Welcome ROCmommas, ROCpoppas, and Friends!

Have fun with your kids - that's what it's all about. If you're looking for fun places to go in Rochester, NY (ROC), awesome
crafts to make, and yummy treats to bake with your kids - as well as some ideas for Date Nights - then you've come to the
right place. Welcome to ROCmomma. Happy reading, and please share your comments. Thank you!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Beat the Rainy Day Blahs

Last week's weather here in Rochester, NY was such a tease! We wore t-shirts and shorts. We opened the sandbox and played on the swing set. We went to the park. We spent hours in the glorious sunshine (protected by sunblock and hats, of course). And best of all, it made the kids so exhausted that they slept incredibly well last week.

Not so much, this week.

Playing indoors seems like double torture this week, after tasting that sweet warmth just days ago. Going back to long sleeves, pants, and jackets is disappointing, to say the least. So far this week, I've softened the blow with a trip to the library, Strong National Museum of Play, and a stop at Petco to pick out two new goldfish. But today we are stuck indoors so we are beating the Rainy Day Blahs with a couple of sure-to-make-'em-smile activities.

ROCmomma's Rainy Day Blah-Beater Activity #1: The Obstacle Course

We've done a few variations of this activity. Sometimes I scatter couch cushions around the floor, and we are bunnies hopping through the garden; if we hit a cushion, we fall down the rabbit hole. A fellow ROCpoppa pointed out that this is a variation of the Hot Lava game. There was even a Tosh 2.0 clip on YouTube where he talked about playing this as a kid; unfortunately that video has been deleted. It was funny. Oh well.

Indoor obstacle courses are fun and can be altered after playing for a while, to keep them occupied even longer. It doesn't matter how much or how little space you have; it will still be fun. Try to find things that the kids can go OVER, UNDER, AROUND, or THROUGH. If you have cardboard boxes or those colorful cardboard "bricks" you can even build a wall for them to smash. Grab a mixing bowl or soup pot and some kiddie spoons for a tossing-game obstacle. Be creative!

We started in front of the fireplace:

  1. Crawl OVER the ottoman
  2. Crawl UNDER the tall chair
  3. Go AROUND the bean bag chair
  4. BALL TOSS - get one squishy ball into any hole

5. BEAN BAG TOSS - three bean bags in each bowl; get one into the bucket to proceed

      6. Jump OVER the tiger, jump OVER puppy 1, and jump OVER puppy 2
      7. Crawl THROUGH the tunnel

      8. EGG TOSS - get one plastic Easter egg into the basket
      9. Cross the Finish Line - Hooray!!!
    10. Do it again!     

This lasted for about 45 minutes, with no variations. I just had to replace the squishy balls, bean bags, and eggs every so often. In between, I washed the dishes, swept the floor, and even read a magazine article. Woo hoo!

ROCmomma's Rainy Day Blah-Beater Activity #2: Baby Chick Eggs

For this craft project you'll need:

  • Plastic Easter eggs, any size
  • Google eyes (or cut out white circles and color the pupils in yourself)
  • Orange foam sheets or cardstock
  • Glue sticks, plus white craft glue or glue dots, and perhaps some masking tape
  • Assorted feathers, pom poms, and/or tissue paper
  • Scissors
  1. Cut heart shapes from the orange foam or card stock, then trim the two curved tops of the heart with some zig zig snips to make webbed feet. This is all free-hand; just eyeball it.
  2. If you're using glue dots, put a glue dot in the center of each set of feet, with some of the backing paper still on top. Otherwise, leave as is for now.
  3. Cut small triangles from the orange foam or card stock.
  4. Set up stations for each child with eggs, google eyes, feet, noses, a glue stick, and any decorative touches (feathers, pom poms, tissue paper, etc.)

      5. Kids can remove the backing paper from the glue dot on the feet and attach to the bottom of the egg, or attach with craft glue.

       6. Kids can attach eyes with glue dots or craft glue (I started running low on glue dots, and craft glue was actually taking too long to dry...so I rolled up strips of masking tape and we used those!)
       7. Kids can attach nose and decorations with glue sticks

      8. Perch the baby chicks around the house, or place a few in a basket filled with crinkle paper/ basket-fill. Enjoy your sweet creations!

ROCmomma's Other Random Rainy Day Blah Beaters

  • Play Doh and any plastic cookie-cutters you have in your collection; or an assortment of plastic cups, spoons, forks, and container lids.
  • Silly String (officially, it's "Unique Wacky String") - I've found it in the party aisles at both Target and Michaels in a variety of colors; just shake well & often, and avoid carpets and furniture; otherwise it cleans up easily. 
  • Boat Races in the bathtub - for this one, we don't actually get in the bath tub; either fill the tub part way or pull the infant tub out of the attic and place on a few towels on the kitchen floor; add a few toy boats or other water toys; be sure to STAY WITH KIDS AT ALL TIMES WHEN WATER IS INVOLVED. Please, and thank you.
  • Indoor Sandbox - First, cover the table with a tablecloth or other protection. Next, fill a large shallow container or bowl with anything you've had in the cupboard for a while and won't need anytime soon: unpopped popcorn, oatmeal, raw rice, uncooked pasta, dried beans, Cheerios, or even flour. Give your kids some spoons, measuring cups, small plastic containers, even a small plastic shovel or truck. Super ROCmommas and Super ROCpoppas can even add a few small dinosaurs, army men, or Littlest Pet Shop creatures and tell the kids they're digging for treasure.
  • Or check out these ideas to "Beat Cabin Fever" on Kiwi magazine's website.
Good luck to everyone stuck indoors with kids. I hope these ideas help you battle the blahs, and that your kids love the activities so much that they'll tell you what a great ROCmomma or ROCpoppa you are! Thanks for reading, and please post your own great ideas - or your success stories with these activities - in the Comments section.

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