Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Winter Indoors

I am not the only mother with a small boy cooped up in the house. In fact, I've enjoyed reading other mother's blogs and telling myself, it could be worse. Yeah, I'm that snide.

We have two feet of snow on the ground outside. I'm not exaggerating. While Toa of Boy loves to go out and play in the snow, there's also a lot of time when he is stuck indoors. For sanity's sake, here's a list of activities I've been trying over the last few weeks to keep Toa of Boy "constructively" active. (In other words, Toa needs an outlet for his activity, and ONE of the two of us is going to find creative ways to release that energy. Far better for it to be the Mommy who is the creative activities director.)

Here's our list so far:

Trampoline in the living room. This is still our most effective energy outlet. We don't have a coffee table, we have an exercise trampoline. Toa of Boy stands and just jumps continually on it while watching PBS or while playing Wii. Don't ask me how he bounces up and down while playing a video game which is run on a motion detector, but he does....and he still kicks my butt. According to the internet, which is never ever wrong, 5 to 8 minutes of jumping on the trampoline is equal to running a mile. Toa of Boy completes a mini-marathon every day.

Active Life Outdoor Challenge Yeah, we're totally dependent on electronics in our house. If you have a Wii and young boys, I strongly recommend this game. Toa of Boy and I play this nearly every morning between 7:30 and 8. I work up a sweat. So does Toa of Boy. Plus, he takes great pleasure in beating me at the log leaper. The game requires a floor mat, and its a good cardio workout. For Toa, its fun and competitive.

Bouncy Ball Keep Away A Mommy invention. This is good for 15 minutes of activity in the middle of the day. I set the kitchen timer for 15 minutes and grab a bouncy ball. I hold the bouncy ball up high above the boy's reach, and bounce it. If I can catch it without him intercepting it, I get a point. If he grabs it first, he gets a point. Whoever catches it gets to bounce it next. We play this in the kitchen and the ball goes under the table, out the door, down the stairs, etc. A great deal of energy is expended chasing the ball. And of course, whoever has the most points at the end of 15 minutes wins. Winning is a big thing for the boy. I don't know who he gets that from ;)

Paper Airplane Race This one isn't as popular with the boy, probably because there's no chance to beat Mommy in this activity. It was good for the first time I had him engage in this. I told him, make two of the very best paper airplanes he could. Then I sent him to the top of the stairs to conduct 10 races with the paper airplanes. This had him running up and down the stairs for a little while.

Ball, no chain We homeschool. But, Toa of Boy doesn't sit in a chair at a desk well. (As in, at all. We tried a chair in kindergarten and he used it like a jungle gym.) So, we have replaced the traditional school chair at his little school desk with a large ball (think exercise ball sized). He sits and bounces merrily away while doing his seat work. Score one for the perpetual motion machine. No, it doesn't effect his handwriting and it increases his ability to concentrate on his seat work. So, win-win for the ball at the desk.

Tickle Fights Yeah, yeah, not very creative, but Toa loves them. He especially loves tickle fights with Daddy.

Wrestling with Sweetling Sweetling is a very, very calm quiet child, but every now and then, Toa can manage to get her "wound up". If he initiates something physical, Sweetling has permission to practice the wrestling holds she's been learning in Tae Kwon Do on her brother. They both squeal and giggle a lot during these wrestling matches, so it still counts as good fun. Toa tries to declare a "tie" even after Sweetling has clearly pinned him, and that's the only time these matches are in danger of actually turning into an arguement. That's usually when Mommy has to step in and call them over.

I'm still looking for some other things to do at home with him. Any suggestions would be very welcome.

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