Beat Cabin Fever with Crafty Creativity

Written by Jennifer Baron

 Host a Holiday Craft Play Date

Kids of all ages love hands-on activities, and if it involves their friends and a bit of a mess … all the better. Local artist, owner of Kootie Bug Designs, and mother of three, Kristen Sloop confirms her craft room is the most used room in the house with benefits for everyone.

“It’s good for fine motor skills. I think it’s better than sitting in front of the TV or computer. And it’s a good way for me to get involved and do something hands-on with the kids,” said Sloop.

She suggests inviting a few of your child’s friends over for a holiday crafting play date. Together, you and your child can choose a craft and go supply shopping. Big-box craft stores certainly make it easier than ever to pick up prepackaged craft kits and a mind-boggling array of accessories, but don’t overlook what you already have at home.

“You can do it two ways,” explained Sloop. You can say, ‘Let’s make this specific craft,’ or just give them a bunch of stuff and let them go for it.”

Having taught children’s art classes, Sloop says oftentimes when you let them explore with glitter, glue and scissors they come up with something cuter than what we would have them make. In her house, the recycling bin is like a treasure chest.

Best of all, you don’t have to be a professional like Sloop to pull this off. Here are some of Kristen’s tips for a successful crafting play date:

• Keep it small. A good rule of thumb is to have as many children as your child’s age.
• Keep it age appropriate. Too many steps or materials can be overwhelming for young children. Conversely, more involved crafts can hold the attention of older kids (think jewelry making, tile making, tie dying).
• Make it colorful or seasonal.
• Plan for breaks.
• Don’t forget SNACK TIME!

If you are feeling really ambitious (and your crowd can handle it), you can couple the craft with an outing to a local museum or attraction that might tie it all together. Here’s the best part: If you have a group of moms and kids that see eye-to-eye on these things, you can have craft play date swaps! Reciprocation is a wonderful word and is enjoyed and appreciated by both parents and children.

If Mother Nature doesn’t provide a snow day, you can order one up yourself with Snow My Yard.

Go Snowflaky
Sometimes you just have to get out of the house. While we can usually (but not always) count on cold temperatures this time of year, snow can prove somewhat elusive in these parts. But that doesn’t mean you can’t go a little snowflaky. If Mother Nature doesn’t provide a snow day, you can order one up yourself with Snow My Yard. The president of Greater Raleigh Refrigeration and Ice, Brian Turner, began the snow making service several years ago to offset the winter slowdown in ice sales.

“We can take ice and make snow anytime and pretty much anywhere,” explained Turner. We’ve done it when it’s as hot as 105 degrees.”

In fact, the last several years, Snow My Yard has put snow down in the parking lot of the RBC Center with sledding ramps for the Carolina Hurricanes Summer Fun Fest. Rain is about the only element that can ruin a good snow day.

Turner’s ice delivery truck can pull up to your house and a special ice chipping machine is used to pulverize the ice into tiny bits, blowing tons of snow onto your yard and creating a winter wonderland perfect for sledding, snowman (or angel) making and snowball fights.
Oftentimes a group of neighbors will pitch in to create a snow day. One Holly Springs neighborhood used Snow My Yard to give its cul-de-sac’s New Year’s Eve party some extra oomph, and it was a huge hit.

“Usually the bigger kids have more fun, and by bigger kids I mean the adults,” chuckled Turner. It seems they just love the sight of it. It just brings back memories of them playing in the snow and they don’t have to get bundled up to play in it.”

You can test it out on Dec. 4 when Snow My Yard and the Town of Cary offer a day of sledding at Bond Park.

Cabin fever … begone!

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