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Home-Grown Fun

Look around your house for things that can be turned into intriguing indoor activities for the last dreary weeks of winter.

 By Janice O’Donnell, Executive Director, Providence Children’s Museum

Officially, March brings the first day of spring. But it’s still chilly, the backyard is muddy, and if it’s not snowing, it’s raining. Don’t despair! You have all kinds of things around the house that can be turned into intriguing indoor activities for the last dreary weeks of winter.March2014-CardboardBox

  • Pots and pans with spoons, pot lid cymbals, and lidded coffee cans containing a few dried beans make wonderful instruments for a marching band.
  • Cardboard tubes from toilet paper and paper towels are horns, spyglasses or wheels for little homemade cars.
  • Empty juice and milk cartons are great for all kinds of projects. Cut off one of the long sides of a carton and give it to your 5- to 8-year-old to build a diorama in with scrap foil, toothpicks, cotton balls, scraps of colored paper and pipe cleaners.
  • A big cardboard box makes a cave for a little one to crawl into or a boat to sail away in. Help him decorate it with markers, colored paper scraps and tape.March2014-DressUp
  • Let them wear their bathing suits in the bathtub. Freeze water in juice cartons and balloons and make icebergs to float in the tub.
  • Keep old nightgowns, scarves and hats in a costume box. Play the “Nutcracker Suite” or other ballet music and encourage your kids to dig into the box for dance costumes. Darken the room and shine a flashlight on the dancers.
  • Your kitchen is a science lab. With your school-age child, put a tablespoon of oil into a clear glass container. Add water. What happens? Add a third liquid, like corn syrup. Ask your child which she thinks is heaviest, the syrup, oil or water? Try gently pouring rubbing alcohol on top of the oil and water.  Have her drop things (cork, dried beans, marble, plastic cap) into the mixture and predict whether they’ll float or sink slowly or quickly to the bottom.
  • Have a blast! Put some vinegar in an empty film canister. Wrap about a teaspoon of baking soda in tissue and put that in too. Put the cap on and stand back. Watch the cap pop off. What happens if you add a little more baking soda?

And for sure-fire relief from the winter blues, bring them to Providence Children’s Museum, where fun and learning await you all year long!  Visit the Museum’s website to learn about our exhibits and upcoming activities.

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