Outdoors isnít the only fun place around here. There are many exciting ways to spend your time inside, too. Consequently we spend many hours in fun activities here in the house. Whether it is because dark has fallen or it is raining or any other of a number of reasons there is always plenty of opportunity for pleasurable activities. These activities vary from dolls to photo albums and from Stratego to trains. Here are some of them.
I have always enjoyed stuffed toys, in fact I still have quite a few. Though we (Caleb, Ammi, and I) donít play with them as much as we used to, still once in a while we get a bunch out and make a zoo or more often just animate a couple of them. I have some interesting memories concerning these animals. I have names for all of them, even some very creative ones such as Frisky the fox, Arctic the seal, Attention the bear (because heís stiff giving the appearance of always being at attention), Guess the rabbit and Geranium the giraffe.
I have a doll, her name is Esther. Often when I have the time she is the mistress of a house. I have some of my other dolls be her children. One of my other dolls is Faithful. Most often I have set up house by one of our dressers. I enjoy playing dolls very much.
It would be easier to send you the videos I like, rather than trying to tell it all to you. It would be so much better that way since I don't know what to say.
We love to read books whether as a family, individually, or to the younger children. A lot of our individual reading when we are older, 12 or so and up, is pre-reading to make sure that the content is acceptable before being added to our libraries. Then they may be read as a family or small groups. When reading as a family we often bake, process produce, build a puzzle, or do handwork. When reading to the younger children we must often stop and explain something or bring something to their remembrance so that they understand more fully. When reading individually we often move very rapidly through a book. Other than reading for enjoyment, we read for educational purposes. This is when speed reading comes in handy; one can quickly go through a book picking up the needed information. Reading books is one of the things we do just for the fun of it.
Building map puzzles has helped me with geography as I have to identify and place each piece. Most of our puzzles are of animals, buildings, and places. I like to make big puzzles and to conquer new ones that Mom picks up for us. I find that after I have completed a certain puzzle once the second time is always easier. I would write more but.... Puzzles are just too puzzling to write about.
We all loved to color pictures when we were younger. Mom kept us supplied with pictures from some Bible verse coloring books. Choices of colors were unusual at first but gradually became more natural. Often the finished pictures are sent to Grandparents or friends. The little children often ask us older ones to draw them a picture, it is hardest when they have a specific topic in mind because they think you can easily draw anything but in reality some things are difficult to draw. It took me a lot of practice to be able to draw a house from an angle that looked real. Animals and people are so much harder that I tend to stay away from them even now as being too hard to draw.
Looking at photo albums is a favorite family event. We have about 15 albums documenting our history. Starting at Jeremiahís birth they proceed up to almost the present (digital cameras have altered our approach these past few years). Many evenings have been spent together recalling Godís numerous blessings and mercies to our family over the past 25 years. Dad and Mom will usually sit together on the couch which we pull away from the wall, then all of us children gather round, squeezing in as best we can, and join in the story telling. I have always loved looking at our photo albums,
Family night and holidays sometimes find us gathered around the Kitchen table playing games. At other odd intervals we entertain little ones with a game, or team up to play something educational. Whatever the time, we prefer games that teach something: strategy, quick thinking, problem solving, learning new concepts, eye-hand coordination, and logic, something to stimulate us. Besides learning, we get time together, which is important especially during busy school or garden seasons when we donít stop to do much together. A few minutes here or there make the little oneís day and relieve the push of a heavy schedule for a little while.
Some of our favorite board games
Some of our favorite card games
Like many other people, we started with Duploís, and moved on to Legos. These were treasured possessions, some of the sets bought with hard labor. We eventually moved on to Technics. I can remember many years anticipating Christmas or my birthday, looking forward to the additions to my technics set. (We always tried for very practical toys). Dad and Mom invested in a couple of the educational packages. These had specific projects teaching about levers, pulleys, pneumatics, gears etcÖ We build many devices, from catapults and rubber-band race cars to a basic transmission, and even a pneumatic walking machine. The basic principles I learned while working with them have proven useful in many mechanical projects.
Playmobils have been a fairly recent addition to our toys. Although it would have been around ten years ago that we first began getting them, most of us older children were already out of the cycle so it is still classified "recent". Their specialty lies more in the area of personal interaction and simple layout whereas Legos and Technics (which are the main thing we played with before) are more in the construction and mechanical areas. The Playmobils definitely seem to be better for younger ages who are less skilled at building their own items. It did not take us long to find that Lincoln logs were just the perfect size for building houses and sheds for out Playmobil people. The most common thing to see in Playmobil land is small individual farms but now and again someone will have a craftsman of some sort. The most interesting of which is the blacksmith who can make almost anything from little bits of wire and tin foil. We really enjoy improvising and do so with most of our toys.
We have a set of toy trains that are special to us because they were Dadís when he was a boy. Getting them out and setting them up for a few days has become a holiday tradition for us. We have four manual switches that we use in the track layout so that five of us can play with it at the same time. Sometimes enough planning goes into the layout that we can swap the direction the train goes around the track by just how we set the switches. Other times we must back the train half way round the track just to get turned around. We all have many good memories from playing with trains.
As we grow older, we children become more self-conscious and don't participate much in make-believe. But at younger ages we have all play acted at one thing or another. Once when we had slate stones we got chalk from Mom and played school. The boys often lead us in military endeavors of some sort with stick guns and any camouflage we could find. A frequent make-believe subject was family with the oldest boy and girl being the Dad and Mom and the rest being the children. One that Caleb invented and really enjoys is going hunting. We have had buffalo show up at our house after some of his excursions! (Make-believe ones of course!) We're not good actors so we have never done much but every once in a while the little children do some play-acting.
Over the years the most consistent thing that we have collected have been stamps because they donít cost us anything and we donít have to go anywhere to get them because they are sent to us free of charge on a regular, though unreliable basis. Our favorite ones are the ones commemorating major historic events.
We have also collected sea shells and sea glass. The main types of shells in our area are the Atlantic Slipper, Blue Mussel and Clam. Every once in awhile we also find Razors and Angels Wings and some sort of a very small spiraled shell. It seems however that we tend to have more interest in polished sea glass as I have noticed those collections are much larger.
Many of our collections have been passed on from older to younger ones of us as we have grown out of them. This has allowed them to grow to much larger sizes and more complete sets.
We love to bake cookies. On baking night the kitchen is crowded with 3-5 batches going at once. The more adventurous ones of us might try a new recipe if we find one that sounds interesting. The rest of us just stick to the old recipes, this gives us a delightful combination of old varieties and new. When they start coming out of the oven we regularly enjoy some hot. We love baking.
We never seemed to have quite enough people or interest to pursue this. I can only remember doing it a couple of times. From what I do remember it was OK, but not one of my fonder memories. Now PictionaryÖ (whoops Ė wrong article)
The indoors hold a multitude of differing activities, and variety helps keep them all a special treat. Some things we do only once every other year while others are enjoyed on a daily basis. We all appreciate a break from work every now and then.
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