6 January 2022
Play time is an important function of a child growing up. It is important that they learn how to entertain themselves by playing alone (without electronics) as well as with other children. Adding family time can help the child build confidence and strengthen the parental bond. Besides building memories, it can result in better performance at school, and lots of laughs for everyone.
Marshmallows – Instead of Legos, haul out a bag of mini marshmallows and dried spaghetti and see what can be constructed. If you planned in advance, you can have different sizes of marshmallows or different colors. Incorporate other pastas like corkscrew or elbow and see what happens.
Scavenger Hunt – Write clues and hide objects in plain view. This will send the kids scurrying around the rooms for a while. Set it up as individual mysteries or make it a team event. You can set up a different set of clues and paths for each child or team so they won’t be tempted to just follow each other around. This could also be adapted as an escape room challenge.
Pillow Fight – Set up a safe space where lamps and other breakables won’t be damaged, and enjoy a pillow fight. Establish rules and let them work off some pent up energy. Take socks right off feet and make them into smelly balls.
Blanket Fort – Throw the sofa cushions and accent pillows on the floor and get an old blanket to make a tent. Spark imaginations by talking about where in the world they could be and what they would expect to see outside the flap. Add flashlights and read books or tell stories.
Skee Ball – With Nerf balls or rolled up socks for ammo, set up your own tossing game with different sized bowl, buckets, laundry baskets, or other similar items.
Karaoke – Hand out hair brushes, kitchen whisks, or similar items and have everyone take turns singing into the home made “microphone”. Make up silly lyrics if you are so inclined. Add dancing.
Skiing and Tubing – Head to Hammond Hill State Forest or Letchworth State Park for some ski trails designed for all levels of skiers. Each also has a tubing center for a change of pace. Cross-country lovers should check out Cumming Nature Center.
Ice Skating – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park at Manhattan Square offers skate rentals for their outdoor rink. At Bill Gray’s Regional Iceplex you can skate indoors or out and you can order reserved tickets. Ellison Park is only for outdoor skating and you need to bring your own ice skates.
Hiking – Many of the Finger Lakes trails are closed in the winter but Taughannock Falls State Parks are available. These are generally flat but can still hide patches of ice if you are not cautious.
Museums – Getting you out of the house but not nearly as strenuous as skiing or ice skating, take in one of the area’s museums. The Corning offers glass blowing classes.