While we folks down here in the Southeast can usually count the frigid days in a year on one hand, inevitably there are some. And there are also some weekends that get completely rained out. So, on those rare occasions when it's too cold or wet outside and your kids are stuck indoors, the day can seem as long as an entire baseball season.
Indoor winter youth sports activities can help pass the time a little, but during the many hours spent at home before and after, what's a child to do? Or, should I say, what's a parent to do with the child?
I'm not going to suggest you clear the living room furniture, throw down bases and hope the television doesn't get whacked with a ball. Nor would I suggest trying to figure out what piece of furniture to use as a soccer goal.
Instead, consider going to watch a local game.
While attending a major college or professional game may not always be feasible, you can take your children to the local high school or small college game for less than a night out at the movies.
Taking your little basketball player to see a high school hoops game is a great way for him or her to see basketball at a different level. Imagine how great it will be for him or her to actually see players in a zone defense with their hands up in the air. My guess is it will have a bigger impact than any of the times you've yelled "hands up" from the bleachers.
It's also a chance to take your kids to watch a sport they've never played or seen. Ice hockey and swimming are perfect examples. Given the costs and accessibility issues of these sports, many kids aren't afforded the opportunity to participate in them. But that doesn't mean they shouldn't be exposed to these popular activities.
It's important to make sure to take your boys to see girls play, and vice versa. Imagine the look on your son's face when he realizes girls can not only skate, but handle a puck while doing so ... and lay out some pretty mean checks. And be sure to check out your daughter's reaction the first time she sees a male gymnast. It's important to eliminate stereotyping while your kids are still young and impressionable.
Best of all, these alternatives are surely better than a visit from the Cat in the Hat.
Jon Buzby's columns appear in newspapers and magazines around the country as well as numerous websites. Email your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @jonbuzby.