Thursday, December 29, 2011

Guest Post: 10 Crafty Ways to Beat Winter Boredom This New Year

There is nothing worse than a day with your kids cooped up inside the house without any plans. Though sometimes it may seem full of endless opportunities, some individuals still feel boredom. And certainly, kids feel the same way too.

Researches show that kids lose up to sixty percent of their school learning without stimulation. Boredom causes “brain drain”. Hence, keep your kid’s mind busy all year round. Plan some encouraging and imaginative plays to help your kids overcome boredom.

Seizing your kid’s attention does not have to be an expensive vacation or activity. One free tool that you can use to beat boredom is imagination. Anytime of the year is a great time to encourage kids to use their imagination and let it soar.

Here are 10 ideas that parents can be use to keep their kid’s minds active all year round:

1. Beat the Boredom Jar
Meet up with your kids and make a listing of activities that the entire family enjoys doing as one. Persuade your kids to share their ideas. Their participation in generating and creating ideas will make them feel more involved in the activity. Write down all the ideas that everyone come up with on small sheets of paper. And then as a group, choose which ones go in the jar. Allow your kids to decorate and mark the jar as the family’s “boredom Buster Jar.” Everyone in the family can pull one idea out of the jar to beat boredom blues anytime of the year.

2. Stories Alive
One significant way to keep your kid’s minds busy is through reading. Finding a way to bring the story to life makes reading even more fun. For instance, Alice McLerran’s book “Roxaboxen” when read to children, they start to create a make-believe town out of their imaginations by using rocks and boxes. Read a story book to your kids and challenge them to bring it to life by using any materials that can be found in your backyard.

3. Art Treasure Chest
Gather all basic art supplies such as glue, child’s safe scissors, tape, markers and construction paper. Place them all in a special box together with bits of aluminum foil, colorful magazines, paper towel rolls, and empty oatmeal boxes. You can then add special surprises such as stickers, chalks, and stamp pads. It will always keep your kids get excited to find something new in the box. Knowing they have an Art Treasure Chest just for them is fun and exciting, even if these supplies are normally found around the house. They may also have their own ideas of other household materials that they can use to feed their creative drives.

4. Family Performances
Create a play to enact. Find old clothes and costumes, and encourage your kids to make up characters. There should be directors, producers, and actors. Encourage them also to make musical instruments out of empty canisters, wooden spoons, pots or pans and have a parade or play the family’s favorite song. Record a video of the family’s performances. Watch and enjoy the replay. It might be something also that can be enjoyed in years to come.

5. Fort Building
Building different kinds of structures, from small to large towers, is an activity that most kids love to do. Constructing tents and forts are activities that keep the children focused on problem solving for hours. With an adult’s supervision, they can use items that can be found around the house such as blankets, cushions, and chairs.

6. Cookbook Fun
Share your favorite cookbook with your kids. Let them choose a recipe to try. Measuring the ingredients is an easy and fun way to keep their math skills fresh.

7. Summer Scrapbook
This project requires a spiral notebook. Encourage each person in the family to find and collect pictures of favorite activities and special events done by everybody throughout the year. Children enjoy looking back through albums and scrapbooks, telling stories about what happened during each occasion. It is also a one way of enhancing their story-telling skills.

8. Listening Game
Take your family to a park or to your backyard and listen to sound around you. Encourage everyone in the family to imitate the sound. This activity promotes slowing down and focusing on your kid’s listening skills.

9. Camping Out
Make believe to camp-out in your backyard. Set up a campsite, pack a backpack, plan meals and spend the night in your backyard.

10. Scavenger Hunt
Make a list of commonly used household things and have your kids find them. You can also make it like a competition by inviting some of your friends.

Finally, since every kid is different in terms of interests and learning styles, it is one great way to have a variety of ideas to keep them brain-drain free all throughout the year. Activities that include arts and crafts are not only fun and exciting; they also provide an opportunity for your kid to express individuality and creativity.

Thus, with these tips in mind, sit and plan with your family an imaginative and engaging activity all year round.

Submitted by Kathleen Thomas on behalf of Primrose Schools. Primrose is the first private early childhood day care company in the US accredited by AdvancED®. Kathleen has written a number of articles on topics varying from bilingual learning to teaching the importance of volunteering.


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