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22 December 2014

Indoor Activities For Kids In the New Year

With the coldest month of the year almost here, finding indoor activities for kids that will keep them happy and fully engaged becomes more important. We offer several suggestions below.

Create Homemade Greeting Cards
With Christmas almost here and New Years just around the corner, what could be more perfect than helping the kids make personalized greeting cards for all their family, and friends. Delivering homemade cards in person is an excellent way to win the hearts of your neighbours too. It's also the perfect excuse to check in on people who may not have family nearby and may be lonely during the holiday season.

Your kids will quickly put a smile on their faces as they deliver their personal handmade present. Remember too, greenBee stocks a wide selection of eco-friendly arts and crafts supplies which perfect for making these custom cards. On the coldest days of mid-January, the kids can get a head start on making Valentine's Day cards too!

Winter Egg Hunt
Who made up the rule that a fun egg hunt can only take place at Easter? Using non-toxic food dye or eco-friendly crayons, let the kids' imaginations run wild while they dye or colour their eggs to match the holidays or winter themes. How about a candy cane striped egg? They could also decorate eggs with snowflakes, evergreen trees, the north star, or snowmen! If it is snowing, you could have the kids bundle up and collect snow to boil the eggs in to make them truly "winter eggs." After the decoration fun, have the kids take turns hiding and hunting for the eggs just like at Easter.

Create Care Packages For the Homeless
According to a June 2014 article in the Guardian, the number of declared homeless people has risen by twenty-six percent in only four years. Being homeless at any time of the year is tough, but in the the winter, it is even worse. Drive through a neighbourhood with homeless people and ask the kids if they'd like to make care packages for them. You can have them help bake cookies for them and prepare bags of non-perishable healthy snacks.

Have the kids brainstorm about other items that might be useful. Here are some examples: handwarmers, war socks, hats, new toothbrush, dental floss, travel size toothpaste, chapstick, a handmade cheerful card, multi-vitamins, mini-sewing kit, small first aid kit, cough drops, food vouchers, lightweight packets of tuna or salmon, bus tickets, ink pens, stamps, envelopes, and paper. Get the kids thinking about what a homeless person really needs and also how much they can reasonably carry on foot.

Math Games
Math doesn't have to be boring when you turn it into a game! The trick here is to never ever mention the word "math," i.e. don't actually tell the kids you're playing math games! Just let them have fun and learn math the natural way.

1. Bean Jar Game
Find three to five clear glass jars. Fill them with different kinds of dried beans or peas. Prominently display them in the breakfast area and announce to the kids that you are going to have a contest to see who can come closest to predicting the number of beans or peas in each jar. Select prizes for each jar and let the kids know what these are to get them excited about really doing their best to guess the number. Here are the rules (modify them if you need to!):

a. Never take the lid off the jars.
b. They can pick up the jars and look at them from any angle but be careful not to drop them.
c. The child who comes closest to the actual number of beans or peas for each jar wins the prize for that jar.
d. The contest will run for a week. At the end of the week, you and the children will count the beans or peas together to see who wins.

To make it tougher for older kids, fill one of the jars with tiny lentils!

This is a great math game to teach spatial skills and geometry math. Hopefully, the kids will figure out that if they count the layer of beans on the bottom and then multiply this number by the number of beans going up the side, they will come close. Of course, the curvature on the bottom of the jar will have to be accounted for as well as the variation in bean size. One child may figure out that if they count a row of beans going up the side of a jar more than once, the number they get will vary a little depending on the variation in bean size.

Therefore, it is best to take an average.... another way they can practice their math skills with this game. You can make one jar extra tough in this regard by mixing beans and peas of various sizes. You can also give younger kids a hint about taking the average once they figure out they get a different number when they count a row of beans more than once.

2. Spaghetti Noodle Game
This a variation of the bean jar game. Find a tall clear glass jar and pack as many long spaghetti noodles as you can into the jar without breaking them. Have them standing up in the jar. The same rules apply for this game as the bean jar. However, it is easier to figure out the number of noodles if they can actually count the ends of the noodles at the bottom of the jar. This simplified task may help them figure out how to estimate the beans, once they realize they need to count the bottom.
For best results, keep the math games going for a week! Encourage them to really put some thought into it and try different tactics. Let them consult with each other on the best methods.

Have a Wonderful Winter Season Everyone!

These indoor activities for kids should keep them busy for a while! If you need more ideas, let us know. We can certainly come up with some more. You may also want to shop for interactive toys in our eco-friendly shop.