Cold winter days bring fun indoor activities |

Cold winter days bring fun indoor activities

Cold winter days are upon the Sierra Nevada and that means fewer choices for children’s outdoor play.

But parents don’t need to buy special materials or spend lots of money to keep their children entertained and learning indoors because all the things a child needs are already at home, said Lisa Monroe, educational coordinator for the KidZone Museum in Truckee.

“If you’ve got scissors, paper and glue, you’ve got an art project,” Monroe said. “It’s not about the product, it’s about the process. Give them some flour and water and an egg, and let them mix it. Let them crack a whole dozen eggs.”

For some parents, those ideas might sound a little frightening ” someone might spill flour or drop an egg. But Monroe said adults just need to roll with it.

“I know a lot of parents don’t like the mess, but you kind of have to get over it,” she said. “Make it a friendly area so that if gets messy you don’t go crazy. Do it in the garage, or put down newspaper on the kitchen floor.”

Keeping physically active, stimulated and off the couch is vital to the young child’s development, and it’s for just that reason that the KidZone Museum opened in July of 2002, said Melissa Mangus, senior museum coordinator at the KidZone.

At the KidZone, a nonprofit organization in Truckee, children ages 0 to 7 can play with their parents and one another in a number arts, science and cultural activities that include dressing up, playing house, building Lincoln Log cabins and creating arts and crafts.

The point of those activities, said Mangus, is to encourage hands-on learning using the imagination. And while the KidZone can be a fun resource for those activities, playing at home can be just as enriching.

“Let [children] use their imaginations and play. Get out some art work and get involved ” you can’t just put it out there and go away and not be a part of it,” Mangus said. “Relax, play, laugh and talk, we need to give our children that opportunity.”

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