Thursday, February 28, 2008

Fighting "Lockdown" Boredom

If your baby is in the NICU or already at home, you and your family want and need to avoid all of the cold and flu viruses that are going around right now. Even a small cold can be extremely hard on a preemie so try and stay as healthy as possible. Since we are nearing the end of RSV (and cold and flu season) and the weather is slowly getting better, it can be hard to stay on "lockdown" and keep the kids away from others. Trust me I know - we brought our daughter home in July of last year and have been on lockdown ever since. It has been hardest on our four year-old since he wants to be out playing with other kids or going to indoor events.

The end is insight so instead of risking a trip somewhere, try some of these great activities to keep you and the kids entertained.

1) Crafts - Make a quick trip to the craft store and pick up some easy to do kits or supplies. You can do Shrinky Dinks, Fimo beads, Perler beads, knitting, drawing/painting, etc. Stores like Michaels have a $1 section that offers some cheap and fun mini-projects to do as well. If your kids are older, buy matching kits and hold contests for most unique design, creative use of materials, etc.

2) Bay Area Parent Magazine had this great idea - create a Literary Café. Read a book that has to do with food in some way and then have the kids help you make one of the foods mentioned. Some classics include Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi and Richard Barrett and Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco. Or try out a new recipe or change the ingredients in a favorite recipe and have a tasting night.

3) Build a fort or create a maze or obstacle course. Have the kids build their own tent city or design an obstacle course in the house. Anything that gets them using their body and their mind to create something new and fun. If you can, leave it up at night and let them sleep inside with a flashlight and a favorite book or toy.

4) Redecorate - Have kids create a new theme for their room and then make decorations to match. Use this time to clean-up and move furniture if need be. Same goes for the rest of the house - this is a great time to try out a new idea in a room or finally hang those pictures you bought three years ago.

5) Movie Night (or Day) - let kids pick out a movie and hold an all family movie night. Make popcorn or other snacks and relax together. If it's just adults - pick out a movie you've been meaning to watch but haven't had the time.

6) Make cards - if a holiday is coming up (like Easter), have the kids help make cards that you can send out to relatives. Get started now and then you won't be a in a mad rush at the last minute. Or you can get started making cards for the rest of the year - have a stack of birthday cards that you can use when you need them.

7) If the weather is nice, go for a walk or to the park. We leave our daughter in the stroller and let our son run off some of his pent up energy. We all love getting some fresh air and it's a nice change from the house.

8) Play games. Pull out board games that you haven't played in awhile and have a game day/night. Create new rules to old favorites to make a new game.

Do you have a fun activity that you want to share? Leave a comment!

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