Think outside the box while staying indoors
When you’re stuck inside, doing the same things can become quickly repetitive. Your family doesn’t have to be bored indoors. Here are a few ideas for family-friendly activities that everyone will enjoy.
Painting is a perfect way to spend an afternoon indoors at any age. Both children and adults can enjoy creating a masterpiece from a blank canvas. For adults, making art can be therapeutic, sparking brain activity and relieving stress. For children, painting can develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination, provide an outlet for emotional communication, and help improve decision-making skills.
Get creative. Anything can be a paintbrush. Use twigs or leaves for a nature-themed painting experience. Try cooked noodles, racecars, building blocks, or bubble wrap. If you aren’t feeling adventurous, stick to traditional brushes and watercolors. You’ll likely want to make sure you use washable paint when working with little ones to make clean-up simple. With painting, anything goes.
If your family has some extra energy to burn off, try turning to yoga. This meditative form of exercise is easily adaptable to suit many skill levels, so the whole family can get involved. For children who face difficulties self-regulating, yoga is an excellent tool to help them slow down while learning how to manage their emotions and body movements. Additionally, yoga can help improve gross motor skills in children while supporting increased balance, flexibility, and muscle control in adults.
Add yoga to your morning routine for a peaceful start to your day, or squeeze it in before bedtime to help you wind down. Yoga’s relaxing and restorative properties have been proven to help aid sleep.
Puppet shows, whether freeform or scripted, invite imagination into the home. Puppet shows help children develop confidence speaking and reading, understand empathy and emotional depth by relating to characters, and allow each child to hone their etiquette while taking turns in the puppet theater. Nearly anything can become a puppet with a little dose of imagination— your child’s favorite stuffed animal can come to life with a unique voice.
For an added craft, let your kids design their own puppets using materials you likely already have around the house. Loose buttons, spare yarn, and stray socks make excellent hand puppets with a little creativity.
Put all your senses to work by crafting sensory bins to use with your kids. Sensory bins are simple to make and can be done over and over again using different materials for endless play. Building a sensory bin is simple: find a container, pour in a textured element such as rice, beans, or shredded paper, and then add any shovels, scoops, or figurines to inspire boundless playtime. The bin uses all five senses for an immersive experience and can be accomplished with just a few items. You might be surprised by how long your child wants to sit at the bin and play.
Reading is excellent fun for the whole family. Spending time reading to your children has been proven to support emotional intelligence and literacy acquisition. The earliest readers will enjoy cardboard books with their stiff, easy-to-turn pages, and many sport various textures to intrigue children. Showing a child how to hold a book upright helps them understand proper reading techniques, even before learning how to read.
If your children have aged past the days of reading aloud together, try setting a time for the whole family to sit down and read quietly. Afterward, allow time to discuss each person’s book to support critical thinking, language analyzation, and reading comprehension. Reading is a lifelong hobby that develops global empathy and can be enjoyed for decades.
Sometimes the best way to boost your mood is to have a dance party. Create a playlist with your favorite songs and let the music move you. Kids will love to shake their sillies out and this freeform exercise is excellent for burning off extra energy. Dancing can boost self-confidence, improve overall athleticism, and encourages creativity both in children and adults. You’re never too old for a dance party.
If you prefer to go all out, break out the decorations and trade overhead lights for colored Christmas lights or blacklights to turn your living room into a disco. Embrace the party environment and dress for the occasion. It will be an event your kids will never forget.
Scavenger hunts can be both educational and enjoyable. Children love the sense of gratification after discovering a hidden clue, and scavenger hunts can be uniquely tailored to the interests of your children. Plus, hidden items can be as difficult or simple as necessary for your children. This incredibly versatile activity can be done using physical items such as teddy bears or trucks as well as searching for items of certain colors, shapes, or sizes. Have your children keep track of which items they find by tallying them on a worksheet to practice pencil grip strength and accountability. No matter how many scavenger hunts you do, each one can be a little bit different so they never get boring.
Break out the retro games for a board game night that the whole family will enjoy. Whether you choose an old favorite like Jenga or a newer game such as Ticket to Ride, the whole family can play together. For a night of laughter and friendly competition, gather around the table for card games like Rummy or Old Maid, or test your wits with word games like Scrabble. Some card games, such as Uno and Go Fish, can help younger children with number recognition and matching while practicing good sportsmanship. Additionally, games can help children learn how to take turns, develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and practice communication.
This hands-on craft recalls old-fashioned communication and turns it into an activity that the whole family can enjoy. You can use nearly anything to create meaningful letters: markers, stickers, colored pencils, crayons, scraps of paper, glitter, and glue. Writing letters to friends and family members is an excellent outlet for creativity that is sure to boost the recipient’s mood when they see it arrive in the mail. Kids will benefit from practicing addressing letters and adhering stamps. Even younger children can practice pre-literacy skills by tracing letters and practicing their fine motor skills.
Curling up in front of the TV with a bowl of popcorn is a great way to spend a day inside. Whether you binge-watch an entire series or turn on a favorite classic, watching movies is an excellent way to pass the time. Plus, it can be educational! Movies create the opportunity for discussion, and often movies invite us into worlds that we are unfamiliar with, which strengthens our empathy. Movies are often filled with social commentary and life lessons that encourage viewers to look at situations from a new perspective. Especially at home—with the freedom to pause to talk, take a restroom break, or refill your popcorn—movie-watching can be a social experience that brings the family together. To take things to the next level, consider building an immersive fort out of blankets and pillows to create an unbeatable movie den, perfect for a lazy afternoon indoors.
Take a Walk
Rain or shine, sometimes you simply need to get out of the house. This can be done within the constraints of your backyard if you’re unable to leave the property, or consider taking a stroll through the neighborhood to get a breath of fresh air. Walking is free, allows plenty of room for social distancing, and is a fantastic form of weight-bearing, low impact exercise that improves bone density, balance, and cardiovascular and pulmonary health.
Spending time together in the kitchen is an excellent way for a family to bond. Find that old family recipe and give it a whirl, inviting your children into the kitchen to help. With all hands on deck, the process can be divided up to suit your child’s skill level. Younger children will enjoy stirring ingredients, watching as they mix together. If you have older children, consider letting them choose the recipe and lead the cooking. Baking can also function as a brief lesson in food science and chemistry, watching as cakes rise in the oven or discussing the ways food fuels our bodies. Make memories and delicious treats by baking together as a family.
When you love where you live, you won’t begrudge spending time indoors. If you’d like to learn more about properties in Calabasas or Hidden Hills gated communities, contact The Astman Group today for more information.