Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Castles Made of Sand

The minions can't actually say that they're bored yet, but it's pretty easy to tell when they are.  This week the city of Toronto has been a giant slushy and the minions haven't made it outside much: at daycare or at home.  Even prison inmates get yard time, and after more than a day without outdoor play, someone's going to get shanked in their cell....err crib.* 

I've created a handy dandy formula to calculate the percentage of boredom and frustration experienced on rainy/snowy/cold days...

(Number of Temper Tantrums in a 3 hour period X 3) + the number of children in your house sick or teething + (Number of fights over toys X 4) + (Incidents of hitting each other, you, anything breakable, or a pet X 5) + (the number of days housebound X 10) / The number of aspirin or drinks you have consumed

This is how the formula worked out for me last night:
(9 X 3) + 2 + (5 X 4) + (6 X 5) + (2 X 20)/ 1

That's a total of 119% boredom/frustration.  So clearly, either my formula is flawed, or I need to start drinking more.

Tonight, after another day of sleet, I decided that I'd find an activity to bring a little bit of summer into an otherwise crummy winter day.  I did some on line research to look for some activities that were appropriate for toddlers and came across the Indoor Sandbox at Family Education.

Materials required:
  • A large cardboard box, baby bathtub or other shallow large volume container (I cut down a diaper box to make mine)
  • Sand (you can use uncooked rice, rice cereal, bird seed, cedar chips, shredded newspaper,puffed wheat or even real sand or potting soil) - I used half a bag of rolled oats
  • Spoons, funnels, scoops cups, toy cars and things to play with in the Sand Box 
  • A sheet or tarp to put on the floor to help with clean up - I skipped this as you can see with the third photo.
Set Up Time:
  • 5 Minutes, including cutting the box top down to a sandbox appropriate level
The Results - Over 30 minutes to make dinner and tidy the kitchen while they played quietly:

Right after they spotted the indoor sandbox

About 15 minutes in (Note I had already swept the floor once at this point)

The Finale**

Clean Up Time
  • 5 minutes (I repacked and labelled the oats to use again - we'll see how disgusting they get before I throw them out)***
The Verdict
  • Totally worth it - just make sure that they have full bellies to avoid sensory time from becoming snack time.

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*This is one of the many reasons why you unload the dishwasher after the minions go to bed.
**You aren't imagining it, Molly is about to jam a giant fist full of oats into her mouth.  
***I was also a little afraid that if I left the box with oats out the cat would think I'd brought a new litter box into the kitchen.

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