I'm a nanny and from time to time I am challenged with entertaining kids without overloading them with tv or kindle games. Recently I had the task of making a 9 hour shift pass by indoors on a rainy day with an 8 year old. I panicked at first but my pennydonna senses kicked in & I was able to come up with some fun activities that were cheap to do!
Depending on how old the child is, choosing a good craft can give you at least a 30 minute activity. I know boys generally aren't the crafty kind but if you make it fun, I believe all kids can enjoy themselves with this. Molly's mother is a big crafter so there were plenty to choose from. We made these things that I'm not sure what they are called. But it took time to get the little beads on the board the way we wanted and then of course I had to iron them down. We also made rubber-band bracelets! 1 hour gone!
**And let's just say you don't have a craft kit for something. Well that's when you crank up your creativity level and make something out of nothing! Do you have construction paper? Build a little house with it! Don't have construction paper? Great! Now you can tear out notebook paper & color it! That adds even more time to the activity! Coloring books & drawing are also great craft things to do!
Board Games: Free
Everyone knows to break out the board games once it's starts raining outside but here's a few ways to add to that.
Molly & I played the game Cooties. Instead of 1 body per person, we decided to double it! So you could only win if you put together two little cooties. This can be adapted to many games. With the game of Sorry, instead of choosing just one color, choose 2.
Another great idea to make a old game fun again is to put a time limit on the game. Instead of playing till the end, say we only have 10 minutes to play and whoever is closer to winning, wins the game. The sense of urgency really gets kids going and they go crazy lol but in a good way! You can play multiple times this way!
Okay I know. Reading and math worksheets aren't a favorite thing for kids to do on a day off from school. But it's our job to get kids excited for learning! Don't just sit them down at the table and leave them there to finish! Make it interesting!
Molly's mother wanted her to finish reading a book and complete her math worksheets. Of course Molly wasn't too excited about the idea at all and it was a bit of a struggle to get her to do it at first. But I made a wager with her. With the book, I told her if she read the remainder of the story in 10 minutes, I would try to read the entire book in one minute. It's sounds corny but kids love challenging adults and it worked like a charm. When she finished, I gave her my phone and set the timer for one minute. When she said go, I started reading as fast as I could. She thought I was hilarious and laughed so hard she forgot to watch the timer! Afterwards she wanted to do another book!
Math was always my evil subject in school so I ran low on ideas as to how to make it more fun. But I did sit with her and help her along the way, making silly examples out of things. i.e. "if I had 12 noses in various places on my body, how many would I have to get rid of to only be left with 2" I got a few giggles here and there so I was happy! Some great sites for free worksheets are:
Make Up Your Own Game: FREE
Pinterest is filled with all sorts of DIY games and this particular one popped up in my head when I saw some masking tape sitting on the counter. I was very mysterious as to what I was doing which adds to children's excitement. They want to know what's going on so they will stay intrigued. I took the tape and made 'spider webs' between the door frame. That's about all I took from Pinterest. The rest I made up as I went. I then gave Molly 3 sheets of paper to rip up in 4 sections. Then we picked a color, and colored all of our pieces. This would be how we differentiate between teams. Already she's loving it because 1, we're making somewhat of a mess and 2, she got to rip up paper. lol. Kids are really easy to please sometimes. We then made the rule that if you get a piece of paper to stick you have to move down a step. This activity worked perfectly! We spent about an hour doing this and she didn't want take the tape down!
*Here's a suggestion, don't put it up too high because it's difficult for kids (and even myself lol) to throw that high.
*Tissue paper will probably be easier to get to stick.
Make old games new: FREE
This is essentially the same thing as adding new rules to board games. We played flashlight hide & seek. We closed all the blinds and darkened the room then took turns finding each other with a flashlight. This maybe gave me 20 minutes off of my shift but it's better than nothing! She was an excellent hider!
Indoor Playground: FREE
I had about 4 hours left on my shift and I was running low on ideas by this time. Then I thought "Hey we can go to Chick-Fil-A and she can play on the indoor playground!" I got so excited by this! Yes it was raining but the restaurant was only 5 minutes away! So we went and she got to exert some more energy on the playground while I got to eat some fabulous chicken! It was a win-win!
Well I held off as long as I could. We had 2 & 1/2 hours left so she got to play on the computer for 30 minutes then we watched a movie. My advice on multimedia play is save it for last. It can be a great calming down time for kids. Disneyjr.com and Nickjr. com are great sites for kids. She got to play a few games with her favorite princesses while I got to settle down and read some more of my book!
Take a look at the video of Molly & I playing with the Masking Tape Spider Web!