When the weather turns cold, cabin fever sets in. You know the symptoms: feelings of isolation, restlessness and irritation and complaints of boredom. It’s a nasty feeling that everyone tries to avoid. But adults as well as kids can become victims. If you’re stuck indoors and crave a change of scenery, try these home remedies.
Put toys and books down where youngsters can reach them. Your children can play without constantly having to seek adult assistance to pull a toy off a high shelf. This builds their independence and self-esteem.
Read, read, read! Snuggle under a blanket or by the fireplace with your children and read to them. Reading builds language and concentration skills. The undivided time with a parent nurtures a child’s love of books.
Play games. Preschoolers can begin board games such as Candy Land or Chutes and Ladders. Games teach valuable social skills – taking turns, being patient and winning and losing gracefully. Learning cognitive skills, such as color and shape recognition and counting, is a bonus. Card games (try Old Maid) strengthen small hand and finger muscles. Older kids usually enjoy Yahtzee, chess, checkers and Trouble.
Produce creative artwork. Use crayons, markers, paper, chalk and chalkboard to stimulate creativity. For youngsters under three, avoid coloring books and demands to “color in the lines.” Instead, encourage freehand drawings. Phrases such as, “Tell me about your picture” and “You are using red” are more helpful than the standard “I like your picture.” When your child finishes her masterpiece, display it on the refrigerator at her eye level.
Plan playdates by calling friends to visit nearby parks or libraries or attend one of the eight different “Play to Learn” playgroups throughout Danbury. For more information, call 203-797-4734.
Develop a music band. Kids like to make noise, so why not create a channel for them to do so by constructing instruments for a marching band? Empty oatmeal boxes, coffee cans or pots and wooden spoons make a perfect drum set. Lids from pots and pans can be used for clanging cymbals. Making music is one way to stimulate brain development and future math skills.
And, don’t forget to get outdoors when you can…Play outside. Build a snowman, go for a sled ride or go for a brisk walk, and then bring in some snow in a pan for a science lesson on the properties of water. A few drops of food coloring can add a new element to the snow, as well.
Spring will start shortly and our thoughts will turn to summer. Speaking of summer, NOW is the time to plan your children’s summer activities. Danbury has a wealth of activities, summer learning programs and sports opportunities. During the Danbury Family Resource Fair on Saturday, March 24 at the Danbury Dome, families will have the opportunity to learn about summer programs, sign up for programs, register their children for kindergarten, enter raffles and take part in a host of fun activities for all ages. The event is FREE.
The Milford Family Resource Center contributed to this article.
Anne E. Mead, Ed. D., is the administrator for the Early Childhood Education and Extended Learning Programs of the Danbury Public Schools. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact her at 203-830-6508 or firstname.lastname@example.org.