Is a freelance writer and school teacher living in Adelaide. On weekends I like to get out and explore with my family. I love travelling and have lived in various cities.
Published July 12th 2012
Cold and wet days, especially weekends, can really place pressure on parents of young children. If you want to do more than to place them in front of movies or game consoles and need to find entertainment on a budget, then here are some of my top ideas.
Let's face it, winter can have some really cold days so any activity which warms the house is especially good. My first idea is to bake something which will be ready in time for morning tea. How about some cake to use up those old bananas which have seen better days.
Crafting While you have the oven on here is a creative idea - make some swirly crayons. Everyone seems to have broken crayons at home so get the kids to sort through the pencil box and come up with all the broken pieces. Spray a muffin tray with oil and then involve the kids in placing the broken crayon pieces into the muffin trays. Small pieces of crayons work best so any big pieces will need breaking further. Once all the crayons are in the muffin tins place tins in an oven at 180C for about 10-15 minutes.
It is best to keep a close eye on these as they will melt very quickly. Take care when removing them from the oven as the melted wax is easy to spill. Leave them to cool for 20 minutes then they should pop out of the trays.
While the crayons are melting have the kids find and cut pictures out of magazines and junk mail. Choose a theme for them: nature, fashion show, sport, house items. If you have butcher's paper get the kids to work on a collage/mural, if you only have smaller paper then get them to create a book/magazine. By the time they have their creation ready it should be time for morning tea cookies and/ or cake.
Presentations After morning tea, have the children talk about the collage or magazine they have made. This is a good way to develop their literacy skills. Once the presentations are over it is time to try out the crazy crayons you have made. The kids will love the vibrant colours swirling through their new crayons. They will also enjoy the patterns they can make drawing with them.
Construction Competition After all this art and cooking I like to try and appeal to a different skill with a construction competition. Use whatever materials you have, it could be Lego, blocks, or even the recyclables ready to be taken out to the bin. Make it a challenge but have a variety of awards e.g. Most Colourful, Tallest, Smallest, Most Outrageous etc, that way everyone is happy at the end. While the kids are busy you can have a quiet cuppa or even plan some lunch.
If the sun has still not put in an appearance I would recommend getting some of the following out: play dough, paints, colouring pencils.
Here's a quick Microwave Play Dough Recipe; Ingredients: 2 cups plain flour
1 tablespoon oil 2 cups water 1 cup salt
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
Beat all ingredients together. Place in a microwave safe dish, a casserole dish is a good idea. Cook for 4-5 minutes, stopping at about 2.5 minutes to stir. If you have a very powerful microwave you may need to only cook for 3-5 minutes.
A few indoor games should round out the day. Favourites at our house are Simon Says, Hide and Seek, musical statues and What's The Time Mr Wolf?
Who says you need a TV to entertain kids on a cold and rainy day?