I can barely hear my own thoughts as I type this. The rain has returned after a few days respite and judging by the deluge we’re receiving there are more floods on the way. There will be no beach today, no outdoor adventures, no way to really burn off some energy…
What do you do if you’ve reached your holiday destination and all your dreams of outdoor action have been replaced by endless hours indoors as a storm/flood/typhoon (insert appropriate natural disaster) roars around you? Remembering that your kids won’t have access to many toys, and often, if you’re overseas, the local TV content will be incomprehensible.
We have four boys ranging in age from 4-years to 11-years. Collectively they are known as RIOT, and they certainly have a tendency to run to their name. And yet at the moment it’s only the rain I can hear roaring through the house. The boys have been entertaining themselves with the following activities:
– Pipe cleaners. I know pipe cleaners weren’t invented to entertain kids, but they are hours of fun. My oldest son makes figurines and then creates armor for them. Now the younger three join in and there are shows and battles and Manga worlds created out of pipe cleaners. Portable and hours of play!
– Stories. Yes we read to the kids, but this activity actually involves reading a book to the kids… or a chapter of a longer book, and then having them illustrate it. Each child with their own drawing book, illustrating images from the same chapter: we end up with four different and wonderful interpretations.
– Alone time—when you’re on top of each other and at the mercy of the weather, then you need to respect each other’s space, even more than usual. At some stage during the day, while we’re stuck inside, each child needs to choose an activity and do it alone! Not with a parent, not with each other… alone. It’s important to enjoy your own company and not be needy of the other people you travel with.
– Inventing board games. You don’t travel with a stack of board games, but if you have paper, pens and an imagination you can create your own.
– TV and DVDs… of course. But we limit it.
– We talk. We ask questions… We go around in a circle… what is your favorite part of the holiday so far? What is something you’re grateful for? (I’m amazed at how many people lack gratitude—it’s important to instill it in your children) What is something you really like about (name family member) while we’re travelling?
– A performance! Each of the boys has a talent and it’s all combined into an extravaganza, after a few hours of rehearsal.
– The activities in Around the World in 80 Ways can be used ANYWHERE!