Keeping Kids Busy at Home

Week four, and you’ve already used up all the good ideas for your stay-at-home children. How about trying one of these?

An outdoor scavenger hunt: Give each child a check list with boxes to mark: bug, dog, leaf, rock, flower, something red, something orange, stick, butterfly, bird, acorn, worm. Be creative.

Make dinosaur shadows: Place a 2-3 foot length sheet of white shelf paper on the floor. Put your favorite dinosaur figures (or action figures or mermaids) along the edge of the paper. Shine a light in back of the figures to cast a shadow on the paper. Trace the shadow and color in the figures.

Make birdseed Easter eggs: Add 1/2 cup hot water to package of plain gelatin. When dissolved add 1/2 cup cold water. Mix in birdseed and pour in two-piece plastic Easter eggs. Let harden. Pop out and “hide” for the birds.

Make a homemade bird feeder: Cover a toilet paper roll with peanut butter. Roll it in bird seed. Put a string through the roll and tie in a circle. Place on a tree branch.

Make your own ice cream (courtesy of the Arlington County Parks and Recreation Department): Put 4 oz. milk, 4 oz. cream 1/4 tsp. vanilla and 4 Tbl. sugar into a small ziploc bag and close completely. Put a cup of ice into a large ziploc bag and cover ice with a small handful of salt. Put the small bag into the large bag, with more salt, more ice until bag is full; close and shake back and forth for 5-8 minutes. Open large bag and take put small bag. Viola, you’ve made ice cream. Try other flavors by adding chocolate sauce, strawberries, M&Ms.

Try the hat toss: Turn a chair upside down so the legs are in the air. Mark a tape on the floor five feet away, 8 feet etc. Toss a hat to land on a chair leg. If you get a success, you get another turn. Keep score. Start with the closest marker on the floor and move back as you continue. The most hats to land on a chair leg in ten tries wins.

Story time: Tell stories of what you remember growing up: farmhands all came in at noon for dinner, milk delivered in glass bottles on your front porch, listening to The Shadow and Gunsmoke on the radio, taking a drive on Sunday afternoon for entertainment, walking to school in the snow in zero temperatures, gathering eggs from your grandmother’s chickens, cars with manual roll-up windows, dial telephones, Monday was washing day and laundry hung on the clothesline to dry, men wore hats when they went out; ladies wore hats and gloves to church. Ask them what they will most remember.

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