Tuesday, March 5, 2013

10 ways to keep active boys entertained indoors

      Having been up most the night and up early for the start of my day I was brainstorming ways to keep the kiddos occupied today that wouldn't require too much work on my end.  I anticipated Evan feeling pretty miserable and wanting to sit on the couch watching movies all day; especially once I removed the bandage from his stitches and cleaned it out, but I wanted the boys to have fun things to look forward to doing today (not just watching!).  I'm not sure how much we'll be up for in the days to come either since it will all depend on Evan and how he's feeling so I thought I'd take the time to brainstorm a big list of things to do inside. I also have heard a not so nice forecast for the next two to three days that made me think we'd be spending a lot of time at home stuck inside anyway. 
      Ian did inform me that he'd like to play outside today and I readily agreed.  He just goes stir crazy inside anyway.  Evan, however, did NOT want to go outside at all.  Ever again!  Hopefully, as he heals the EVER part will start to fade away since I can't wait to take the boys hiking this spring.  I really enjoy our time outdoors exploring nature.   But, enough about that and onto today's blog topic. 

 I perused my Pinterest boards looking for some inspiration and here are some of the ideas I came up with: 

1.  Shaving cream or foam-- my kids ALWAYS love to play with shaving cream and I thought they might like to make foam.  It sounded like fun and I couldn't wait to try it myself!  It was fun to watch too!  We used 1/3 cup water and a squirt of dish soap (we kept our foam white) and we put the blender on high until the foam was all the way to the top.  I put it on trays for them to play with and for the most part they all pretended it was snow.  It melts like snow and it's fluffy, so why not?  Best part for mom? The cleaning up isn't bad since it's just a bit of soap and water! 

2.  Pattern/shape blocks--  I keep forgetting to take these out of the homeschool math bin in our cabinet and put them out.  I know my kids like to spend time arranging and building and just playing freely with the shape blocks.  As soon as I pulled them out they all were saying "wow!" and "I love those, I used to play with them every day at school!"  They immediately sat down and started creating!  For an hour!  They built, rearranged, made patterns, played with shapes and colors.  It was wonderful! They were so creative too!  Alec made a lion, Evan made a race car and a Wobat, Ian made huge arrangements!

Evan's Race Car (the red and brown blocks)

Woobat (a Pokemon)

Alec's Lion
one of Ian's many masterpieces.

3. Paper plate/ marble mazes-- I have been dying to try this with the boys!  But we discovered we had the "wrong" paper plates so we'll have to save this idea for another day.  Perhaps I'll have them try to make a marble maze using paper towel and toilet paper rolls instead; those I have!

4.  Make Flubber-- here is the recipe (though there is a lot of controversy over the addition of borax so use your judgement).  We found it to be just like a silly putty that we make with liquid starch and Elmer's glue but they had fun cutting it, molding it, scooping it with trucks, etc.  Another hour of our day gone!  We saved them in disposable Tupperware bins for another day.   We had extra liquid left in the container after it set up so I just poured it out. 

Evan made a dinosaur foot

5.  Blowing a pom pom along a line of tape using a straw-- don't underestimate this one I bet it would be great fun and challenging for all ages.  You can tape as many lines as you need, make them criss cross, double around, curve, zig zag, etc.  Make it a race! Or turn it into science by encouraging them to try using small and large pom poms, larger or smaller straws, one hand or two!  The possibilities seem endless. 

6.  Paper plate and balloon ping pong-- glue or tape a large Popsicle stick to a paper plate, inflate a balloon (or two) and have your kids try batting it around.  They can pass it, see who can keep their balloon in the air the longest, etc.  Balloons are always engaging in this house so I think they'd really enjoy this! 

7.  Building challenge-- this could be with Lego's, blocks, dominoes, cardboard, etc.  I wanted to come up with something for them to build-- the tallest tower, the strongest bridge, an arc, a pyramid, etc.  Today I asked the boys if they wanted to make their own cars out of cardboard boxes for a "drive- in" movie one night.    Ian was the most excited and then we found out we didn't have a box big enough for an 8 (almost 9) year old boy to fit in.  I also didn't have enough duct tape; both things we've put on our list of "things to get" and so we'll make these soon!  Perhaps by Friday for our family movie night if I can make it out of the house and over to the store! 

8.  Make a house out of a deck of cards--  I was a huge Brady Bunch fan as a kid and I always remember that episode where the boys and the girls had a challenge going to see who could make the largest house of cards.   It looked like fun and I thought the boys were old enough to try patiently. 

9.  Make a special snack-- we choose s'mores made in the microwave.  I liked this because I won't be tempted to eat them (I don't like marshmallows).  The boys thought this was great.  They love a messy, gooey snack, I mean who doesn't right?

10.  Nerf gun shooting range-- I saw this and just couldn't resist adding it to our list.  The mix of star wars Lego's & Nerf guns was sure to be a huge hit in this house!  We often draw a bulls eye on one of our large windows using dry erase markers and have contests to see who can get the most points so this would be a fun variation of that.

     I knew we wouldn't get to everything on the list today, but the boys did watch two more Disney Imagineering movies, played some Chess on the Kindle, played Words with Friends, and just hung out watching movies, playing computer games, etc.  With my eyes burning by noontime and Evan not wanting to move off the couch much I can't complain about all that we did manage to do today.   We covered math, science, spelling, and we even signed up for a geography/history fair while talking about the various states the boys picked to research.  Not all that surprisingly Ian wants to do something about Alaska.  He already started talking about making snacks in the shape of a moose and having kids try and pan for gold.  Then we thought perhaps he could make an igloo out of sugar cubes or Lego's.  I think this will be great fun!  While Alec is still deciding what state or country he'd like to focus on I tend to think his geography study will focus more on the animals that live in a particular region and that's fine by me.  I told him maybe we could draw a huge map and glue or draw pictures of the animals in the region where they'd be found.  We'll see, we have plenty of time to research and decide what we want to do with this.  Evan isn't even sure if he wants to participate but I think as we talk about it more he'll become excited too.   We're trying to come up with something that has a lot of hands on learning involved and very little writing since they dread it so much but that may be a bit tougher for the geography fair than it was for the science fair. 

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