If you’ve ever spent a summer in Doha, you know that there are days when you just feel like you’ve been to every mall, been into every store and memorised the merchandise. And on days when you can see the heat waves rising off of the asphalt in the early hours of the morning, it’s not even an option to venture outside. So now you’re stuck at home, with restless kids that you somehow have to keep entertained
But being stuck at home doesn’t mean that you have to write the day off just lounging around watching the clock tick away the minutes and hours. You can definitely have an enjoyable day without losing your cool.
The first thing that you have to do, even before you face a situation where you’re stuck at home, is to be prepared. Whether you’re in Doha and you’re stuck inside because of the heat, or in any country really, it’s smart and practical to anticipate days when you simply can’t go out. Having a list of pre-planned activities along with supplies is the perfect way to take the guesswork out of spending a day indoors.
That being said, here are some fun ways to spend a day indoors:
Put on a play! It doesn’t have to be elaborate. Decorate paper bags, stick buttons on old socks or simply get the kids to dress up. Whatever it may be, give your kids a set amount of time to put together a play for you based on their favourite story of one they’ve made up themselves. If they are younger, help them out with the puppets and storyline. You can be as involved as you want and it’s a great way to keep them busy for a while.
Put on your chef’s hat. Cooking with your kids may seem like more trouble than it’s worth, but it can be both a teaching experience and a fun way to bond. Crack open a cookbook or use the Internet to look for a recipe that both you and your kids agree on. Set out on making the dish together. Give your child age-appropriate tasks: washing the vegetables, measuring and mixing ingredients, seasoning and plating up the final product. Even babies can be secured in their high chairs and given a plastic bowl and spoon so as to be included. And the best part is that your kids are more likely to actually eat what you’ve prepared together without complaint as they had a hand in making it!
Build a fort. Gather all of the couch cushions and pillows, along with some sheets from the linen closet and have the kids assemble them into a fort. Enjoyment will ensue. That’s all that there is to it, really; no kid can resist a fort!
Arts and Crafts. If you want to get your kids’ creative juices flowing, it’s time to pull out all of the stops. Pull out the crayons, markers, glue, glitter, construction paper, pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks, beads, string, googly eyes, etc. Kids have wonderful imaginations so be prepared to be amazed.
Quiz time. Who says learning can’t be fun? Prepare age-appropriate questions for your kids and present them in a game show style theme. From identifying shapes and colours for toddlers to simple math equations and word problems for adolescents to full on brainteasers for the teens: it’s all about creating the right atmosphere to make learning fun. Play in teams or individually and give points for right answers and a prize for the winner. A little competition will definitely make them forget that they are learning.
Film Festival. While it is important to limit time spent in front of a screen on a daily basis to a minimum, making an exception on a day spent totally indoors is OK. Have everyone in your family pick a movie, pop some popcorn and prepare some healthy snacks, get comfortable and press play. Make sure to keep your kids stimulated and engaged about what they are seeing while you watch by asking them to explain to you what’s going on. The hours are sure to slip by.
The most important thing is not to let a day indoor drive you stir crazy. Use the opportunity to spend some quality time with your kids. So often the chaos of our daily lives rarely gives us the chance to truly connect with our kids. Don’t get beat by the heat. Instead, use this time to laugh, play and have fun together. And who knows? You may have so much fun that you come to look forward to being stranded at home!