Now that the days are getting shorter in the northern hemisphere and the weather is less appealing for outdoor activities, it’s very tempting to give in to children’s TV or computer requests.
I don’t want to make a statement about childhood and „screen time“ in this post, I just would like to give some hints for alternative indoor activities that are not too energy consuming for parents.
Parents often don’t look forward to spending hours with more or less excited children around the house, asking all 5 minutes what they can do. When these long rainy or stormy days start, it’s harder for all of us to get used to spend more time inside and find the way back to what I call the „winter-routine“.
Here are some of my kid’s favourite indoors activities:
Usually children like to do things with paper, clay, wood, different fabrics etc. If you’re not the crafty sort of parent, there are plenty of sites with instructions about what you need, how to make them etc. or just to get inspired.
Especially before Christmas, the kids can do something to decorate the house or to offer as a gift to family and friends. These activities can take hours, days, weeks to make.
In a few weeks some of us will celebrate Halloween: you can already start with decorations etc. In some european countries we also celebrate Saint Martin (11.11.) where children make a walk in the evening, holding colourful lanterns and singing songs.
2) Audiobooks and music
In general, while doing all sorts of handicrafts, my children like to listen to audiobooks. If your children play instruments: it’s very nice to let them set up a concert – with tickets, a real programm etc. for after dinner. They will be busy for hours!
3) Help cooking
When I’m not too much in a hurry, I like my children to participate in cooking. They all can make pizza, salads, quiches etc.: everything you do in the kitchen is great fun. And your children can exercice a bit of maths doing the measuring.
During this period of the year we really read a lot. We have books in almost every room and our children love to read. We also go regularly to our local public library to get some new “reading-food” (that’s how we call it in German: “Lesefutter”).
5) Write a story
For children who are already a bit older, writing a little story can be very thrilling. They can write a comic or a „novel“, add some pictures (or not). And for those who are not fluently yet, they can illustrate a story and you can help them to add some words.
My children like to act and often set up a whole role play, sometimes based on books or just invented by themselves. This takes them hours to organize and we often enjoy nice after-dinner shows. Smaller children might enjoy some puppet-plays or dress-up games.
7) Dancing in the house
We all like to dance and hop around from time to time. It’s also fun for mum’s and dad’s and it helps to get rid of the extra energy.
8) Board games
In this time of the year, we often sit down after dinner and play a board game. It’s not only fun for all of us, but it’s also a great opportunity to exercice several skills. – You can also ask your children to invent a board game by themselves, using materials you have in the house.
9) Make a mess
If you don’t mind your house getting a bit messy, your kids could build castles with blankets, cushions etc. or set up an obstacle run or just use all their lego’s or playmobiles or else to “enjoy” them once altogether.
10) Just get bored
I must confess that I like my children to be bored from time to time, because I think they need to learn to figure out by themselves what to do when the input from school, after school, parents etc. ceases. And most of the cases they come up with great ideas. I even experienced that this boredom stops when they’re used to spend more time using their imagination.
These are just a few hints for parents who’s kids don’t know what to do. But I’m sure your children will have lots of ideas to add. Would you like to share them?