“Can I watch a video, Mommy?”
That’s like a temptation-in-the-wilderness question for me. Saying “yes” is ridiculously easy, and guarantees me at least 30 to 60 minutes of household peace and quiet to do whatever I need to do without interruption. But I can’t shake off the feeling that it’s the second-best option, and where possible, I try to have standby alternatives for the kids.
So when the question came yesterday, I had to fight off the urge to say “yes” (a nap would have been so delicious…), and instead activated one of the simplest and most low-cost activities – building castles and fortresses with the household bedding and bedlinen. I remember doing this myself when I was a kid, and if you give the kids lots of raw materials to work with, they’ll enjoy it too.
Here are some suggestions:
1. Do this on or just before a bedlinen laundry day. That way you won’t get stressed if the kids trample and sweat all over the sheets.
2. Buy and set aside clothes pegs (both big and small) just for this activity. Otherwise, don’t be surprised if your normal laundry pegs mysteriously disappear over time. The ones on the left are about $2 a pack from NTUC Fairprice, and have rounded edges which make them safer for kids.
3. Besides just sheets and blankets, let the kids use pillows, bolsters, cushions and even mattresses if they can manage them. You’ll be amazed at the ideas they’ll come up with. (Athos absolutely insisted on having a drawbridge….)
4. Make sure the children are old enough for this activity – some possible risks are suffocation under a pile of blankets, or clipping sheets to unstable furniture (e.g. lamps) that might topple over. If you aren’t sure, be on hand to supervise.
Here is Porthos peeking out of the castle we built yesterday, out of four mattresses and three blankets. Whee!