While the Field Museum is closed today due to the extreme cold, they still have some recommendations for cold weather activities to help keep everybody occupied while you’re stuck indoors.
Andy Hershberger, School Learning Experiences Administrator at the Field Museum’s Learning Center, joins Morning Shift to share a few fun activities for families to enjoy.
A Weather-related Activity
Andy Hershberger: There’s only a few times a year you can do this activity, but Frozen Bubbles is a great way. … Look around the house, if you have some water and dish soap, that’s a great way to start. Also, baby shampoo or baby bath is another good one to mix in. And work on letting your kids just stir and make a mess and experiment with blowing bubbles.
Jenn White: And so when you go outside … what are you looking for?
Hershberger: You can use a straw or some type of bubble blower with a small aperture. You blow the bubble just so that it sits on the end your straw and in a matter of 10 seconds, it will turn to crystals and you will see beautiful ice crystals form around there. You can snap some pictures before it pops.
A Simple Activity You Can Do With Household Items
Hershberger: The Mystery Box is a great way to do scientific research with young ones. If you have a shoebox or a cardboard box, simply cut a hole in it big enough for your child’s and an adult’s hand and find something to put in it. And the others in the house can use their senses other than sight to try to figure out what it is. This is great for kids. Kids also love tricking their parents with this one, too.
White: That sounds like fun. So it’s about identifying different textures with your fingers, maybe even different smells?
Hershberger: Absolutely, or sounds. You can drop it or shake it, if it’s not fragile and use all of the tools you have. … For older kids you can go ahead and give them — middle-school and high-school kids — a sheet a paper and ask them to draw what they’re seeing inside, not just labeling it. It really works on using both sides of the brain and stimulating both hemispheres.
A Board Game To Pass The Time
Hershberger: A fun one is the oldest board game in the world, older than Monopoly. Ancient Egyptians played one called Senet. Senet is basically a 3 by 10 grid and the royalty would play this with two players. You can search the board online, you can search on the Field Museum site and see a replica you could check out. But today you can easily print one out online.
White: What are the rules of Senet?
Hershberger: Scientists think they know the rules. It’s basically hopping down squares, rolling a dice, and hoping down squares … However the original ones did not come with instructions or in original packaging, so your child can make up their own rules and see if they can figure out how the Egyptians actually played it.
White: What age range would you say that game is appropriate for?
Hershberger: As long as you can count to four and hop, so kindergarten and up. It’s a lot of fun. It does get strategic for older groups, so you can use some more logic skills to beat your parents and adults.
Guest: Andy Hershberger, School Learning Experiences Administrator at the Field Museum’s Learning Center
Learn More: Ancient Egyptian Games (The Field Museum)