For current HNC patients either healing after surgery, undergoing treatment, and/or survivors regaining their “new normal” lifestyle with young children at home this blog is for you!
I am a full-time, homeschooling mom of two while working on our HNC Fund. It is a circus-level juggling act, and I would not want it any other way! I could not do this alone, and I am grateful to have the support of my wonderful husband, family, and friends. One of my most fabulous friends is Melanie Kellett, certified OT, and supermom of three children.
I fondly call Melanie, our very own magical Marry Poppins. Melanie’s expertise and multi-disciplinary background have helped our children develop new skills, explore exciting ways to learn, and most importantly thrive! She is hands down the best OT in the field and I am grateful daily for her friendship!
Here are 15 suggestions of how to create, connect, and play with younger children WITHOUT exerting a lot of energy on a rainy day.
1) Dress up and have a Freeze Dance Party with balloons, glow-in-the-dark sticks, and bubbles.
2) Combine Floor is a Lava and Simone Says game for the ultimate interactive experience! Depending on your child’s age, balancing is more challenging by holding a yoga pose for 15 seconds or by completing 20 jumping jacks or 10 burpees in 30 seconds before the music plays again.
3) Indoor Bowling- use plastic cups or plastic water bottles, tennis balls, and painter’s tape. Create the bowling alley lane using painter’s tape on the floor. Line up the cups or water bottles and aim! To make it more challenging for older children, they request that they turn around 5x times and roll the ball while balancing on one leg or laying on their stomachs in superman pose with one eye closed.
4) Combined Obstacle Course and Relay Race for the ultimate indoor game!
-Create a balance beam with painter’s tape on the floor.
-Create a ladder with painter’s tape to jump in and out alternating hopping on one leg and jumping on both legs.
-Use painters’ tape to create a limbo beam in a doorway.
-Use large pillowcases for a potato sack race.
– Instead of pinning a tail on the donkey, print out a photo of their favorite superhero or storybook character. The child must spin around 10X with their eyes closed and take aim with a nerf gun or bean bag.
-Play indoor soccer with a balloon and make a goal using two dining room chairs. The child has 20 seconds to make as many goals as possible before moving on to the next obstacle.
-Cut dish sponges in half, soak in bubbly water and toss into plastic cups.
-Sock spoon race-use hard-boiled eggs or grapes in a teaspoon.
-Spin around 10x and then balance a book on your head while standing on one leg for 10 seconds.
-Wheelbarrow race around a series of pillows or stools from one side of the room to the other.
-Drop a penny into an empty egg carton. Make two starting points with chalk or painters’ tape on the floor. The children stand on opposite sides of the room and must race to a bowl full of coins. Standing straight up with eyes closed the goal is to fill each egg cup with one penny or coin. The player who completes the task first, wins.
5) Scavenger hunt. If you have more than one child, they must work as a team to find the clues and complete the hunt!
6) Make a fort using dining room chairs, pillows, and a bed sheet. Depending on their age, create a magical sensory container filled with glitter slime, water beads, or kinetic sand. Easy-to-make recipes can be found on artfulparent.com or mommypoppins.com.
7) Make marshmallow catapults together and have your child aim in their sibling’s mouth or into a scrumptious cup of hot cocoa and/ or a fun nerf gun game aiming at pillow targets scattered around the home.
8) Cotton ball or popcorn race. Each child must slither like a snake on their stomachs, using a straw to blow either a cotton ball or a piece of popcorn to the other side of the room. Once completed, the child must return to get another piece of popcorn or cotton ball by walking in any animal pose that you select. Examples include waddling like a penguin, roar and walk like a bear, crawl like a crab, walk like a Flamingo standing on one leg at a time, hop like a kangaroo, etc. The goal is to get 10 popcorn and cotton balls to the other side of the room before the other opponents.
9) Science: Watch a segment of National Kids Geographic at nationalgeographickids.com or Generation Genius at generationgenius.com together! If you want DIY, Generation Genius outlines materials needed and many items you probably have at home or thanks to Amazon Prime can deliver in record time!
10) 10 Minute workout challenge. Every activity in 10’s. 10 pushups, 10 jumping jacks, 10 burpees, 10 sit-ups, 10 squats, hold various yoga poses for 10 seconds, 10 jumping rope, 10 hula hoop, 10 hopping on one foot, and then the other, balance on one leg for 10 seconds. Get creative and let your kids get active!
11) Board games/ cards. Hours of fun! https://wehavekids.com/parenting/Card-Games-For-Kids
12) Storytime with YouTube Read Aloud! This is a wonderful way to spend time together and you do not need to exert any energy. Particularly, for patients and survivors like myself when speaking and articulating clearly is trying at times. Get cozy on the sofa and enjoy the gift of wonder through Storytime.
13) Yoga. Everyone needs a moment throughout the day, especially on rainy days. Turn on classical music and have your child practice several basic poses of yoga and then sit quietly for 2 minutes. It is a great way to increase core strength, be mindful of your body movements, and calm.
14) Art. A couple of wonderful websites that I enjoy using are https://artfulparent.com/
15) PJ Party, Floor Picnic, and Movie. After a fun-filled and creative rainy day together it is time to unwind and relax! Place a large blanket on the floor. Slice up your children’s favorite fruits, veggies, and a bowl of popcorn. Start the movie and either order your favorite family meal or make a quick and easy 15-minute meal thanks to purewow.com https://gratefulgrazer.com/ or tasteofhome.com. Enjoy!
Thanks to Melanie, I have learned to become a more creative mom. At the end of the day, even when you might not be feeling well, what matters the most is spending time together. I hope the suggestions above provide you and your family great joy and memories that will last a lifetime!