One of the best things about summer is being able to get outside and play in the beautiful weather.
However, not every summer day is suitable for playing outside. When faced with non-stop rain or unbearable heat, it is helpful to have a few indoor activities in mind to pass the time with your children.
TV tends to be an easy solution for unexpected indoor days, so be sure to set daily viewing limits ahead of time, and have a variety of activities available to do with your children instead.
•Read. Curl up and look at picture books together, or read a chapter book aloud to your child. School age children can read to you or younger siblings. Take a half hour and let everyone read quietly.
•Put your child to work … in a fun way. Make a game out of picking up and putting away toys. For example, ask her to pick up any toys that are red and let her see how many she can find. Or each take a small container and pick up 10 items each, counting aloud as you put them away.
Plan one of your family’s favourite meals and give your child a variety of jobs to do, such as washing vegetables, measuring ingredients, stirring and helping with the dishes.
•Go camping inside. Build a fort with furniture and blankets and play or have a snack inside. You might even take a nap or spend the night in the fort.
•Keep plenty of art supplies on hand. Paper, scissors, glue and crayons can provide hours of entertainment. Create an art box filled with a variety of materials from around the house: pieces of cardboard, paper towel rolls, old puzzle pieces, scraps of fabric, yarn, etc. and continually add to the collection as you gather more items.
If your art box contains small pieces that may present a choking hazard, store it out of reach. Always supervise as your child experiments with art.
•Create your own bowling alley. Set up empty toilet paper rolls or plastic bottles at one end of the room and use a balled up sock as a bowling ball.
•Make giant building blocks. Save cereal boxes and cover them with plain white or construction paper and let your child decorate them with crayons and stickers. He can then use them to build walls or castles.
•Trust your child to find a way to pass the time. It is important to spend time playing with your child every day, but parents do not need to provide constant entertainment. Letting her find her own fun helps her develop independence and imagination as well as a variety of other skills.
Shawna Munro works at the Elspeth Reid Family Resource Centre, a facility of Child and Family Services of Western Manitoba that offers parenting information and support.
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Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition July 3, 2014