Ahhhhh, while visions of ginger breads danced in their heads! Are you kidding? We are several days into Christmas break and the new car smell has already worn off. This is the point where we again realize that teachers are so severely underpaid. We counted down until they could sleep in and we didn’t have to do the morning struggle…now we are counting down until Christmas break is over because the kiddos are bored as you know what!
Of course, Christmas morning was great. Memories for all and mimosas for mom. The kiddos opened each present like they were tearing into Wonka bars looking for a golden ticket. Savored each for an entire 10 seconds and then moved on to the next. Like rabid, spoiled, but cute little badgers.
Today, it is 39 degrees and raining in central Louisiana, so all of those new outside toys that Santa brought are deemed useless. The ones that are supposed to help expel the superhuman energy that children possess, and in turn help mom. Useless. Prepare for the….”I am SOOOO bored”. Roger that, loud and clear. If they aren’t saying it already, it’s coming. So what is a mom, or dad, to do? I mean, we can’t start drinking at 9am to tolerate our sweet, little angels. Getting smashed at 9am is frowned upon unless accompanied by brunch. (Memo to me; schedule a brunch) Have no fear, here is a list to help any parent/grandparent/babysitter keep those littles & teens busy! Thus keeping down the liquor bill….win, win.
This will keep them entertained regardless of what the weather is doing. After Christmas, purchase some clearance plain stockings and craft supplies (or whatever you have laying around), rhinestones, glitter (careful with glitter…it gets everywhere- eyes, the dog, grout), embellishments and washable markers. Allow each of your children to design their own unique stocking for Santa to fill with goodies for next year. This also helps to remind them that he is STILL watching! I would probably put these in a very safe place and forget where I put them…but hey, I love a good glittered project! Now, I am OCD, and we use the same traditional stockings each year, they have to match…so if you are the same, these glittered stockings can be hung in their room, or game room, or wherever you/they choose. #OCDmomAtTimes #workinprogress
Ask the kiddos to go through their old toys and pick 5, 10, 20 toys to donate…any number you pick. Give them a basket, large plastic crate and have them fill it with toys to donate to charity. I used to do this with my son a few weeks before Christmas and he would pick out some of his toys to donate to charity. One year he picked his absolute favorite toy, he was about seven years old. I asked him why he was donating his favorite? He told me because ‘he wanted another little boy to have it to love as much as he did’. Pick a charity that stays LOCAL. I donate to our local NEW TO YOU thrift store that is run by the Junior League. Most medium to large cities have Junior League thrift stores. They used the proceeds for Women’s and Children’s grants, scholarship and projects in your own communities. Find one or something like that or a Women’s Shelter to donate to.
I’m Bored Jar
Every time you hear “I’m bored’ they get to pick something from the jar. Sometimes it is a snack, sometimes it’s a chore. But the chores are 90/10 ratio to the snacks. It can be a simple as writing things down on slips of paper/post it notes and putting them in a jar, bowl. (Warning: you will need to put this jar out of the reach of little hands. I have seen a 4 yr old open every slip of paper before trying to find a bag of goldfish) Here is a link to SEVERAL bored ideas. Suggestion: leave out the ones that takes to much input from other siblings as it may cause chaos. Rule is they cant pick again until they complete that bored chore. #DontLetThemWalkAllOverYouMom #BeStrong
Have a movie marathon! Netflix and/or Amazon Prime movies are great options. Don’t forget the popcorn! You can even lay out a pillow & sleeping bag area. This works great when the weather is nasty. Kiddos can’t agree on one, or two, or three? Let them watch all of them and draw numbers for the order! This is a great way to kill an afternoon and keep the kiddos entertained. Want to add more fun…everyone get in their silliest PJ’s. Heck, everyone may still be in their PJ’s.
Teen Brain Mush
So, that teen/tween of your has been gaming or on their phone 24/7 since school let out. And they just said they were bored or better yet, asked for some ITunes credits. Even AFTER they just received 2,456 presents. Well, of course they did! This is going to be great. Have them write a 150 word hand written essay on a topic of your choice. OH, THE HORROR! This means they cant copy & paste into a Word.Doc and they actually have to use paper and a pen…and their brain. Maybe ‘What Christmas Means to Them” or “Who invented Apple” or “Einstein’s Theory of Relativity”. Kidding on that last one. #TeenZombieBrain
This is great for ages 10+, sometimes younger and thanks to the holidays, everyone will already be in the giving spirit. With school out, you have no excuse not to give a little love to your community. Remember, giving actually feels much better than receiving! Try places that need extra help during the holidays: Food Banks, Soup Kitchens, Animal Shelters–even nursing homes welcome smiling faces during the holidays.
Make a time capsule
Have your kiddo/s pick a few things, and put each in a plastic bag. Put each bag in a sturdy, weather/water tight container. Have them choose an area and draw a map of where it will be buried and bury it in your back yard to dig up when they are 20. Once the item is buried, have each kiddo draw another version of the map and color it. This will keep the time capsule event going (thus keeping them entertained longer) and mom/dad can keep the original map. Each kiddo will have their own hand made version of their map to display, frame, keep in a secret location, etc.
Learn Sign Language
Well, fully learning ASL over holiday break is a bit much, but for teens & tweens…they can totally learn the alphabet. Plus…anything to get their little brains & fingers doing something other than texting. Here is a wiki article that lays it all out for them…so they can even use their iDevice.
Make a 2018 List
Get them thinking about their own ‘resolutions’! This is good for any age that can write. Even if they can only write a few words per line. Have them write their own list of 100 things to do in 2018. If you think 100 is to much…although it would keep them entertained…drop it down to 50, or 25. The list can be made up of what they want to do, where they want to go, who they want to meet…tell them to let their imaginations run wild! If they want to pet a dolphin, write it down. Go to Hawaii, write it down. Meet Taylor Swift, write it down. The guy that plays Thor…WRITE THAT S&%T DOWN. Be nicer to their little brother, write it down. Go to the moon!? Write it down. It may help to give them suggestions like these to get their little minds thinking…or you may get three lines of “I want to go to Disney”. (which isn’t bad) #ILoveDisney #MayWantToOmitTheThorSuggestion
Call That Person
You know, that person that you have been saying “girl, we need to hang out” or “we need to get our kids together to play”. CALL THEM. TEXT THEM. We aren’t getting any younger. The billion dollar aesthetics industry can attest to that. Set up an afternoon of whatever….just make it happen. #HotMessParty
Your kids want to go outside and play, but its either raining or TOOO cold. Bring the fun indoors. They can burn off some energy with a game of hopscotch right on the rug. All you need is some painter’s tape or masking tape and a few minutes to set up the game.
Set up their OWN Live Board Game
So, this may take a little set up, but a game room is perfect for this–or even down the hall. Get some of your kids’ toys together, and design a board game that will keep them entertained for hours. Go through the house looking for toys kids can climb over or under. Tunnels, indoor slides and ball pits are a few examples. Now you can set up a board game with instruction cards, activities and goals to tire the kids out while you get the rest of the house clean, or cook, or just enjoy a glass of whatever. LOL
Audio story books are another way to get some quiet time out of your children if they are all hopped up on Mountain Dew or have had enough together time. Stories for toddlers all the way to young adults can be found in stores or at your local library. Or download something to a device, build them a fort to relax in….and everyone to their corners! Perfect for nasty weather days.
Bring out New Toys
What the Hells Bells? NEW toys!? Yes, I said new toys….but not real new ones, just the ones you hid a few days before. Here is a little trick that I used to do at birthdays and Christmas. When I was cleaning up the wrapping paper explosion, that was left behind, I would take a few of the toys and hide them. Yes, hide them for a rainy day. Literally. Plus, I’ll bet you $50 that most kiddos don’t remember every single toy they get anyway. Especially if they are younger. Tricky you say? More like brilliant. #TryIt #YouWillThankMe
If all of these other ideas fail, you can always try baking cookies or having a play date. But, I wanted to share some different suggestions that the kiddos wouldn’t totally roll their precious eyes to. And something that parents wouldn’t read and say “Really? I spent 5 minutes of my life reading this and no new ideas. Screw this Champagne Bacon chick.” Instead, by the end of Christmas break, our children will be able to sign dirty words to us about the Theory of Relativity and you will have a brand new hole in your backyard.
And finally…but MOST importantly, it’s OK for them to NOT be entertained every single second of the day. Let them use their imaginations. It is our job to have fun, laugh, etc.? Yes. But provide activities every moment of every day to make sure they (and their visiting friends) never have a dull moment?? No. Absurd. Our job is to provide a safe, healthy, happy home. We are not an arcade. We are the parents.
You’re welcome, may the Force be with you & HAPPY NEW YEAR!