Keeping Busy through the Cold

Brrrr. This morning, Chicago officially hit -24 degrees. Today’s high is -10 degrees and that was already reached at midnight. We’re warm enough in our house, but the outside air is actually deadly. It is so cold that the door handle INSIDE our house looks like this:

The kids are home from school for at least two days thanks to the frigid temperatures. Rather than fall into an endless pit of screen time misery, I thought it would be fun to set up “centers” around the house with different activities so the kids could independently work on fun projects. Independently is the operative word here: left to their own devices, they tend to get into petty arguments, so today’s centers meant they mostly had to work on their own.

I set the timer for 10 minutes, and once the time was up they rotated to the next center and we set the timer again. It was really fun, even for me! Some of our centers included:

Making candles with sheets of colorful beeswax:

Painting with watercolors:

Lego town creation – each kid used his or her 10 minutes to construct a unique building for a shared imaginary town:

Family story – I stapled a bunch of pages together and each kid built upon a story started by Evie. The girls added their pages first and started with a tale of a little girl and flowers, and by the time the boys finished the girl had turned into a zombie who farts. Whatever.

This afternoon, we’re doing Round 2 of centers, with yoga, workbooks and/or homework, oven s’mores and IXL (an excellent website that helps kids with their studies). I like this idea so much that I’ll probably use it on rainy weekends in the summer, too!


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