Monday, January 25, 2010
Cabin Fever Remedies for Children
Christmas Morning by Carl Larsson, 1894
Do you have a passel of elementary school-age children that get rammy and wild indoors during the winter months when it's too cold to throw them outside for too long? For this situation, it's always good to have on hand a lunch-size bag of rubber bands, which you can find here and all kinds of other places.
The lowly rubber band: children's toy par excellence
Here's why I say this.
One winter weekend, my daughter, who was about 8 at the time, and I went up to visit my brother's family, where she loved to play with her two cousins--a boy then 9 years old and a daughter then 4 years old. The kids had a play room where all the toys were kept. For more than two days, the three cousins played there completely engrossed and happy. What were they playing with? A big bag of rubber bands. They created elaborate structures by stringing these things together, roping them around the room, and then playing out action scenarios to go with their architecture, the scenarios also calling for new architectures, and so on. My sister-in-law drew the lesson: "This is so ridiculous! They ask for these expensive toys and you get them, and look what they spend all this time with--rubber bands!"
Of course, be careful that you simply make the bag of rubber bands available. Do not under any circumstances indicate that you expect said rubber bands to be played with.
Other objects that need to be at hand for children this age are old sheets, blankets, and towels. Of course, no adult should suggest that kids make play tents out of these discarded household items. Creating dens and warrens all over a bedroom or playroom or basement often can fire the imagination for hours of play.
These are just two items that I know of that can keep kids happily preoccupied. If you have others, we would love to hear them!