Fredericksburg Families

Amy Umble writes about family issues and kid-friendly events.

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Keep the kids busy on a yucky day

 It’s not really a snow day–what’s going on outside is too wet and gross for play. And the Christmas toys have all been played with–again and again. Now, it’s the day after Christmas and your kids are bored. Here are a few ways to keep them busy, and most can be made with things you have on hand already:

1. Make paper snowflakes: When my sons were smaller, they hated it when I took down the Christmas decorations. The house looked so plain. So my younger son would spend hours the day after Christmas crafting paper snowflakes, making so many that I ran out of places to hang them. If that’s the case in your house, send some to the children of Sandy Hook Elementary School. In the New Year, the students won’t return to the school where a gunman killed 26 people. They will attend a new school nearby, and the Conneticut Parent Teacher Association wants a winter wonderland to welcome these students on their first day. So they’re asking people around the country to send in paper snowflakes by Jan. 12 to:  Connecticut PTSA, 60 Connolly Parkway Building 12, Suite 103; Hamden, CT 06514.

2. Make paper New Year’s Eve hats: Get the kids excited for the next holiday by making hats to ring in the New Year. These hats are pretty festive, but if you don’t have the right supplies on hand, you can make them with paper and simply decorate with stickers, markers and crayons.


3. Put away the toys: It might not sound like fun, but this is a great time to get the kids’ stuff organized. Try these tips for organization. While putting away the new toys, have your kids get rid of any toys they haven’t played with in a while. You can donate old toys to the Salvation Army’s Family Store, 2010 Lafayette Blvd, Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m or you can donate them to one of the many drop off locations around town for the Rappahannock Goodwill Industries. And look for a story later this week on where you can donate arts and crafts supplies and other odd items that might come up while you’re cleaning out the closets.

4. Build a fort: Use blankets, pillows, chairs, couches, etc. Build a cozy fort, and eat a picnic lunch inside.

5. Make a monster sock puppet: Sometimes the best way to unwind after a hectic holiday is with an oldie but goodie.

6. Balloon tennis: Need to get some excess energy out but don’t want the kids throwing balls in the house? This game uses paper plates for rackets and balloons for balls.

7.  Ring toss: This game uses a cardboard paper towel roll, and paper plates cut into rings.

8.  Bubble wrap painting: You probably have a bunch of bubble wrap lying around from your holiday shipments. Use it to make some really unique artwork.

9. Make a newspaper fort: Take your Free Lance-Star (you do subscribe, right?) and make a really cool fort, using these instructions.

10. Make your own Play-Doh: This recipe uses Jello to make the play clay colorful and scented.

11. Make your own velcro catch game: Use those cheap, stretchy gloves, Velcro dots and wiffle balls.

12. And get ready for Valentine’s Day by making  heart stamps out of toilet paper rolls.