It can be difficult to find things to do every weekend throughout the long, cold winter while your kids are holed up inside. Here are some great ideas to add some sunshine back into your home until it’s warm out again.
1. Shoebox dioramas: Everyone always makes shoebox dioramas for school projects, but what about just for fun? Whether you help your kid make a beachy paradise for Barbie and Ken to go on vacation, or a deep-space odyssey for the Transformers to travel back to, a diorama is a great way to get your child’s imagination roaring. It’s like a mini-vacation without going anywhere (a la “Total Recall”)!
2. Doll clothes: When I got my first American Girl doll as a child, I was so excited. Her name was Samantha, just like mine, and I got her as a holiday gift from my grandmother (my cousin got Molly the same day). Unfortunately, the clothes and accessories are outrageously expensive, and were even back then. One day I was playing at a friend’s house, and we spent the day using her mother’s sewing machine to create great new clothes for our dolls. It was so cool to get to pick the colors and designs! Now there are tons of sewing patterns online, so take your child to a fabric store to get started!
3. Colored flowers: I always wondered how some florists had bright blue roses or other colors that I knew weren’t made in nature. It’s actually pretty simple! You just put some food coloring in the water, and dip the stems in. The more food coloring, the darker the color! Even cooler? Using white roses and making the petals all different colors!
4. Your own story: What could be more creative then writing your own story? Using either paper that you will later bind, or a blank scrapbook, help your child create his or her own bedtime story. It can be fantasy, a memoir, or instructional! Anything from the history of dinosaurs to the tale of your last adventure will be interesting, just make sure to include lots of photos and colors. Or try doing a simple rhyme!
5. Throw Rug: I used to love doing hook rugs when I was a kid, especially on cold, snowy days. While looking for some cool examples online, I came across this fantastic and original idea to use strips of fabric to make a throw rug.
6. Raising butterflies: This isn’t exactly arts-and-crafts, but one of my favorite memories from my childhood was when my brother and I raised butterflies. There are many kits out there, but we got a kit with live larvae, and watched them go through metamorphosis into fully grown butterflies before freeing them outside. It takes about three weeks, and is best done in the spring before it’s too hot out.
7. Rainbow fish: Sometimes getting kids to read can be difficult, especially with so many other things to do in today’s world. Well, try reading “The Rainbow Fish” by Marcus Pfister to your child — it’s a fantastic book with wonderful colors — and help them create their own rainbow fish with colored construction paper, glitter glue, and pom poms!
8. Glow jars: Are your children afraid of the dark? Instead of buying a nightlight, check out these awesome glow jars I found through Pinterest; they’re beautiful and easy to do, and look like firefly jars! It may be winter, but that’s not a reason to miss fireflies! (According to a comment from the blogger, charging them for two to three hours leads to six to nine hours of glowing. Also check the comments for places to buy the paint. For a simpler method that doesn’t glow as long, try using glow sticks, but keep in mind you’re using chemicals in this case, so the kids may have to just watch.
9. Custom bubble bath: I know how hard it can be to get a kid to wash their hands, let alone shower or bathe, so why not help them make their own bubble bath to make the experience more fun? You can pick any smell your kid likes — let him or her pick the scent/essential oil — and help with the fun craft before the bath. You can also make home made bath salts and mix with a scent-free bubble bath.
10. Snack time: Use that Easy Bake Oven! When I was young this was one of my favorite toys, and I still love to cook today. It’s great to follow the recipes that you can buy for the oven, but my friends and I would concoct our own meals with whatever we could find in the kitchen, and instead of a lemonade stand we’d sell our snacks on the corner. I loved coming up with new, yummy things, and it was definitely a good use of creativity. Make sure your boys know this is not just a girly activity!
Which one of these do you think you’ll try?