What do we do now?
If you live on the East Coast as I do, you are in the middle of a terrible heat wave. It’s the kind of heat where you have no desire to walk outside, even if it is just to get to the car. I have never experienced heat like this as a mother. At least when I was pregnant, I didn’t have to occupy my son, he was safe and sound inside. All I had to worry about was that I was drinking enough water. Now, on the other hand, I am constantly concerned about him if we do dare leave the house. Is he getting dehydrated? Is the air conditioning working well enough in the car? What do we do now?
The alternative of going out in the heat is being in the house all day, which is often worse. Now that Jack is crawling, he is into everything; the media cabinet and the vent in his room are his two favorite places at the moment. I am lucky in the sense that he plays with a toy (or a vent!), crawls around, I reposition him, he crawls some more and plays some more. It is becoming increasingly difficult to keep him entertained but I will say that a 10 month old is easier to occupy than a toddler! Those moms that are home with toddlers in this weather (I tip my hat to you!) are constantly having to find things to do to keep their little ones occupied.
Here are some cute ideas to pass the time when every option is exhausted, every book is read and every toy is used.
Create a fort: If you have old boxes in your garage (you can also get some at the supermarket), create a fort or castle in your home. You can tape together boxes, cut them to create windows and skylights and decorate with crayons and stickers. Creating an indoor playhouse is a fun and interesting way for children to learn about dimensions and shapes and also improve spacial relations skills. It is amazing how projects like these keep children occupied for long periods of time.
Play cards: What ever happened to good old-fashioned card games? War is a great starter game, especially for math skills. It helps children recognize numbers and distinguish between larger and smaller ones. Other card games can be played as well but I thought War was a good one to start with because the concept is simple.
Scavenger Hunt: This takes a little more work but it is totally worth it. It can be adapted to different ages. Create a household scavenger hunt to find different items in your home. Create clues such as “find something that you brush your teeth with” or “find something in the shape of a square” and have your children search the house. All children love to explore and this gives them a free pass to check out their surroundings in a whole new way.
Bake/cook: This activity can also be adjusted depending on the age of your children. Another way to practice math skills but also have a great time is to bake or cook. Yes, having the oven on in the hot weather is not ideal but it does provide lessons in following directions, reading, measurement and fractions. You can also make lots of things that do not require turning on the oven. It happens to taste good too! If they are old enough, your children can read the directions and they can find the correct cups you need by looking at the fractions (1/2 cup, 1/4 cup). Have them measure out your ingredients. If they are not ready for this, give them the correct cup and have them measure out the food. Simply having your child distinguish between ingredients (flour vs sugar) is a great lesson. Asking them to find the eggs, milk or other ingredients is an easy way practice identifying different foods. When you are timing the baking or cooking, have your child set the timer. This opens up a lot of discussion around the concept of time (seconds, minutes, hours), which is a hard concept for children to grasp.
Attempts to make something relatable to real life will give your child the chance to make a real connection and therefore, less intimidated by the concept. I hope you can use some of these suggestions to pass the time, whether you are in the middle of a heat wave, a stormy blizzard or anything in between!