News Flash…Green Kids Trapped Indoors


My children enjoy spending a lot of time outdoors. Despite the May showers and thunderstorms we have been experiencing, they ask everyday if they may go outside to play. They enjoy running barefoot through the grass, scooping up the mud, climbing the trees, and relish the bliss of experiencing nature through the change of seasons. Even though having them out of the house provides me an opportunity to get some cleaning done and a little quiet time, there are some days I have to say “no,” and keep them inside.

As a mom, I realize that a “no” requires a good back up plan otherwise the result is a bunch of stir crazy children and a long and sometimes difficult day ahead for me. If you are still learning your lesson, then these ideas may come in handy. Most of everything you need are items you already have at home. The following are a few suggestions, which you may find fun to do with your children too:

1. Arts & Crafts
Just about anything can be called “art” and a craft can be made out of just about anything. Get creative with left over cardboard, empty yogurt containers, and the infamous plastic bag (yes, plastic bags too!). There are quite a few online resources for making recycled art like Recycle 2 Art and a great offline resource The Creative Family by Amanda Blake Soule which encourages children to be imaginative through simple projects that utilize items found inside and outside of the home.

2. Cook
I don’t know how it happened, but cooking has become an enjoyable pastime for me. My children, even my toddler, enjoy cooking too. Everyone pulls a chair up to our kitchen island and we cook together. If your children are new to cooking, sometimes having them help you with a simple meal like making lunch is all it takes to get them interested. Another motivator for promoting cooking with children is watching other children doing the same as you can do at Spatulatta, which is a fun Web site that you and your children can watch together. Since most cooking calls for preparation, all of you can sit down, watch and learn how to make a dish, and prepare your grocery list for shopping later. This is also a great time to teach them about healthy nutrition and they will enjoy selecting their own fresh ingredients at the grocery store or farmer’s market.

Also, check back at Milk & Honey Mommy because we have many fun cooking ideas for you and your children.

3. Sort Recyclables
We started recycling last year and I still have not purchased dedicated containers. For now, we are using what is left of the paper grocery bags and cardboard boxes in our home. Our recycling system starts in the kitchen where I try to sort as much as I can, but sometimes, it is easier to just put everything in one container and then sort later. If this happens to you, then solicit help from your children. Letting them sort the items and put them in the correct containers is fun for them, teaches them what like items can be recycled, and reinforces the concept.

4. Read Books
Reading to your children is so important. Reading a book of any type whether the topic is green or not is good for your children. If you have an early reader, then let him practice reading to the family. Most children enjoy being read to, so mom crack open a book and go for it. Fluff the pillows, cuddle up, and wrap a few blankets if needed and enjoy a great read together. We stock up once a month at the library, so we always have some good books on hand. Our library allows us to check out up to 50 books at a time. Now, that is a lot of reading and think of how many trees you save.

Another option is listening to and watching a book being read by members of the Screen Actors Guild at Story Line Online, which include artists like Melissa Gilbert, Tia and Tamera Mowry, Hector Elizondo, and even Al Gore as featured narrators.

5. Make Room
Your children can go through their toys, while you go through their clothes and collect items that are no longer used. These items can be donated to a local charity, shared with another through Freecycle, or earn you some money at a semi-annual children’s consignment sale. I have three closets that need much attention. Most of the clothing filling two of them are of clothing that nobody in our house can wear ever again because they have outgrown them. It is hard to let go of many of these items, but reducing, re-purposing/reusing, and recycling is the name of the game and not consumption. You can treat this like a treasure hunt and have your children search for two items (or more) each that they no longer use. If you have a family in mind for receiving the items, then your children can hand deliver the toys to their new owners. There are so many lessons they can learn from this.

We still prefer the fun we have outside, but there is much fun to be had indoors as well. So moms, the next time you and your children are forced indoors, if you don’t already have your “green activity list” ready to go, then we give you permission to use ours.

If you need more ideas, then take a look here because we’re busy people and you too may enjoy doing some of the things we enjoy as a family.

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