So the kids are going back to school ... well, maybe. As I write this, a winter storm is bearing down on the region, rendering uncertain our ability to turn the kids (finally) back over to the professionals who are paid to entertain them.
Happy New Year.
How will we tolerate another day or two of 24-hour togetherness? The new Christmas toys have lost their luster. Every book has been read ... and re-read ... and re-read again. Sure, there could be some snow to play in, but who wants to play outside when it's 10 degrees below zero?
My daughter and I are reading the "Little House on the Prairie" books right now. We are, appropriately, up to "The Long Winter," and I'm constantly amazed at how four girls under the age of 15 can entertain themselves for hours and days on end in a two-room house with little light and heat when my one 8 year old with more toys, books and electronics than she really needs has been flopping around whining about being bored for the last three or four days.
Luckily it's now 2014 and we have the Internet, so just Google "snow day activities for kids" and lose yourself in the Web for a while. Here's one site I particularly liked: http://herviewfromhome.com/36-snow-day-activities-and-ideas-for-your-kids/. I will skip anything messy, but I liked this one for my girly girl: "Hang up some sparkly sheets and beads, add tulle or anything fun fabric, then have your girls dress up in their favorite costumes and have a fashion shoot."
When the storm has passed and the weekend has arrived, there are a couple family events to consider on Saturday, Jan. 4, though this is fairly slow weekend in the Berkshires. From 9 a.m. to noon is one of my daughter's favorite monthly events: The DIY Building Workshop for Kids at Home Depot. These workshops are the first Saturday of every month at every Home Depot (we have been to both the Pittsfield and Bennington, Vt., stores) and allow kids to build and decorate simple wooden crafts. We have nailed together everything from a Penske moving truck to a "Despicable Me" tic-tac-toe board. Yes, there are these corporate "sponsors," but it helps keep the activity free. Children will get a certificate and a pin upon completion of the project; the pin can go on a mini orange Home Depot apron that kids get the first time they attend a workshop. See homedepot.com for a schedule of workshop titles.
The other Saturday event I will mention is "Clay for Kids" from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Ramsdell Library in Housatonic. As I mentioned above, I avoid messy crafts in my own home, so I appreciate a library's willingness to handle the clean-up. Kids are invited to join artist and librarian Leslie Metlzer to make figures out of clay; for more information, visit gblibraries.org.
I hope this helps get you through what promises to be a looooooooong few days between the weather and a quiet weekend. God speed!
Berkshire County native Rebecca Dravis of Williamstown is a former journalist who now works for the Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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