items at the dollar stores and have a special tote box that you keep them in for this occasion. (You’d be surprised how many hours of play can happen with plastic parachute guys dropped from the stairway). With Pinterest and other DIY sites you can come up with lots of ideas for things to do and make. (Slime is always a big hit) Look for things ahead of time and have the supplies ready in the tote. When they come and say “I’m Bored” get out the jar and have them pick an activity card.
Indoor picnics are also lots of fun! Work together to make the lunch and then spread out at table cloth on the floor and picnic away! We LOVED watching our old family videos while we ate our lunch too. Baking and cooking are a super fun. Kids are practicing math skills with measurement and life skills too. Have a read aloud time. Pick some favorite books and read them aloud to each other or even act the stories out. Have some card games and board games ready. Play music and DANCE!! What a great time to introduce your children to your favorite songs from the past. Be silly, have fun.
Our LD kids need these fun, non-stress activities. They are easy ways to slip in some social skills and following directions and interactions with others. Having a ‘go to’ plan, won’t leave you with a frustrated child. Especially if they have a short attention span and need to move on to something new quickly. You’ll be ready for a new activity if you prepare ahead of time. This can be great family time, time to talk about life and interests and even problems. I always found my kids would open up much more if we were doing something together. The conversation flowed freely.
So don’t be afraid to be stuck indoors, look at it as a new adventure. Your attitude about the experience will rub off on them. So, Let it Snow, Let it Snow. Let it Snow!
Denise Hasson is the mom of two successful adult children with dyslexia. She is also a library media specialist in an elementary school. In her 32 years of teaching she has worked with children who have many learning disabilities, so she sees learning differences from both the educational side and the parental side. Denise loves to read, talk, and make crafts.