Sure, those balls might be covered in germs but they also might be the key to surviving the next three months...
Speaking of winter boredom busters...my kids got an XBox for Christmas which my husband and I quickly realized is basically an electronic babysitter.
SO RAD, RIGHT?
Except no, we're a few weeks in and I realize now that we've created a contingent of small video game obsessed zombies who overreact and freak the frack out whenever I ask them to do something that doesn't involve toggling a game controller.
Houston, we have a problem. Time for an intervention.
Needless to say, the Xbox got put away for a while until these genius parents can figure out a better strategy. Until then I'm staring down the barrel of 16 more weeks of snow and frigid Rocky Mountain temps requiring us to remain cooped up indoors with nothing to do but stare at each other and slowly go insane. There are all these posts about washi tape car tracks and DIY marble runs and frozen ice sculptures and every other manner of junk drawer creativity. Let me be the first to tell you that masking tape is a real beyotch to scrape off the floor and by the time you tape up a track and sit back to admire your work, they're already bored and have moved on to foraging through the pantry like hungry wolves. Obviously, I'm not the mom who pulls out craft bins and projects and keeps the children's hands and brains occupied all day with genius activities. No offense to those of you who are, it's just not my jam. I am the mom who does her best to not lose her mind when winter is on the line while balancing work and kids at home at the same time and so far, these are my survival go-to's as far as winter boredom busters go.
#1. Get familiar with every play land in the tri-county area. Figure out which of these are a. the cleanest and b. the least crowded. Bonus points for wifi, pebble ice and concierge drink re-fills.
#2. BUY ALL THE PASSES TO ALL THE THINGS - every bounce house, children's museum, kids club, whatever. If they offer a pass or a punch card, buy it.
#3. Library time. Yep, good old fashioned paper books. Get familiar with the story time schedule and all you gotta do is pray that doesn't conflict with nap time and then just show up. It's that simple, and all sorts of FREE. My library happens to be around the block and has a program where you can pay an extra few bucks to do a craft after story time is over if you want. After story time ends we usually spend a few minutes picking out a couple books and then I spend the next three weeks trying to find them because my kids lose everything...
#4. Rec. Center - Our local rec center offers classes for younger kids during day time and evening hours for a pretty cheap fee, like $30 for a month's worth of weekly classes that gets you all out of the house and your kids doing some physical exercises for the fitness purposes.
#5. Gym Daycare - Look, this benefits everyone. Your kids get some supervised play time with other kids and you get an hour and a half to yourself to work up a sweat if you so desire. OR, you can just go in the bathroom and dink around on your phone. How you choose to spend your time is your call. No judgement here. My local gym offers daycare as part of my membership which costs me about $35 a month, bargain!
#6. Friend/Neighbor Tradesies - Okay so this one can be tricky but if you've got the right people in your life it can work out quite nice. I've been lucky this year to have a few trusted friends and neighbors to help me out when my I took a new writing client on and my schedule got a bit crazy. We just basically swap out babysitting each other's kids for a few hours each week and it seems to work out okay.
#7. Play-Doh and Art Afternoons - is about as creative as I get with non-screen indoor structured play time. My kids always love Play-Doh, once you accept that you'll be buying more regularly because your children can't (for the love of all that is holy )NOT mix all the colors together and actually put them back in containers so they don't dry out. Roll with it, and just keep that stuff on your Amazon subscribe and save. Watercolors are always a win, however messy and inconvenient which is why we don't do it every day. I keep a big roll of paper and tape down a few layers and let them go bonkers. Winning!
And that's pretty much all I've got, feel free to chime in with your solutions in the comments because at this point...springtime, sunshine, and the freedom to play outside feels too far away for comfort. Any magical educational toys I should get my hands on? Interesting activities or places to go?
Let us share our collective motherly wealth of information for everyone to benefit so that the mothers and the children of winter can survive for another season with our sanity intact.