After 2,467 hours stuck in the house after snow and rain, is anyone else out there going crazy? Will our kids ever go back to school? Bless your heart, North Carolina, you’re just not made for over a foot of snow. I need my children out of my house. Can I get a witness?
Look, I can’t make this rain get lost or this snow melt faster, but here’s a round-up of fun ideas to give your kids something to do if you are about to lose your ever-loving mind. Like me. Ahem.
Cards for the Community
How about a fun project that will keep them busy AND give back to the community? Let your kids unleash their inner Picasso as they create cards for a local retirement community or children’s hospital. The only supplies needed are something to write with (pens, markers or crayons) and paper. Simply fold a sheet of paper in half, let your kids decorate the front side and then write a simple uplifting message inside.
It’s best not to make your messages illness-related (i.e. “Get Well Soon” or “Feel better”) as some patients or residents may have chronic or terminal conditions. We recommend messages of hope such as “Have a wonderful day!” or “Shine like the star you are!” You can sign the card with your first name but be sure not to include any other personal information as hospitals and retirement facilities will not distribute cards with email addresses, phone numbers or full names.
Old Fashioned Letter Writing
Older kids can practice their reading and writing skills by becoming pen pals with a friend or relative who lives far away or even a classmate they see daily. Letter writing is a great way for kids to develop communication skills and connect with others in their community. When is the last time you received a real letter in the mail? Have your kids ever experienced it? Do you remember that excited feeling you used to get when you ripped open that envelope from a friend far away? We may get to experience that feeling around this time of year when we receive a few Christmas cards, but by in large, the art of handwritten, long-letter communication is dying.
Your kids will LOVE sending and receiving mail! (They may not even know how to address an envelope or that a letter needs a stamp! Teach them and get the bonus enjoyment of a little “Back in my day” story sharing. Feel free to add the part about walking in the snow uphill both ways should you feel so inclined.)
Bust Out the Knitting Needles
If you have teenagers, knitting items for premature babies is a great way to be productive when stuck indoors. In the US around 1 in 10 babies is born prematurely, and these babies often have to spend several weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) of the hospital. During their first few weeks of life premature babies need all the warmth they can get so hats and blankets are of great use to the NICU. To insure you’re making your garment in an appropriate size we recommend that you download free templates from online resources like thespruce.com and blacksheepwools.com.
If you have younger children who aren’t able to safely wield knitting needles but can tie knots, they can make no-sew felt blankets! To make a no-sew blanket you will need two pieces of fabric measuring 46” x 46” each. Line up the fabric with both of the right sides facing out and cut a 5 inch square from all four corners. Next, cut through both layers of fabric to create 5” long fringe (approximately 1” wide) around all four sides. The last step is to tie the fringe from the two pieces of fabric together. Once you’ve tied all of the fringe into knots your blanket is complete! The finished blanket will measure approximately 36” x 36”.
Bake Some Goodies
Baking cookies or granola for your neighbors is a wonderful way to teach your kids the joys of cooking and the satisfaction that comes from giving to others. As an added bonus, your kids get to practice measuring and counting when adding ingredients into the mixing bowl.
If furry friends are more your speed, you can bake dog-friendly treats to give to your local animal shelter. Below is an easy recipe to make Pawesome Pumpkin Bites.
½ cup of pumpkin (canned)
4 tablespoons of molasses
4 tablespoons of water
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
2 cups of oats
¼ teaspoon of baking soda
½ teaspoon of baking powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl mix the pumpkin, molasses, water and
vegetable oil together. Next add the oats, baking soda and baking powder, stirring
until the dough softens. Using your hands, roll the dough into 1-2 inch balls. Place
the balls onto a greased cookie sheet and slightly flatten with a fork or spoon. Bake
for approximately 25 minutes or until the dough is hardened.
Really, a simple Google search will give you even more ideas, but no matter what you choose, it’s better than ALL THE SCREENS, right? Friends, the ground will someday soon dry out. Keep the faith, and keep those kids busy!