At about this time in December, there is so much excitement and energy among the kiddos! The weather frequently doesn’t allow for outside time to get some of the steam out so what are some good ideas to keep children’s energies engaged?

If there’s a little too much complaining and tears, put on some happy music and march, stomp, leap, squirm, and scamper your way to smiles. You probably know which songs are your family’s favorites, but here’s some ideas from fall classes (check them out on your home CD or play.kindermusik.com): “Tinga Layo,” “Zig-Zag,” “Clapping Land,” “Gee, But It’s Great to Meet a Friend.” Here’s one to get everybody going: it’s a version of a song we had some fun with in fall classes, “Lukey’s Boat” done by the Newfoundland group, Big Blue Sea and the Chieftains.

For the toddlers and babies, get a bucket or bin and load it up with various blocks, clean leftover containers, small stuffed animals, fabric scraps, and other baby-safe oddments. For these  young children, the simple act of unpacking and exploring something can be a great load of fun.

If you’ve begun to receive Christmas parcels in large-ish boxes, don’t forget the value of an empty box! These can be decorated with crayons or just add some paper towel tubes, towels, or stuffed animal friends and see what happens.

In the Puppet Cookbook published by In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater, they suggest that anything can be a puppet with a little imagination! What would your left shoe say to your right shoe? What if the kitchen spoons and whisks had a party? Old socks or paper bags (large or small) can be given faces with watercolor markers and who knows who they might become?

Many mommy blogs out there have some really great ideas for SIMPLE craft projects that are fun and creative.

Here’s a few of the ideas we’ve found:

One idea is to make wrapping paper. This can be as simple as a roll of brown craft paper or grocery bags cut flat along with some crayons. But here’s another idea for homemade wrapping paper.

The archives for Kid’s Craft Weekly are loaded with ideas for craft projects. The complexity of the projects vary. Take a quick look and see if anything appeals to you and your kids. Remember, this time of year – the simpler, the better! Easy easy easy!

When my son was little, he enjoyed making “Christmas Decorations.” Anything could be a Christmas decoration if it could be taped up or hung on the tree. Sometimes this just involved punching a hole and threading a ribbon through a drawing he made. Sometimes we taped up strings of wooden beads, pieces of construction paper glued together every which way, whatever we were handed, and it became a decoration. See what your little ones do if you invite them to help decorate the house for the holidays. They love to feel useful! Help them gather their materials – maybe they’ll already have some ideas or maybe they’ll need a little spark from you.

Sometimes, what the kids need is a little face-to-face time with you. Even in the busiest times, be willing to put your tools down and bring everything to a grinding halt. Sit down with a book, a blanket, and everybody pile in for a story and a cuddle. Sometimes just a 10 minute break can change the whole color of a busy afternoon. It’s these moments – unplanned, unexpected – that sometimes create the warmest memories.

We’re really excited because this Monday, December 19 there’s a couple of wonderful opportunities for playdates. It’s a nice way to get everybody out of the house for some fun and family time!

– Merry Obrecht Sawdey, Kindermusik Educator, Kindermusik of the Valley

 

 

 

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