Fun Indoor Activities to Beat the Rainy Day Blues

Don’t despair if your plans to spend the day playing in the sunshine at the park are foiled by spring showers. You can still have a blast on a rainy day by getting creative with indoor games and crafts. These activities will keep both parents and children so entertained that you’ll forget all about the park.

  • Cozy up with a book and a cup of hot chocolate. Take turns reading aloud and making up silly voices for each of the characters. Soon you’ll be going on adventures without leaving your warm home.
  • Build a fort in the living room. Use a sofa, chairs, tables, pillows, old blankets and sheets to create a secret lair for playing make-believe. Pretend it’s a pirate ship, a castle or a faraway planet.
  • Use stickers as story starters. Place a sticker in the middle of a page, and write a story or poem around it.
  • Get moving with a game of freeze dance. To play, everyone dances like crazy while the music is playing, then freezes when the music suddenly stops. If you are playing with a group, the last person to stop for each round is “out” until one winning dancer remains. You can also play for fun with one or two children.
  • Break out the coloring books and get artistic with crayons, markers or colored pencils.
  • Mix up a batch of homemade clay or play dough. Use one of the recipes here and sculpt your favorite wild animals or spring flowers.
  • In a journal, write a short play or skit. Adapt a favorite fairy tale, book or movie or let your imagination run wild and create a show from scratch (here are some ideas to get started). Then gather family and friends to watch the final performance.

Does Anyone Actually Like Daylight Savings Time?

clockDoes anyone like Daylight Savings Time? With three kids I am excited when spring comes around and the sun starts shining. However, right after we “spring forward,” I struggle to get the kids out of bed. 

Don’t get me wrong. I love mornings. I’m one of those disturbed individuals that enjoys going to the gym at 5am. I also love the extended daylight in the evenings, so I am not advocating we do away with daylight savings. Au contraire, I say we don’t go back to standard time in the fall.
I did some research on the subject. Daylight savings time was first proposed in 1895 by George Vernon Hudson (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daylight_saving_time). I am sure he had his reasons (like not enough candles) but that doesn’t mean we need to cling to this idea from more than 100 years ago. I loved my dad’s IBM Selectric too, but I can’t say the old typewriter has seen the tips of my fingers since the advent of word processing.
As a child I lived in Arizona for three years and they never changed their clocks. Can we get California to adopt this idea?
I would love to get comments and see how many people agree or disagree.

Spring Into Clipboard Fun

Think clipboards are just for boring grown-up tasks like paying bills and taking notes during meetings? Think again! Frecklebox personalized clipboards are bright, bold and full of possibilities. They are 9″ x 12.5″, the perfect size to hold homework, sports schedules or sketches, but they also have a secret identity as dry erase boards that are ideal for doodling and games on the go. Here are a few fun ways to use our vibrant spring-themed clipboards with your children:

green-spring-personalized-clipboard

  • Go on a nature walk or hike. Write down all the signs of spring you see along the way-new flowers and plants starting to bloom, bugs and other critters on the ground, birds and butterflies in flight.
  • Turn your nature walk into an art project. Draw a picture of the animals or plants you observe, and look up their names in a local nature guide or an encyclopedia from the library.
  • Write a spring poem or short story. Give your kids a list of related words to incorporate to get them started, or let their imaginations run wild. (If you are stuck trying to find the perfect rhyme, try the handy rhyming dictionary. 
  • Go on a scavenger hunt. Write down a list of spring sounds (frogs singing, music from an ice cream truck) or sights (people on a picnic, newborn animals) and go on a mission to find all of them. Take a look at more ideas for scavenger hunt clues.
  • Take your clipboard on spring break for long plane or car trips. Bring dry erase markers and play games or draw directly on the clipboard for hours of entertainment.

How else do you use your Frecklebox clipboards? Add your suggestions to the comments section.

Ideas to Spruce Up Your Easter Basket

Easter-baskets-300x199For many of us, Easter baskets are synonymous with a sugar high (and the inevitable candy crash that follows). The Easter Bunny is famous for piling his baskets high with cream-filled chocolate eggs, sugar-coated marshmallow animals, jelly beans and other treats that would make our dentists cringe. Candy isn’t the only item Easter baskets can contain, however. This year, go for a different approach and fill baskets with creativity-inspiring treats. Try these sugar-free basket stuffers, and let the games begin!

  • Personalized spring stickers. Your kids will go crazy for stickers featuring their names and sunny new spring designs. Try decorating hard-boiled eggs with stickers for a creative alternative to dyeing them.
  • Sidewalk chalk in bright colors. After the annual Easter egg hunt, continue the fun with a sidewalk decorating party, creating colorful murals that wash away easily. You can even make your own sidewalk chalk with just a few materials from the craft store.
  • Coloring books. Choose an exciting theme that suits your child’s interests and include a box of crayons.
  • Classic games or toys such as jacks, pick-up sticks, jump ropes or playing cards. They’re small, affordable and will provide fun for years to come.
  • A small flower pot and a packet of seeds. You can plant the seeds together and wait for the beautiful flowers to bloom. 
  • Personalized puzzles. Your child can piece together a vibrant 20-piece puzzle and reveal his or her name written in a unique setting, from under the sea to up in the clouds. 

What are your bright ideas for Easter basket fillers? Let us know in the comments section below.

Celebrate Career Day This Labor Day

career-day

Labor Day does not only mark the end of summer and the beginning of the school year. It is also an important national holiday that honors workers from all different fields. Turn this Labor Day into an informal career day with your kids and explore the age-old question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Imagine Away

Daydream about exciting career possibilities with the personalized FreckleboxWhen I Grow Up book. Read the book out loud, look at the vivid pictures and ask your child questions about what his or her perfect job would be. Do you want to travel to faraway places? Pilot, journalist or scientist. Do you love helping people? Doctor, teacher or counselor. Are you an animal-lover? Veterinarian, zookeeper or animal trainer. Are you an artist at heart? Painter, actor or writer. What will it be?

Visualize It

Now that you’ve been fantasizing about dream jobs, put your ideas down on paper to make them more realistic. Take out paper, crayons or colored pencils and draw yourself in your ideal profession (moms and dads, you can do this right along with your kids if you like!). What would you wear? Where would you work? Who or what would you work with? Add as many details to the scene as you can.

You can also create a visual representation of your career by making a collage. Flip through a stack of old magazines and cut out pictures or words that relate to the job you’ve chosen. Overlap them any way you like and glue them onto construction paper. Voila, inspiring art!

Act it Out

Play a career-inspired game of charades for career day. Brainstorm a list of different professions and write them down on small slips of paper. Mix them all up in a hat and take turns picking slips out and acting them out without using words. A few ideas to start you off:

Take a Field Trip

Experience is the best teacher, so go see careers in action. Set up a short field trip to visit the workplace of a job your child finds interesting. Get a tour of the local fire station and try on the firefighters’ gear, slide down the pole and maybe even ride in the truck. Visit an animal hospital or shelter and play with some critters and watch a simple procedure. Check out a computer programming lab and see the work that goes into making important technology.

Have a great Labor Day and career day celebration!