Cure for the Mid-Winter Blahs
By Michelle Braeuner
For me, there always comes a day in January when I truly wonder if I'll ever see the sun again. Christmas was a million years ago and Valentines day just isn’t as exciting as it used to be. Instead of a day of romance, I now look forward to writer’s cramp as I “help” fill out 25 miniature Transformer valentines. I’m not the only one that feels this way. For years, businesses have used theme days to brighten the workplace. Managers have discovered that just allowing people to dress up can turn a day of routine into a day of creativity and fun. Who can use this more than a mom, at home with her child, on a grey winter day?
There are a few things to remember to make your theme days a success.
First of all, plan ahead. Not only will this assure that you have all your supplies, but it also means that your child can work with you. Anticipation is part of the joy.
Secondly, don’t plan a theme day with another major outing. This can overwhelm a child and cut short the fun. Instead plan a special day after an outing. For example, postcards that purchased at a recent trip to the local art museum made wonderful illustrations when working on foam tiaras for Princess Day.
Don’t forget to check the web for coloring pages or crafts that you can add to your day. Most of them are free and it never hurts to have an extra activity tucked away.
Most of all enter into the fun. Okay, so maybe you don’t feel like wearing dress-up clothes to the grocery store. But, a bandana and a single gold hoop can help you fit into your little pirate’s crew. To your daughter, wearing a dress with a little extra jewelry is just as glamorous as her princess dress. (Plus, you can always be her lady-in-waiting!)
Pirate Day: Everyone knows that pirates are awoken to the sound of clanging bells and the smell of boiled hardtack (oatmeal!). Errands can be transformed into raiding parties. For our Pirate Day we re-named our car “The Green Pearl: Scourge of the Carpool Lane.” Christen your vehicle whatever seems appropriate. Be sure to fly the Jolly Roger, in order to warn other drivers. A blue sheet on the floor with a yardstick makes a great “plank” for your young pirate to walk. Of course, “sharks” will have to chomp on any exposed ankles. Don’t forget to call everyone you meet “lubbers,” and use the word “Arg” a lot.
Princess Day: Wake your princess to a breakfast of mini-muffins, mini-waffles or silver dollar pancakes. Help her dress in her finest, most flowing gown, and style her hair in a special way. Water and cotton swabs make excellent “make-up.” If you already have a crown, wear it as much as possible. Otherwise, wrap a strip of foam around your child’s head and help her stick plastic “gems” on wherever she wishes. Of course, at naptime, your little princess can pretend to be Sleeping Beauty.
Pajama Day: This is one day that requires no planning, and works especially well on snow days, when older brothers and sisters can join in the fun. Just let everyone stay in their pajamas. Bring down blankets and pillows. Make forts out of cushions and tents out of blankets. Eat a warm soup and grilled cheese lunch, or even bake some cookies together in the afternoon. Play board games, watch movies, read and color. Talk with your children about the blessing of having such a warm cozy home on a cold winter day.
Outer Space Day: This day is all about exploration. An Altoid box makes a great “communicator.” Just decorate the top and sides with foam “buttons” and “dials.” Footie pajamas make great space suits, just be sure to add a utility belt. This is a great day to work with shape recognition. Try scattering paper triangles, circles and stars on the floor. Help you child travel from “spaceship” to “planet” to “star.”
These are just a few ideas. As a parent, you know what will pique your child’s interest best. Just like casual day can brighten an office, theme days can turn an ordinary day into extraordinary one at home. With just a little planning, and a lot of imagination, you and your preschooler can create a day filled with fun and memories.