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Monday, November 2, 2009

Keeping Kids Entertained When Moving

By Guest Blogger Marybeth Barrett with an intro by Katie M

I asked Marybeth for some creative suggestions on this topic since she's a creative super-star and I just completed a move with two kids under the age of six! I love the ideas she listed below and they definitely came in handy. If anyone else is experiencing a move soon, be sure to read below! - KM

Moving boxes, I have a love-hate relationship with them. I HATE them because they take forever to load and unpack are often at a time of upheaval in your life. I LOVE them because they provide hours of entertainment for the kids while Mamasita diligently tries to get stuff done to get life back in some sense of order. So, if you’ve got kids, here are some tips to keep your sanity. Save the boxes, after you move. I repeat, save the boxes! They help entertain your children while you put all your belongings in your new home. What can you do with the boxes you say? Well here are just a few crazy ideas we came up with for our two boys.

1. If You Build It, They Will Play. Save the big boxes to make a castle or fort. Of course most of you have seen this or done it before. But take it two steps further. You can use a razor knife to cut out windows and a door for the kids. Give the kids stickers, markers, crayons, etc. to decorate. Draw flowers, add faux flowers, etc. Let them go to town! Speaking of town…Make a whole town! Post Office, Fire Department, etc. The opportunities are endless. It may take you a little time to help build the initial foundation, but it is so worth it!

2. I like to Move It, Move It. Medium sized ones are great for making cars or trains. You can add a steering wheel to the car buy using a paper or plastic plate. Cut a small hole in the center, get rope and put through the hole. Tie a knot so the rope won’t slip back through. Make another hole in the box where you want the steering wheel to go. Put the other end of the rope through that hole to the outside of the box. Tie another knot leaving about an inch or two of slack in between so the wheel can move. Glue four plates on for wheels and again decorate. You can do the same for the train with the wheels and decorations. But how the heck does one drive a train? Not sure, is it a steering wheel? Lever? I think a lever. Maybe try an empty paper towel holder for a lever. Follow the same process as the steering wheel but I would use less slack so it is not as loose, but you still want to move. Another option for the steering wheel and lever is to use a nut and bolt to attach them if you have some spare ones on hand. Just make sure they move. Action and movement are good, it entertains longer.

3. Chalk It Up for Some Fun! Cut up the big/long boxes and lay them flat. Give the kids some chalk. For some reason, it is more entertaining to use chalk on the cardboard than a chalkboard or sidewalk. Who knew?

4. Snap, Crackle, Pop. Popping paper is a dream for regular ‘ole popping. It seems like everything is a “race” in my house. Have them race to see who can pop it all first. Or, lay some larger pieces on the ground and you can have them ride their bike or tricycle over it. They think it is the coolest thing since sliced bread.

5. “What’s in the box, what’s in the box, we gotta find out what’s in the box!” (I will give a prize to the first person who comments and tells me where that song is from! Seriously!) You need at least two children to play (or you can join in if you want a time-out from all the unpacking)! Have one person look around the room and memorize what is there. Next have them close their eyes. The second person removes an item from the room and puts it in the box. Have the person open their eyes and try to guess what is in the box. You can give clues if they can’t guess. A great memory game.

6. Free Labor. That sounds awful I should be more P.C. and say “Lend a Hand”. Give them a box to help pack. Kids love to help! Some kid friendly items to let them pack: Plastic Tupperware is good and can’t be broken. Kitchen utensils, minus anything sharp. Off season clothes -just be prepared for some extra wrinkles when you take them out! Stuffed animals, towels, etc.

7. Going Postal. My kids played this one for hours. Get a box big enough for your child to fit in. Have one child get in the box and close the top. The other child pretends they just got home to find a great big package waiting for them. My kids said “A package for me? Hmmm, I wonder what could be in this box!?” They open the top and the other child jumps up and yells “SURPRISE!” I know it seems so superficial but I seriously can’t count how many times they took turns doing it.

8. Hide and Seek. Get a number of different boxes. Have the tops open and place them upside down with the opening on the floor. You need two players. Have one kid close their eyes and count to 20. Have the other child hide under one of the boxes. The first child opens their eyes and tries to guess which one they are in. They lift the boxes to check each one. If boxes are too big to lift, you can have them upright and just close all the tops, the seeker just opens the lids to find them. Either way, find them and yell “SURPRISE!” Yes, yelling makes it more fun.

9. We’re Going on a Color Hunt. You will need 5 small boxes. Get a red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple crayon or marker. Have them decorate one box with the red marker/crayon, the next box with the blue, etc. Next have each of them go on a hunt for “X” # of items that are red, then blue, then green, etc. Do one color at a time. Put the red items in the red box, the blue in the blue, etc. And, pick up isn’t so bad because can each pick one color at a time, carry the box with them as they put the items back where they found them.

So, if you are moving, I feel your pain! It is such a huge undertaking and even more so when you have small children to entertain. I hope a couple of these games help to put a smile on both you and your children’s faces and make the whole process a little less stressful. Good luck! Happy packing and playing!

Do you have any ideas to share? If so, post them below!


Anonymous said...

If only I had read this two months ago! Our move may have gone much smoother.

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