Mix up all your meals, eating traditional dinner foods in the morning (cold pizza and spaghetti are especially popular) and breakfast foods like French toast or pancakes for supper. Wear your clothes backwards (as much as possible), talk and walk backwards, and read stories to each other starting at the end instead of the beginning. You can even tell jokes backwards by revealing the punch line first and having the others try to guess the question!
Be a Paleontologist for the Day
Your stir-crazy children will likely need fresh air and exercise at some point in their confinement - plan ahead for a “dinosaur dig.” This is much easier than it sounds and can quickly use up several hours of a day when you’re stuck at home. Collect all of the various sized plastic dinosaurs in your house (or buy some in advance at the local Dollar Store). Put the prehistoric creatures in different sized Tupperware containers or large plastic bowls filled with water and freeze them. Take the resulting “dinosaur eggs” out of their molds and hide or bury them all over your yard. Put the kids into their snowsuits, give them some old garden tools to aid in excavating their finds, and set them loose. If you want to provide some extra incentive, you can also freeze a large plastic egg (from Easter or pantyhose) filled with coins or dollar bills as the “bonus find.”
A wonderful snack idea to accompany this activity is something I call “Excavation Cupcakes.” Find these Fossil Food cake molds at www.fredandfriends.com in sets of four (some local novelty stores may carry them as well). When the kids are ready to come inside, present them with their treat, a fork, and the unusual order to “dig up your dessert!” Half the fun is having to chip delicately away at the fragile cake so you can keep the 3-D skull of the Triceratops, T-Rex, or other extinct species buried at the bottom intact.
Decorate your Yard
Fill a bunch of plastic spray bottles with food coloring and water and let the kids spray-paint the snow-filled yard. It they’re really artistic, encourage them to make snowmen or snow sculptures and color them so they look more realistic and interesting. Be sure to take lots of pictures to send to the grandparents and decorate the refrigerator!
These are just a few ideas to keep the positive energy flowing, no matter what the weather or germs are doing. The main thing is to regard your enforced time at home as an unexpected opportunity to have a good time with your offspring rather than as a torturous snow-filled struggle. Remember, in just a few short years your young adults will be recalling “the good old days” and it will be much more enjoyable to have them remember you as a superhero!
Sue Henninger is a freelance writer and a regular contributor to Rochester Area & RocParent. She lives in the Upstate New York area. Contact her at www.fingerlakeswriter.com
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51 Things to do with Pool Noodles!
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