Winter break started off with our much anticipated tour of Hammond’s Candies. We pulled up to a glittery parking lot and giant lollipops on the outside of the building. Upon walking in we were greeted by a friendly lady who handed us our tour stickers and hats and instructed us to wait for our group to be called. We had about a 15 minute wait, and thankfully the girls were intrigued by the antique candy-making machines on display and the general hustle and bustle of a very busy candy factory.
We watched a video on the history of Hammond’s Candies that was a good level for my 6 yr old, and then we got to see how candy was made. We watched a gentleman kneading the candy cane mixture and learned that Hammond’s Candies makes 10 million candy canes a year. We also learned that those workers were working in a 92 degree kitchen (even in the summer there is no a/c) and have to have 2 years of training before they are allowed to become candy makers.
Next up was the packaging section of the factory. We got to see candy canes being packaged and their famous caramel marshmallows being made. The marshmallows take 2 days to complete. We were visiting on a weekend, and the packaging section of the factory was not as busy as they are during the weekdays. If you can, visit during the week for fewer crowds and more action.
After the factory, we headed to the candy store. The candy store alone is worth the trip to Hammond’s. There were so many beautiful candy canes and lollipops, jelly beans, marshmallows, chocolates, cotton candy, and lots of souvenirs. We had a wonderful time and it was definitely worth the trip.
And … that summed up all that was exciting about winter break for our little family. The following day we were hit with what we’re now referring to as “The Plague of 2014.” Over the course of 3 weeks we experienced strep throat, the flu, bronchitis, pneumonia, ear infections and just a run of the mill viral infection. I know we’re not the only ones experiencing this rough winter of illness, so I present to you:
30 Things to do to Keep Kids Busy When You (Or They) are Sick
- READ – Check out this list of favorite children’s books.
- Play-Doh – Sure it’s kind of messy, but you can buy yourself some quiet time.
- Bath Time – Special mid-day baths are always fun for kids. Bath paints or shaving cream will make that bath last extra long.
- Drawing with Shaving cream – spray some shaving cream on a cookie sheet and let your kiddo go to town.
- Braiding/Weaving/Lacing/Beading – a good quiet activity for the older kiddos.
- Matching games
- Talent Show – Ask your kiddos to put on a talent show for you. They can dance, sing, or tell a story and you can be the adoring audience – from the couch.
- Hand Clap Games – Re-visit 4th grade and bust out your best hand claps.
- Drawing/Coloring – The dollar store is great for coloring books you can stash for sick days.
- Building blocks/legos – See if they can build you their very best house, boat, car, tower…
- Tic Tac Toe – A quiet game you can play in bed or from the couch
- Build a Fort – Let them read in it, snack in it, and watch movies from it.
- Bubbles – Fill a cup up with a small amount of water and soap and have them blow through a straw.
- Painting – Paint paper, rocks, or wood. Little ones can even be strapped into their high chair with some paper and edible finger paints.
- Write Letters – Send Grandma some love.
- Create a Story – Have them make their own story book. They come up with the story and provide the illustrations.
- Kinetic Sand – If you haven’t already fallen into this craze, give it a try. My kiddos play quietly for an hour with this stuff and it’s super easy to clean up.
- Board Games – Can’t go wrong with a little Hi Ho Cherry-O!
- Yoga – There are a ton of really fun kids yoga videos on Comcast, Netflix, and youtube.
- Red Light, Green Light!
- Freeze Dance – Mom’s in charge of the music and pauses it when she wants you to FREEZE!
- Play Doctor – Let your little one “fix” you up Doc McStuffins style
- Sensory Beads – We’ve recently discovered these and they’re amazing! For a little over $8 on Amazon we’ve had countless hours of fun. One bag makes several quarts of beads and they are re-usable if you lay them out to dry. While they’re non-toxic, I don’t recommend this activity for kiddos that still put everything into their mouths.
- Boxes – Let them decorate them and turn them into whatever their little heart’s desire.
- Magazine Scavenger Hunt – Create a list of pictures and/or words and have the kiddos search for them and cut them out of their magazines. Examples: A baby, a chocolate dessert recipe, running shoes, a perfume sample…
- Have a Tea Party – (Maybe don’t share cups)
- I-Spy – I spy with my little eyes something black… the back of my eyelids.
- Marshmallow Building – use toothpicks and marshmallows to build houses, sky scrapers, or a playground.
- Puppet Shows
- Flashlight show – Turn off the lights, get cozy, and let the little ones be in charge of the flashlight.