Activities for Home-bound Kids

As I’m writing this article, metro Atlanta is in the midst of a prolonged winter storm. Schools have been closed for three days and won’t reopen until next week. Parents are going stir crazy trying to keep the kids occupied. I thought I would go off the reservation and venture into dad blogger territory. Here’s a few activities to do with home-bound kids on cold winter days. If you augment these with a good map I think you can create a teachable moment or two.

Postcrossing

Want to break the kids of their addiction to technology? Postcrossing is an international postcard exchange program. Here’s how it works. First you create a profile on the postcrossing.com website. Next, enter a few details about yourself and where you live. Like most things in life, you’ve gotta give before you get. You’ll mail a postcard to a person overseas who’s address was provided by the website. It’s usually best to send a cool postcard from something local. Unfortunately I know of no postcards featuring Alpharetta (a topic for another article) but you can find many for Atlanta and even Roswell. Write a little note about yourself and send it off!

In about a week the recipient will get your card and register it online. That action will put your name in a queue to receive a card. In another week you’ll be surprised by an international postcard in your mailbox!

I like this activity for kids because they have to put pen to paper. Old school, huh? They’ll also meet someone from another part of the world. Perhaps they’ll gain a different perspective than what affluent Alpharetta offers. There’s a geography lesson there as well. You might  purchase a giant world map for the wall and stick push pins all over it.

Keep in mind that you’ll need a supply of postcards and stamps. It costs about a dollar to mail a postcard internationally.

Where’s George

It’s like postcrossing, except there’s no writing or stamps involved. Where’s George is a currency tracking project that’s been around for a long time. Again, you start by making a simple profile on the website. Next you register the bills you have in your pocket by entering their unique serial numbers. You spend the money as you normally would… then wait. If another Where’s George user enters your bill again, you’ll be notified and can track the bill’s geographic journey.

In practicality you should mark your Where’s George bills with a stamp like shown in this picture. The chance of an unmarked bill getting registered on the site is slim to none. I’d suggest obtaining one of these little ink stamps if you’re gonna give currency tracking a try. And again, I’d augment this exercise with maps to visually track the money.

Stay warm!

Photo Credit: Sandro Menzel

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