Post by Contributing Writer Amy
You know those days. When you just need to get yourself and your kids out of the house, but because of a sleeping baby, bad weather, or just bad timing, it’s not possible. While having consistent sleep, meal, and snack times definitely helps, we’ve all had those days where it feels like nothing can save us!
Here are 12 creative bad day busters when you are stuck at home:
- Snuggle and look at baby photos and videos together. Tell your kids the little details you remember about them when they were younger, like the funny way they said spaghetti or how they used to follow you to the bathroom and try to unroll all the toilet paper. I’m sure you can feel all the warm fuzzies just thinking about it.
- Make a surprise for someone else. One of the best ways to stop a bad day in its tracks is by trying to make someone else’s day. Bake cookies for a neighbor, paint a picture for grandma, or a make a thank you card for your sanitation workers. Get busy doing something for someone else and talk about how happy they will feel to get the surprise.
- Teach and share jokes. Practice and then record the kids telling jokes and send videos to loved ones. Very little kids can just do the “I don’t know!” part of the joke and then a silly laugh at the end. It’s a bit of a challenge to find jokes young kids understand, so here are some of our favorite jokes
- Two muffins were in the oven and one muffin said, “It sure is hot in here.” The other muffin said, “HOLY SMOKES! A talking muffin!”
- How do you know if you are a pirate? You just ARRRRRRRRR!
- How do you make a tissue dance? Put a little boogy in it.
- Why did the cookie go to the hospital? He felt crummy.
- Why did the bird go to the hospital? He needed a tweetment.
- If you have a Star Wars fan in the family: How does Darth Vader like his toast? On the dark side.
- Make homemade play dough and everyone, including you, can sit down and relax in the squishy warmness. Adding play dishes and utinsils usually inspires a play dough bake sale or restaurant. Adding birthday candles and sprinkles is a huge hit here and usually inspires a birthday party for an animal or doll. Here is my favorite recipe because it is quick, easy, and holds up well: 2 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 cup salt, 3 Tablespoons oil, 1 Teaspoon Alum and 2 cups boiling water with food coloring, if desired. Mix it all together and kneed!
- Plan a small, silly party for no reason. You can check here to see what silly holiday is coming up. My personal favorite is International Talk like a Pirate day on September 19th! Talk about who could come, what to eat, and what you could do at it. During the planning, your kids get your full attention and some control, which may very well be a reason for the bad day in the first place.
- Clean or organize something together. Take the time to show them how to do a task with you and you might be surprised at how helpful they will be. Wiping down the kitchen table and chairs with a damp rag, dusting with a little hand held duster, or doing dishes with extra suds is a big deal for a little one! You can ask them to help you organize a sock drawer or the pantry and you’ll be teaching them valuable life skills as well.
- Let them set up a pet shop, zoo, or animal hospital on a shelving unit in your home using each shelf as a cage for their stuffed animals. It would work with any shelf, but the cube shelving units work great! Help the kids empty the shelves and they can dust them for you before playing. Getting all the animals fed and comfy always keeps my kids busy.
- Pop it! Frustrated, fighting kids can pop bubble wrap to release some of their aggressive energy. Stomping and twisting it seems to be therapeutic. If you have the larger bubble wrap or big plastic air pillows, you can use a sharpie to write numbers, letters, or even sight words on them for children to identify before popping.
- Make a collection! Give children a basket and ask them to go on a hunt to make a collection. They could search for and collect objects with different attributes. Collecting toys and objects that are blue, square, shiny, soft, rough…the possibilities are endless!
- Do art at a different angle. Get out the crayons, markers, or paints and roll out some big paper on the floor for drawing. You could also tape paper to the wall, window, or even under a chair so kids can lay on the floor and paint like Michelangelo.
- Dress up! Get out dress up clothes, or let them dress up in your clothes, jewelry and shoes. Daddy’s shoes and ties are usually a hit. Adding a mirror and a kids camera makes it even more fun. Don’t forget to grab your own camera!
- Slow-Mo Dance! If your smartphone has a setting for recording slow motion video, record the kids dancing and let them watch the playback of slow motion. It’s sure to get some giggles as well as a, “Let’s do that again!” If you don’t have smartphone, just dance to your favorite dance tunes and try slow motion on your own. By trying all kinds of music, we found out that our baby likes to polka. :)
What helps turn around a bad day when you can’t leave your house?
Amy is a former reading and third grade teacher as well as a mother to three little girls with big personalities. She believes joy can always be found in playing, learning, and ice cream.