Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Climbing Walls

Here in Wisconsin, we're waking up to below 0 weather. -2 degrees Farenheit, to be exact. Add in wind chill, and it feels more like -13. If we're lucky, it might get all the way to 12 today.
Weather like this is not exactly conducive to outdoor play. And when boys have been cooped up in a house too long, watch out! That physical energy has to go somewhere.

My five-year-old son has figured out an innovative way to deal with cabin fever. He climbs walls. Literally.

For the longest time, he's been able to climb one side a door jamb by grabbing on to either side with his hands and using his hands and feet to shimmy up like an island native climbing a coconut tree. Now, howere, he's figured out a new technique. He stands just inside a doorway and spreads his legs, so that his feet are touching both door jambs, one to a side. He spreads his arm out overhead -- again, reaching out to both sides -- and uses his arms to steady himself. Then he "walks" his feet up the door jambs, using the friction of his feet and his incredible balance to stay in place.

It's not exactly a typical indoor activity, but you know what? It keep him happy, active and healthy. Staying physical indoors when the weather boxes you in is a challenge, but think outside of the box. Try letting the kids slide down the front stairs, or race around the house. Strap cardboard to their feet and let them "skate" on the carpet. Plan a scavenger hunt. Build a fort. Have an old-fashioned pillow fight. Let them jump on the beds and stage dance contests in the living room.

And when it's time to unwind, remember that boys are also highly tactile. Playdough has long been a favorite in my house. My eight-year-old likes to sculpt creatures and cars, while my three-year-old LOVES to run his little cars and trucks over the "roads" he makes in the playdough. Here, then, is my all-time favorite playdough recipe:

Fruity Playdough
2 1/2 cups flour (plan to add much more when mixing and kneading)
1/2 cup salt
2 packages dry unsweetened drink mix (Koolaid, etc.)
2 cups boiling water
3 Tablespoons cooking oil
Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl. Mix liquids together and pour into dry ingredients. Stir until mixture forms a ball. At first it will appear as if it will never make a smooth playdough mixture. Add more flour if necessary. As the mixture cools and becomes less sticky, take it out of the bowl and knead until smooth, adding flour until it reaches the right consistency.

This recipe makes A LOT of playdough -- perfect for a family! Store it inside a sealed plastic container (think an old margarine tub) and it'll last for months.

So how 'bout you? What are some of your favorite indoor activities?


  1. OMG I love this picture! Greg and I were definitley amazed when he scaled the wall like a native getting a coconut!

  2. I know this pciture! And on another post (or two) you mentioned the after-dinner wrestling, which is as much a staple around here as milk!