The wonderful families who read my blogs are often in varying relationships to media and screens in their lives…some have no TV, but their computers are certainly on a lot, some work from home where this is a necessity, some do allow their children media access or computer access and monitor it carefully.
I have written many back posts about limiting our own time on the computer or with the TV; it really can be such an obstacle towards “doing”. If you are on the computer, you may not be cooking, making the crafts you want for your seasonal table, having friends over, doing artistic activities, making music, etc.
I also find the more harried and rushed and stressed families are, the more they are likely to use computer or media as their “downtime” relaxation. And some mothers of small children who need attention every moment still do wonder how they will garner a moment to themselves without a little electronic help, especially in a month that is often bitterly cold around much of the United States.
I just want to put out a gentle reminder that there are many things children can do besides something involving a screen. Here are a few of my favorites for you to try out in your own homes this week:
First of all, two children are easier than one! So seek out some friends within your community!
Second of all, as the saying goes, there is no bad weather, just bad clothes..so make sure you have the right clothes for the weather and go and enjoy being outside. The older the children become, they also can enjoy more athletic pursuits in the snow and cold.
Have the basic, open ended elements of play in your home: silks, scraps of fabric, yarn, towels and blankets for fort-making, old scarves, cardboard boxes and brooms that can be used for playing house or riding a horse!
For children a bit older whom you can trust around art supplies, try an art corner or station of wonderful art supplies, paper, fabric, paints, sandpaper, feathers, and other various supplies for artistic fun!
For toddlers, how about asking for their help with cooking or cleaning? How about a bath when all else fails? I gave our three year old a morning bath the other day and we did some homeschool in the bathroom whilst he happily splashed about in the master tub.
For three to six year olds: salt dough is a favorite in our house as well – I try to make up fresh batches that have interesting essential oils or textures in them. Bubbles are also a hit anytime of the year!
Natural blocks are always fun for building – you can make your own and sanding can be another project! Singing, dancing and making music also comes naturally to this age group.
For those ages six to twelve, I think about making tents or forts, telling jokes, playing games and cards, making collages, creating art, cooking, building, reading, and making models of airplanes or cars.
Cooking is another one of those projects that never gets old! Cookies, bread, comforting soups and stews, even things in the dehydrator for my families who eat a higher percentage of raw foods. Cooking definitely gets my vote for fun!
I think it boils down to having fun as a family during this cold weather, and doing what we can to boost each other’s joy. I wrote a post sometime back about Joy In January, perhaps it could another source of inspiration: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/01/01/joy-for-january/