Close your eyes for a moment and visualize the scene. It’s pouring rain out, it’s too wet to play outside, the kids aren’t in school, and they’re bored. Bored to tears. They’re behaving just the way bored children tend to act: disobedient and frustrated. If you’re a parent, you know what that means - bickering over whose turn it is to pick the next game, or whose turn it is to let the dog outside.
It’s one of those days you really wish you had some activities lined up (anything that would give you a couple hours peace). But what if you could keep the kids entertained with games and activities that have educational value as well? It’s a best-case scenario you can easily attain by spending some time searching the Internet. For every unwholesome gaming site, there are many more enriching and engaging sites that can keep your kids busy more than long enough to let you relax or catch up with some housework. And who knows? You might find yourself joining in.
If your kids love to express their creativity through drawing, you’re in luck. There’s an abundance of free online sites that can show kids how to draw in a variety of styles and media, from pencil to rudimentary animation. Jerry’s Artarama features more than 2,000 free art lessons for people of all ages and skill levels. Most kids who love cartoons can learn to reproduce some of their favorite TV cartoon characters or create some of their own. Just click on the video of your choice and follow along! Or check out Jam’s “Drawing Bootcamp” for young kids who want to learn more about art.
Shake it up
YouTube is an inexhaustible source of fun activities for anyone looking to try something new. You can’t go wrong with some upbeat exercise workout videos. Shake Break is very popular with the little ones, combining Sesame Street-style puppets with an infectious series of exercises. The Kids and Adults Workout Video gets parents and children up and moving together with exercises that include kicks, punches, and some vigorous sports-oriented motion. If your kids like watching you do yoga exercises (or if they just like to laugh while you struggle through your routine), they’re sure to like Yoga for Kids.
All kids love to watch things foam up or spin around on their own. Elephant’s toothpaste is one such experiment that’s sure to please. All you need are some common household supplies such as dish soap, yeast, and hydrogen peroxide to create a foam geyser (note that this one will require parental supervision). Science for Kids is an online library with plenty of fun science games, videos, and games to keep kids busy on a rainy day. Scholastic.com can show how to make a dry ice bubble, conjure up a rain cloud in a bottle, and liquid light sticks. If your family has a dog, check out some canine-themed lesson plans on Rover.com, which has lesson plans designed for students of all ages.
Try some tunes
Do you have a budding Yo Yo Ma at home? Why not hook your young prodigy up with some free music lessons? Kingdom First Homeschool offers a compilation of piano, drum, violin, guitar lessons and more. And don’t forget YouTube, a massive source of music instruction videos and lesson plans for instrumental and vocal music.
If you’re wary of turning your kids loose on the Internet, take some time to bookmark a few sites that’ll keep them busy for many happy hours. They’ll learn something new and may even stumble across a new hobby or find something that boosts their interest in school subjects like science and music. You’ll be glad you looked into it when you’re curled up with a good book while the kids entertain themselves.