Tag Archives: snow day

New Ideas for Classic Toys

It is good to offer kids a balance of independent play time and play where you are actively engaging with them. You can make toys they may be bored with, feel new and exciting, by suggesting different ways to play with them. Try some of the ideas below as a starting point.

Play Food/Dishes

  • Teach your host children how to say the names of some of the food and dishes in your language.
  • Using English and/or your language play games where you are ordering food like in a restaurant. Take turns with who will be the waiter and who is the customer.
  • Come up with silly food combinations.  For example: Who wants pickles on their slice of cake?
  • Play a guessing game where the children have to figure out what food you are talking about.  For example: I grow under the ground in the dirt.  People eat me fried, mashed and baked.  What am I? (a potato)
  • Play a game with setting the table using your language to ask for the different items (plate, spoon, etc.)
  • Ask the children to divide the foods up into the different food groups (vegetables, meat, dairy, etc.)

Lego Blocks and Other Building Toys

  • Divide up all of the blocks between the people playing, by taking turns for each person to select block by block.
  • Suggest specific things to build (robots, houses, mountains etc.) and build together.
  • Challenge everyone to use all of their blocks.
  • Sort the blocks by color or shape and make patterns with them (red, blue, red, blue or square, triangle, rectangle.)  You can create a pattern and ask the child to fill in what comes next to continue the pattern.
  • Make the tallest block tower you can and let them knock it down (over and over again, if like most kids, they like destroying things.)

Mr. Potato Head

  • Teach your host children the names of the different parts in your language and play a game asking them to put on the body parts by name.
  • Play Hide and Seek with Mr. Potato Head. Have the children cover their eyes and count, while you hide Mr. Potato Head, then they go looking for him. Switch things up by letting them hide Mr. Potato Head and then you are the one to locate him.
  • Play the same game above, but using Simon Says.  Simon Says is a game where the leader gives commands by saying “Simon says” first. For example, “Simon says, put on the nose.”  The players are only to follow the commands when the leader says “Simon says.”  If the leader doesn’t say “Simon says” first and just says, “put on the nose,”  and the player follows the command, they are out of the game.  Repeat the game multiple times, so all kids get a turn to be the leader at least once.

Photos:  Lisa Maxwell (top) & Tom Smalls (bottom)

Snow Days are Here!

Looking for ideas to keep the kids busy on a snow day (when they are home from school for winter weather?)

Here is a simple snow day game plan…

  1. Play in the snow. Do you wanna build a snowman? Here’s a great how-to video.
  2. Come inside and warm up with hot chocolate (don’t forget the marshmallows.)
  3. Make your own play dough.
  4. Play board games or legos together.
  5. Try some Winter Science experiments.
  6. Look for more fun things to do on the APIA Pinterest Boards:
  7. Bake cookies together or make some other fun recipe.
  8. Play in the snow again.
  9. Warm up inside taking turns on the Make a Snowflake Website.
  10. Make a blanket fort.

Stay warm & have fun!

Photo: Yuli Salinas

Snow Days are coming!

Looking for ideas to keep the kids busy on a snow day (when they are home from school for winter weather?)

Here is a simple snow day game plan…

  1. Play in the snow
  2. Come inside and warm up with hot chocolate (don’t forget the marshmallows)
  3. May your own play dough.
  4. Play board games or legos together
  5. Ever heard of Snow Ice Cream?
  6. Look for more fun things to do on the APIA Pinterest Boards
  7. Bake cookies together or make some other fun recipe
  8. Play in the snow again
  9. Warm up inside taking turns on the Make a Snowflake Website
  10. Make a blanket fort

Stay warm & have fun!

Photo: Tony Crider (Flickr)

Snow Day Boredom Busters #2 – Indoor Physical Activities

It’s difficult when the weather is too snowy, wet or cold for kids to play outside and get all of that great kid energy out.


Here are some indoor physical activity ideas:

  • Create an indoor obstacle course in the largest, kid safe room in the house (playroom, basement, family room, etc.)  Use large cushions and toys to create places for kids to climb over and under.
  • Turn on some music (kid music or other music that is appropriate) and dance.
  • Play freeze dance. Tell the kids to dance when you turn the music on and to stop dancing when the music stops.  Let the kids take turns being the leader,  controlling the music.
  • Do the limbo dance.  Play music and challenge the kids to go under the limbo pole as it gets lower and lower.


  • Make paper airplanes and see how far they can fly.  Remind the kids not to throw them at other other people.
  • Mark small squares on the floor and challenge the kids to see who can stay on their spot the longest.  Make it tougher for older kids by having them stand on one foot.
  • Play ball toss games with soft items like rolled up socks.   The younger the children the larger the container they are tossing into should be.  For very young kids, use a laundry basket.  For older kids, use something smaller like a box, basket or large plastic mixing bowl.
  • Build a fort using blanket and furniture like chairs and tables.  Or if the kids have a small play tent put that up.
  • Play sports charades.  Charades is a game where you act out something while people try to guess.  You can do this with sports actions, using no equipment, just making the actions.  For example – hitting a golf ball, pitching a baseball, serving a tennis ball, bowling, etc.)
  • Jump rope. Jumping_rope.
  • Play with a hula hoop.
  • Try juggling, top spinning, or yo-yo contests.
  • Play hide and go seek.
  • Play “keep the balloon up”. Use one balloon per child or one balloon per small group. The group may add additional balloons as they gain control and awareness. *

* Safety Note – Balloons are a choking hazard, supervise children when playing with balloons and make sure to find and throw away any pieces of popped balloons.