Rain and heat have you stuck indoors? Ideas for keeping kids busy

June 27, 2011 

Eva Pleiman, 2, works on a craft project with her grandmother, Donna Pleiman, during "Imagination Hour" at The Sandbox, An Interactive Children's Museum, on Hilton Head Island. The two were visiting the island from Sidney, Ohio. The weekly "Imagination Hour" session at 10:30 a.m. Thursdays features a story reading followed by a craft activity.

JAY KARR, THE ISLAND PACKET

There are plenty of fun summertime activities to do with your kids outdoors in the Lowcountry. But what about rainy days or those times when it's just too darn hot to play outside? How do parents keep their children busy on those days?

CRAFTS

How about a little craft time? Carolyn Leslie, toddler teacher at E.C. Montessori & Grade School in Beaufort and mom to 3- and 4-year-old boys, offered a few creative ways to entertain the little ones and keep them learning over the summer. She said these activities are great for small children because they encourage imaginative play, strengthen motor skills, provide sensorial experiences, and can even promote pre-writing and pre-reading skills.

  • Wind socks. All you need for this one is a large soda bottle and either some tissue paper, newspaper or a trash bag. Cut long strips out of the paper or bag. Then glue them onto the soda bottle. Decorate however you'd like, using markers, crayons or stickers to add a little pizzazz to the creation. Tie a string around the top of the bottle, and hang it up somewhere or let the kids run around and play with it -- kind of like a kite.

  • Musical instruments. For this craft, you can use either an empty toilet paper roll, a water or soda bottle or any other kind of container. You'll need rice, acorns, dried beans or some other assortment of tiny items to put inside the container.

    If you have a bottle, just fill it with the rice or other materials, close it up and -- voila! -- you have an instant noisemaker. For toilet paper rolls, you'll need to cover the ends with something to keep the pieces inside. Tape comes in handy here. If you have a couple of empty coffee cans around the house, let your child turn them into a set of drums.

    Leslie's sons, Isaac and Aaron, have created instruments at home and at school.

    "They just love to make noise," she said.

  • Fun with shaving cream. This classic Montessori activity requires a can of shaving cream, a table you don't mind getting messy and some little hands. Just spray the shaving cream on the table, and kids will go wild smearing it all over.

    Leslie said this is a great sensorial experience for kids because it gives them an opportunity to use most of their senses at once -- they get to see, smell and feel the shaving cream. She said sensorial experiences are important for toddlers and playing with the shaving cream is a good pre-writing lesson. Children can practice writing letters or making shapes with their fingers in the cream.

    FIELD TRIPS

    And if you just can't stand to be inside your home another minute but it's pouring rain (or whatever the case may be), check out what these venues have to offer:

  • Children can pretend to fly an airplane or construct a building, create artwork and much more at The Sandbox, An Interactive Children's Museum on Hilton Head Island. The nonprofit museum is offering a "Summer Fun Series," which includes weekly programs, such as "Get Fired Up with Pottery" at 9:30 a.m. Mondays and "Imagination Hour" at 10:30 a.m. Thursdays.

    Details: 843-842-7645, www.thesandbox.org

  • The Coastal Discovery Museum on Hilton Head features several indoor exhibits and even a Kids Zone at the Discovery House.

    Details: 843-689-6767, www.coastaldiscovery.org

    RIGHT UP YOUR ALLEY

    AMF Main Street Lanes on Hilton Head and AMF Ribaut Lanes in Beaufort are offering free bowling for children ages 16 and younger.

    Parents can sign up at the bowling alley or online to receive coupons via email. The coupons are good for two free games a day for each child and may be used until 8 p.m. daily until Sept. 5. Shoe rental is not included.

    Details: 843-681-7750, www.amf.com/mainstreetlanes, Hilton Head; 843-524-3111, Beaufort

    LIBRARY LEARNING

    There are several kid-friendly events at the various branches of the Beaufort County Public Library. Here are a few of the highlights:

  • Puppeteer Hobey Ford, "World Tales," 11 a.m. Tuesday, Bluffton; 3 p.m. Tuesday, Hilton Head; 10 a.m. Wednesday, Penn Center; 6 p.m. Wednesday, ARTworks Art Center

  • Storyteller Bobbie Pell, "Dreamers: Irish/Scottish Folk & Fairytales," 11 a.m. July 13, Hilton Head; and 2 p.m. July 13, Bluffton

  • Ronald McDonald, "Reading Rangers Show," 11 a.m. July 19, Bluffton; 2 p.m. July 19, Hilton Head; and 11 a.m. July 20, Lobeco

    Details: 843-255-6430, www.beaufortcountylibrary.org

    STORY TIME

  • Barnes & Noble Booksellers on Hilton Head, story time, 11 a.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays.

    Details: 843-342-6690

  • Booksalicious, Bluffton, Story time with Yostie the Puppeteer, 2-3 p.m. June 28, July 19 and Aug. 9. Stories also available upon request.

    Details: 843-815-5439, www.booksaliciousbookstore.com

  • The Storybook Shoppe, Bluffton, story times 10:30 a.m. Tuesdays for 3-year-olds and 10:30 a.m. Thursdays for 4- to 6-year-olds.

    Details: 843-757-2600, www.thestorybookshoppe.com

    FREE MOVIES

  • Northridge Cinema 10, Hilton Head, free summer kids shows, 10 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays through Aug. 4.

    Details: 843-342-3801, www.southeastcinemas.com

    ENJOY THE ARTS

    ARTworks, Beaufort, Rick Hubbard show with music, comedy and free kazoos, doors open at 7 p.m., show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays from June 28 to Aug. 2; $5 for kids, $10 for adults.

    Puppeteer Hobey Ford, "World Tales," 6 p.m. Wednesday, free.

    Details: 843-379-2787, www.beaufortcountyarts.com

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