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Indoor Play: Ideas for Keeping Kids Active and Screen-Free During Winter

Now that the holidays are behind us, in many parts of the country long winter months still loom ahead with bitterly cold days when kids are home from school,  spending less time playing outside.

On such days, it can be difficult to keep their children away from the TV or off electronic devices, which can lead kids to be inactive and unstimulated for long periods of time.

To minimize the stress that can ensue from unplanned “snow days” or days when it’s too cold to play outside, here are a few ideas for keeping children screen-free and active indoors:

1. Keep a variety of board games that appeal to different age groups: not too advanced for younger players, yet challenging enough for older children. Play a different game each day to prevent boredom.

2. Encourage children to build a fort or tent using furniture and playsilks or cotton play cloths. Children love creating their own cozy play spaces, in which to read or play with dolls and stuffed animals.

3. Encourage dress-up play by providing a basket of dress-ups and costumes and invite children put on a play for you and an audience, even if the audience consists of their stuffed animals!

4. Traditional games like hide-and-seek can be played indoors; or hide a little gnome or fairy doll and have children try to find it.

5. Keep children engaged by introducing a new craft kit such as knitting (e.g. Quick-to-Knit Scarf Kit), origami, or baking a new cookie recipe.

6. Keep a box of art supplies that only comes out on special days. Your box could include a variety of different kinds of paper for making collages, glue sticks, glitter, crayons, watercolor paints, markers, and so on. Keeping the box neat and organized will encourage a child’s creativity!

7. Don’t keep all of a child’s toys out all the time. Most children have too many toys. Bringing out certain toys—like wooden building blocks or Lego bricks–only on rainy or snowy days make it a special occasion.

8. Here are some of my favorite toys that encourage indoor movement across different age groups:

Happy Winter Play!

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What are some of your family’s favorite indoor activities? Share your ideas by leaving a comment below!

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Family, Parenting

Sarah’s Invitation: A Weekly Candle Hour for Families

 

Earth Hour was observed two weeks ago on March 29, when millions of people agreed to turn off their lights for one hour from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. local time.

This week on “Sunday with Sarah” I share my own experience participating in Earth Hour and have a proposal for you.

Click on the link above to view the video and let me know what you think!

Below are some of the photos submitted for our Earth Hour Photo Contest. Many thanks to all who participated and shared!

by Aimee Canterbury

Winning Photo by Aimee Canterbury

 

by Sarah Baldwin

Washing Dishes by Candlelight by Sarah Baldwin

 

Family Reading by Candlelight by Phyllis Meredith

Family Reading by Candlelight by Phyllis Meredith

 

Painting by Candle Light by Allison Pennell

Painting by Candle Light by Allison Pennell

 

Bedtime Reading - Earth Hour by Shel Frolich Tscherne

Bedtime Reading – Earth Hour by Shel Frolich Tscherne

 

Earth Hour - Family Togetherness by dreadpirateautumn via Instagram

Earth Hour – Family Togetherness by dreadpirateautumn via Instagram

What do you think of my idea? Ready to commit? Willing to give it a try? Think it’s nice idea, but impractical? Please let me know your thoughts (and share your own photos, if you’re so inspired!).

 

 

 

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Family, Sunday With Sarah, TV and Media, Waldorf Education

I Want to Turn Off the TV, but My Spouse is Not Onboard

 

This week I answer a question from a viewer.

Angela S. wrote:

What do you do when your spouse isn’t on the same page when it comes to turning off the TV?

My husband is huge into video games and sci-fi movies and TV shows. He loves technology and has made a point that it’s important for children to know how to use technology because it is so prevalent in today’s society and will be for years to come. He has told me that he’s heard from a teacher that those kids [who haven’t been exposed to technology] are always behind.

Also, what would be the best thing to do when someone offers to watch our son for us? They are doing us a favor and we feel a bit rude telling them that they can’t have the tv on the whole time. Our son has also come to really love a certain TV show and will beg to watch it and get really upset [if he can’t]. He’s almost 20 months old.

I feel like it’s still possible to kick the habit, but how do I get others on the same page? And how do I keep him interested in other things? He also has no patience for being read to.

Click on the video link above to hear my response to Angela.

What is your feeling about young children and screen time? Have you pulled the plug? Thinking about it? Or do you feel that screen time in moderation is not a bad thing? Would love to hear your thoughts and questions!

 

 

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