School Break “Life Savers”
By: Noreen Kopaczewski LCSW #16864
It’s that time of the year when the kids get to stay home from school! Kids love it! I remember loving it as a kid too. But as a parent, it can be a long break (no matter the length of their time off) if the kids are bored and not getting along.
Here are some suggestions to keep them busy and entertained:
- THE ACTIVITY BOX (to help them make their own choices)
1) Give the kids slips of paper that they will write down their favorite activities to do (one activity per slip of paper). They can have as many slips of paper they want.
2) On additional slips of paper, you will write down different chores they can do around the house (I.e. sweeping, vacuuming, washing dishes,etc.).
3) Get an empty tissue box or a shoe box. Fold the papers so you cannot see the writing and place them in the jar, mixing them up.
4) Inform your kids that the next time they come to you and say they are bored, you will pull out the box and ask them to randomly pick one folded piece of paper. They unfold it and read it aloud. Whatever it says (a chore or their fun idea) that is what they get to go do.
- COOPERATIVE GAMES (instead of competitive games that can lead to arguments).
Some examples are:
- “Draw Backs” – Play in pairs. One child will draw or write a word with their finger on the back on the other child. The one drawing says either “Picture” of “Word” and then draws the simple picture or writes the word. The other child has 2 minutes to guess it. Then switch who draws and who does the guessing.
- “Don’t make me Laugh” – Play with two at a time sitting across from each other at a table while the others stand around the table being in the “audience” (until it is their turn). The youngest child tries to make the older child laugh while the older one tries NOT to laugh AND tries to make the younger child laugh. The “audience” may laugh at anything they find funny. The game is over as soon as one of the kids at the table laughs. Some ideas to make people laugh are making funny faces, telling jokes, doing a trick, saying tongue twisters, etc.
- “HEAD ‘n’ TAIL categories” – For two or more players. The object of this game is to make the longest list of items from a specific category. First a category is chosen (cartoon characters, movies stars, sports, games, music singers/groups, etc.). For example, the category of animals is chosen, Betty starts the game by saying “Giraffe”. Jerry has to name an animal that starts with the letter “E” (since that is the last letter in Giraffe) and picks “Elephant”. Donny chooses “Tiger” but then Diane cannot think of an animal that starts with “R” so she asks for help. Anyone can give her an answer because remember it’s a team effort to make the longest list. So Brian says “Orangutan”. Keep track of how many you come up with and then try to beat it using another category.
- “THE ALPHABET GAME” – This one is great for car rides. Everyone in the car can play. The objective of the game is to find letters on license plates, buildings or billboards in alphabetical order. For a challenge, try going through the alphabet backwards!
- “THREE-AT-A-TIME” stories – This is for 2 or more people (the more the better). You will need a pencil, some paper, and something hard to write on. Player 1 starts the story by writing 3 words “A boy named”… giving the paper to the second player who writes 3 words “Brian had a”… and the third player writes “pet hamster named” and then back to Player 1 “Rooster. Rooster was”...etc. The game ends when the story comes to a logical conclusion AND everyone had the same number of turns.
- FAMILY GAME NIGHT – This is my own kids favorite. It can be any of the noncompetitive games, board games or cards.
- FAMILY MOVIE NIGHT – Don’t forget the popcorn!!!
I know it’s difficult sometimes with our busy schedules but spending time together with your children now, making the memories that you will later cherish later when they have grown up and moved out. And they will grow up in a blink of an eye.