10 Fun (and Gluten-Free) Things to Do Since the Groundhog Saw His Shadow
[The groundhog saw his shadow. Now what? Our volunteer Annsley Klehr has some ideas for keeping the kids occupied until Spring rolls around. Find more tips from Annsley in NFCA's Parenting Articles.]
By Annsley Klehr
We all know that winter can bring on a feeling of hibernation, but only to a certain degree. After a while, you get that cooped up feeling. You know, like when you were a little kid and were driving your parents nuts because you kept begging them for a playmate? Of course, any activity also has to account for dietary restrictions, but don’t worry! Here is a list of activities that kept me gluten-free and plenty busy with my daughter this winter, even if we have to spend a little extra time indoors.
1. Watch a Movie – Take your family to a movie and stash some bagged popcorn or HalfPops in your bag. You can also make some homemade hot chocolate and popcorn on the stovetop to enjoy with a movie on your comfy couch (a warm blanket is a plus!).
2. Play a Game – Remember your good ole deck of cards or a board game that could entertain you for hours? Dust them off and put them to use! There’s bound to be some good laughs. Even if your child is young, he/she can still find matches or pairs in a simplified version of Go Fish. When that gets old, make up your own game.
3. Read a Book – Cuddle up on the couch with your kid(s) and share a quiet moment either reading together or separately. Sometimes it’s fun to read something like Where’s Waldo? together where everyone is a part of the book.
4. Put Together a Puzzle – Puzzles are a great calming way to help develop spatial skills. Doing them together helps to reinforce communication skills and teaches how to negotiate with others.
5. Make a Gift – The art of making something for someone you care about, whether it be a card, birthday present, housewarming gift or just something small to show someone you care often gets overlooked. It is quite a special way to share joy with your child and teach them other ways to show love and appreciation. Out of ideas? Try checking About.com for inspiration.
6. Take a Hike – Check out the trails around you and enjoy the respite from the hubbub of daily life. Point out trees and plants budding, animals that live in the woods, sounds of nature, etc. We take time to use many of our senses to describe what we see, smell, hear and touch. Don’t forget to make yourself some gluten-free GORP (good old-fashioned raisins and peanuts) for using your sense of taste! We like to make it using peanuts, gluten-free and dairy-free chocolate chips, dried fruit, assorted seeds and nuts from the grocery store, raisins, and gluten-free O’s cereal, to name a few.
7. Pop Popcorn – Make popcorn from organic corn kernels over the stovetop and watch them pop, Pop, POP. Then add your favorite toppings: butter, cheese, salt, chocolate, etc.
8. Create an Indoor Scavenger Hunt – What’s more fun than reading simple clues and finding what might normally be a boring object in your house? It will provide hours of entertainment.
For Example (from simple to complex):
- A purple crayon
- Something blue and white?
- Something long?
- Something that can get wet?
- It’s hiding in a room of red, behind a heap and used for bed.
Not ready to create your own? Fantasy, Jr. has printable ones for you.
Then you have your more traditional poems like the one from Scavenger Hunt Fun, in which a clue is left and you have to solve it to get to your next clue. The final location usually has a surprise waiting for you.
9. Ride a Train – Too cold to go outside, but need something to get you out of the house? Pack a few snacks and get on the train for a quick tour of your city. Looking out the window of a moving train can be incredibly thrilling. If that’s not enough, bring travel bingo cards with you. Make them yourself, use online printables, or buy them here.
10. Roast S’mores – Thought you couldn’t have them anymore? Make a fire over your grill, your gas burner or a fire pit and then bring along a box of gluten-free graham crackers or bread, marshmallows and gluten-free chocolate for melt-in-your-mouth s’mores. If you want to try something a bit more original, after roasting your marshmallow, sprinkle some gluten-free chocolate chips into the middle for a different mouth-watering sensation!
Please add your own ideas to this list to share!
Annsley Klehr is a classroom teacher and owner of Gluten Freedoms, LLC, a gluten-free coaching and consulting business.