Brain Building in Progress
10 Brain Boosting Ways to Have Fun Indoors
“It’s raining again!” “Another snow storm!!”
By Jessica Lopa from Mommy University
We have all said those words many times throughout the year. Another day, sometimes a week, stuck indoors. Your kids are bouncing off the walls, and you can’t come up with one more idea to keep them entertained and you SANE! After a winter of never ending snow storms, I became a self-proclaimed (semi) expert at entertaining my children inside!
Here are some fun ideas that are not only engaging but also EDUCATIONAL.
Make your own fort and watch a movie while sitting inside: This is something I did many times as a kid, and I LOVE that my kids love to do it now. Although I am not the best fort builder, my kids appreciate my attempt. What is even better is that this task uses fine and gross motor skills, spatial organization, planning and problem solving. It also gives kids the sense of accomplishment which boosts self-confidence.
Make an indoor obstacle course: Dust off those hula hoops and pull out those pool noodles, it’s time to make an obstacle course, and yes I said it, IN YOUR HOUSE! This may sound crazy, but it’s AWESOME! Find a space in your house (move the couches if you must), and set up a fun course full of adventure allowing for hours of fun. Let the kids be involved, especially if they are older. This task boosts activity level which is great for children’s health. It is also uses gross motor skills, motor planning and the imagination!
Create learning stations: Set up stations around the house where kids can work on their academic skills while still having fun. Stations can include some of the following: coloring, placing beads on strings, math flash cards, sorting objects, making a specific craft, reading books, building with Legos or blocks, etc. The possibilities are really endless.
Play a game: Any game will do – board game, hide and seek, Simon says, charades. Games of all kinds are the perfect way to bring friends and families together. They help increase social and language skills, including vocabulary and turn taking skills. In addition, most games involve thinking and reasoning which are skills needed for academic success.
Get crafty: Making crafts and projects enhances a number of developmental skills including creative thinking, fine motor skills, understanding directions and maintaining focus and attention. Kids also find making crafts fun, and it allows them to use their imagination! One great project, especially for older kids, is making a scrapbook or collage. This crafty project encourages kids to use their imaginations and thinking skills. Fine motor skills and visual-spatial planning is also needed to create each page or project.
Go camping INSIDE: Set up a tent in the house, make a pretend fire out of paper towel rolls and red tissue paper, make s’mores in the oven, tell scary stories and fall asleep to the light of an electric lantern. Make it even more exciting by inviting over some friends.
Have your own puppet show: For this activity, you can use puppets you already have or make your own. From what I hear sock poppets are fun and easy to make, although I have not made them myself yet. Playing with puppets helps boosts creativity and imagination. It also enhances language skills and self-confidence.
Family story time: As I have said many times, reading boosts vocabulary and overall language development. Family story time also brings parents and kids together. Let your child pick out the book so they feel more involved. Make it more exciting by reading by the fireplace or under a fort with a flashlight!
Build and Create: Playing with building/construction toys has so many benefits including enhanced cognitive development. Building toys can be used independently or families can work together to make giant creations!
So who cares if it’s raining, snowing or just too hot! Learning and fun can happen anywhere; even in your own living room!
The Brain Building in Progress Campaign is a public/private partnership of the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care, United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley and a growing community of early education and child care providers, academic researchers, business leaders and individuals. Our mission is to raise awareness of the critical importance of fostering the cognitive, social and emotional development of young children by emphasizing its future impact on economic development and prosperity for everyone in Massachusetts. For more information, visit the Brain Building in Progress website.
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