Winter is upon us and it is cold outside. While it’s important to get fresh air, sometimes it might just be too cold (depending on where you live). With more time being spent cooped up in the house, it seems parents hear the “I’m bored” complaint more frequently in the winter months. I’ve compiled a list of things my kids and I like to do on cold days to keep busy and have fun.
1. Play Dress-Up—Do you still have your kid’s Halloween costumes? Why not let your kids wear their costumes for the day and play pretend around the house. We did this today and my kids had a blast! My son dressed up as Captain Hook and my daughter has a Tinkerbell costume that one of her cousins passed along to us. They chased each other around the house and the only sounds I heard were laughter. As a bonus, we got to use our Halloween costumes again. We actually painted some old wooden hooks and hung them in our playroom so the kids can play dress-up whenever they want.
2. Do an arts & crafts project—Kids love to cut, paste, paint and color. This is always a sure-fire way to make my kids happy. We could spend hours doing arts and crafts. I especially like the projects that incorporate items we might normally throw in the garbage or in the recycle bin. Kids Going Green has a list of crafts you can do with your children that incorporate these types of items.
3. Play outside—I know I said it’s hard to be outside when it’s really cold, but it doesn’t hurt to go outside for a little while as long as everyone is bundled up. Since it has been bitterly cold where we live, my kids are ready to come back in the house within 15 minutes, but at least they’re getting outside. It may sound odd, but I wish it would snow. It seems that the cold is more bearable when there is snow on the ground. Plus, there are so many fun activities to do in the snow—build a snowman, make snow angels, build snow tunnels (if you live someplace that gets LOTS of snow), go sledding, or if your town has an ice skating rink, you can go take advantage of that.
4. Visit the Library—Have you been to your local library lately? It’s not just books anymore. Most libraries have a children’s room with toys and a slew of activities to keep your little ones occupied. From mommy-and-me groups, craft classes and story time to showing movies, the library has certainly evolved. Many libraries now offer the option to borrow ebooks, DVDs, and other multimedia. In fact, according to a 2011 survey by the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA), “Even though only 61 percent of public libraries are offering downloadable media services, they serve 84 percent of the U.S. population served by public libraries.” Libraries in my area also allow members to borrow passes to visit area museums. Libraries are a great resource for families, and I find we visit ours much more in the colder months.
5. Cook together—I’m not sure what it is about the kitchen, but kids love to help out. It doesn’t matter what I’m cooking or baking, my son always wants to help. In the colder months, it’s always nice to make big meals and if you’re looking for something fun to do with your kids, why not involve them in preparing the meal. My son likes to help roll meatballs, stir any type of batter, crack eggs or any other job. I also found a great website with recipes for cooking with your kids, Moms Who Think. The website offers an alphabetical list of recipes, so you could make foods that coincide with what letter your child may be working on at school that week. Make sure you keep it green by using organic or locally grown and produced ingredients.
So, don’t let the winter weather get you down. Embrace it, when you can and when it’s just too cold, make the most of indoor activities that will keep everyone happy.