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Stuck inside? Make the most of indoor family time

Regardless of the season, there are days when Mother Nature makes entertaining ourselves indoors the best (and often safest) bet. Although people rarely like to feel cooped up, snow days and rainy days offer valuable opportunities for families to spend quality time together. With a little advance planning and ingenuity, indoor activities can even help improve your well-being and instill healthy lifestyle habits. Here are some ideas to save for a rainy day:

Resist resorting to electronic entertainment. In the absence of planned activities, it’s easy to fall into “couch potato” mode when TVs, tablets and mobile devices are easily accessible. Make a real effort to stay unplugged on rainy days, and use the time to connect instead with your family. Exceptions? Turn on some tunes, and host a family dance party to get some exercise. Movement-based Wii games and kid-friendly exercise videos are also good ways to stay active while indoors.

Cook together. Instead of raiding the kitchen for snacks, why not cook or prepare a healthy meal as a family? Most children love to help in the kitchen, and cooking offers a variety of educational opportunities from reading recipes and measuring ingredients to learning how to use kitchen appliances and utensils safely.

Get out the crafts. With a box or drawer pre-stocked with crayons, watercolor paints, yarn, paint-by-number kits, construction paper and other art supplies, your kids can spend an afternoon using their imagination to craft all sorts of creations. If they need a place to start, suggest they make cards for relatives and friends. Older children may enjoy making paper airplanes or tackling the art of origami.

Play the old-fashioned way. Before video games and mobile phones, there were board games, dress-up clothes, forts made out of blankets and card games. Take advantage of a day indoors by sharing your favorite childhood games and hobbies with your kids. Reading is also a great way to spend time together. Take turns reading aloud, and encourage kids to look up the words they don’t know in a dictionary. 

With a little creativity and a commitment to having fun, you and your family can look forward to the next time Mother Nature keeps you indoors.

Gail Stotsky, MD

Author of this Article

Gail Stotsky, MD, specializes in pediatrics and is a guest columnist located at IU Health Physicians Primary Care – Eagle Highlands in Indianapolis. She can be reached by calling the office at 317.297.7773. For more health information, subscribe to Strength In You at iuhealth.org/StrengthInYou. 

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