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Cheap Ways to Keep Younger Kids Busy in Winter

Jan 15, 2008
When the weather turns cold, keeping the kids busy gets more challenging. They can't just play outside all day in a lot of cases, and often simply don't want to. It's enough to wear any parent down.

Sometimes doing this on a budget can be challenging as well. As a stay at home mom, I don't have that much of a budget for entertaining the kids, even though I would love to be able to enroll them in all the activities they would enjoy. My daughter very much so wants dance and acting classes, for example, but those aren't in the budget.

Doing these things informally at home is quite possible. She won't be learning the techniques that a class would teach her, but her creativity is being strongly encouraged.

Puppet shows are a fairly regular feature in our home. A sheet tossed over the footboard posts makes her preferred theater.

Cardboard boxes are the classic, of course. It may take a few tries, but you can get double thickness ones from Home Depot for free. Just go in shortly before closing and talk to a manager about having the night crew save one for you. With any luck, it will indeed be there in the morning. Appliance boxes also work well if you happen to note a delivery in your area.

Heading out to the library is another great option. Not only do most have story time for younger children, but you can check out books with more craft ideas.

A good supply of craft supplies is essential. It doesn't have to be fancy, but markers, crayons, paints, paper bags, popsicle sticks, paper plates, glue and so forth leave a lot of room for creativity.

A treasure hunt can also be a lot of fun. It also helps kids learn how to look for things. Show them what you're going to hide, and leave a series of clues for them to follow.

Don't forget the chores. Even 2 year olds can help out a little. Sometimes their help is more of a hindrance when they're young, but it makes them very happy. Even if you do have to sweep the floor over again at nap time.

Go through old photo albums or do a slide show of the pictures on your computer. We use our digital pictures for a screen saver on our computers, which means we get to see them regularly, and the kids love watching them and asking questions.

It's easy for boredom to strike during cold weather. Fortunately it's also not that hard to come up with ideas to entertain younger children. Get creative and have fun together!
About the Author
Stephanie Foster blogs at http://www.homewiththekids.com/blog/ about her life as a stay at home mom. Get more parenting tips at her site.
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