It’s another snow day, or another frigid weekend cooped up indoors, and you’re wondering what in the world you can do to help entertain the kids for another day of wintry weather.
You could plan a large outing, like our recent Great Wolf Lodge weekend. Yet the family budget, much like winter, often confines and limits us. So we asked our staff to share some budget friendly ideas. They gave us their board game/card game ideas (which you’ll find listed at the end) as well as the following creative suggestions.
In The Hubbell Home, children currently range from age 2 to 15. Home Parents Jordan and Violeta Douce have some ideas that work for all ages:
Crafting and painting is always fun. The teens love to paint with acrylics, while the little ones enjoy finger paint or washable paint. We’ve also made M&M® mosaics, since we have quite a stash of donated ones. (You could also use different colored dry beans.) We pulled out glue and coloring book pages and the kids enjoyed gluing them to their papers…as well as eating a few! When the mosaics were done we also placed some in a bowl of water and enjoyed seeing the colors melt into the water, and the “m” peel off and float up to the top. The kids loved it so much they kept repeating the experiment over and over, even though they already knew what the outcome would be.
We also like to cook and bake together. That makes time go by really fast. We have the added benefit of enjoying a treat at the end of it all!
Our favorite game to play as a house is Fish Bowl – which is a mixture of charades and catch phrase. It’s not a board game; you just need paper and pencils. It not only provides entertainment, but it boosts the kids’ self esteem as they become the center of attention while their team tries to guess the word they have. It is so fun to watch them become proud of themselves when they get their team to guess their word or words!
In The Wright Home, Home Parents Andrew and Merri Heberlein have children ranging from their own 6 year old, up to a 16 year old. They play a lot of board games, but Merri also added:
We love to play hockey outside in the cold. Of course, throwing snowballs and sledding are also winter favorites with our kids. We like playing Mafia or Werewolf. Andrew and some of the boys have been working on origami and paper airplanes. To get out of the house, sometimes we’ll go to the mall or a shopping center; other times we’ll go to an ice skating center or go watch a movie.
To add to that, Home Parent in The Atherton Home, Brian Wallace says that when they just can’t handle one more card game or board game – getting out to go to a movie is fun for everyone (their home ranges from age 5 to 16.) Doing it as a spur-of-the-moment outing is their preference, as it adds to the excitement for the kids.
In The Zimmer Home, Home Parents Cody and Amanda Cox currently have children ages 3 to 16, plus a toddler of their own. Here are their suggestions:
When there’s snow, we really enjoy sledding. We have also had some indoor nerf gun wars on snow days and weekends. And when we REALLY need to get out? We take them somewhere local, like Bonkers, where they can run around and burn off some energy.
Our Therapist Rachel Howell says:
My husband Al was the master of making up games when we were Home Parents. One was a game simply known as The Blindfold Game. We usually played in the basement. One person was blindfolded and they had to try and tag someone, then that person would put the blindfold on. Ideally, the goal of the game would be to be quiet so they don’t find and tag you, but you’re playing with kids so generally there was lots of giggling, making it easier to be found. The second game that was pretty popular was one he called Sneaky McSneakerson. One person sat on a chair blindfolded, in the middle of the room. Everyone else was in a circle around them. There was a set of keys on a keyring under the chair, and the goal was to sneak up, grab the keys, and get back to the edge of the room without being pointed at. The person in the chair would have to listen and point if they thought they heard someone. If you were pointed at, you were out. (If the blindfolded person was just wildly pointing, the round started over.) Both of those games passed hours of time in our home throughout the winter.
I also loved to read to everyone. Sometimes it was challenging to get through a book because I wanted to make sure everyone was there for it, but we did read through a couple different ones, including “Wonder.”
In conclusion, here is a list of suggested board and card games from our staff:
“Just Dance” dance-offs for burning some energy
Ticket to Ride
Settlers of Catan
Apples to Apples
The Football Game
The Lion Guard