Once January hits, the fun of the holidays is over and the long, chilly days of winter set in. Often times, it’s too cold or windy to play outside so kids get bored easily. And when they’re bored, they act up!
Keep your kids active and having fun in spite of the cold with these fun 15 activities!
1. Go on a winter hike. Whether it’s snowing, raining, or just chillier than usual, things change in the wintertime. Dress for the weather and go out on a winter hike with your child. Point out differences in trees, temperature, and animal behavior as you walk along. Talk with your child about how these things look in other seasons, and find out which season they like best.
2. Have an indoor beach day. Crank up the heat and put on your swimsuit...it’s time for the beach! Lay beach towels on the living room floor and pack a picnic lunch to eat while you’re basking in the “sun”. Read some fun beach stories like Chloe’s Great Barrier Reef Adventure by Kali Blunt (available now for FREE by entering your email address on nomelome.com) and talk about what your child would like to do at the beach. Then let your child splash in a few inches of water in the bathtub, pretending that it’s the ocean. Best of all--there’s no chance of getting sunburn!
3. Make a batch of hot spiced cider. Use a slow cooker to brew some tasty hot apple cider to enjoy on a cold day. Pour 2 quarts of apple cider into the slow cooker. Have your child press whole cloves into an orange, then place the orange and six cinnamon sticks in the slow cooker. Set it to cook on low for 4 hours, then enjoy the cinnamony taste of spiced cider over a good book.
4. Bring the snow inside. If there’s snow outside but it’s too cold to play there, bring some snow in! Fill a plastic dishpan or storage box with snow and set it inside on a folded towel. After putting gloves on your child, give them measuring cups, wooden spoons, and other containers to use in the snow. Perhaps they can even build the world’s tiniest snowman!
5. Build a blanket fort. Nothing is cozier than blankets in the wintertime! Help your child build a blanket fort the way you used to when you were a kid. Line the floor of the fort with pillows or a sleeping bag to make an extra-cozy place to read, nap, or just giggle!
6. Make a bird feeder. Just like Sveta in Sveta Makes a Birdfeeder by Uliana Zharnikova (available on the NoMeLoMe digital library), your child can make a birdfeeder to help birds find food in winter. For an easy craft, tie a piece of yarn or string to the top of pinecone. Make sure there is enough length so you’ll be able to hand it from a tree branch. Then, ask your child to use a spoon to spread peanut butter on the pinecone. Once it’s covered, roll it in raw sunflower seeds. Finally, head outside with your child and hang your new birdfeeder from a tree branch. The birds will love their new treat!
7. Host an informal toy swap. Once new Christmas toys have lost their allure, host a toy swap for your child’s playmates. Each child brings toys that they don’t like or that have grown tired of. Each child swaps a toy for a toy--so a child who brought two toys will choose two new-to-them toys to take home.
8. Make a “photo booth” with props and take pictures. You don’t have to wait for a party to use a photo booth. Make your own! Gather an assortment of costume accessories and props: hats, scarves, sunglasses, pots and pans, paintbrushes, stuffed animals, and anything else you can think of. Then take turns dressing up and “introducing” yourself to each other before taking a picture with your phone. Not only is it fun, it develops your child’s creativity!
9. Set up an indoor obstacle course. Your children will work their wiggles out when they have fun running an obstacle course. Use masking tape to create shapes on the floor so your child can jump from one to the next. Set up three kitchen chairs in a row for your child to crawl under. Lay a long strip of toilet paper on the ground for your child to walk along, arms out for balance. Use your imagination to plan fun activities to get your little ones up and moving!
10. Make butter...the old fashioned way. You may not have an old-fashioned butter churn at your disposal, but you can still make butter from cream. Pour a cup of heavy cream into a plastic jar with a tight-fitting lid. Hand it to your child to shake...and shake...and shake until a ball forms. Drain the liquid and rinse the butter ball in cold water (you may need to knead it a bit to get all the liquid out). Then, toast some bread and enjoy your homemade butter!
11. Do a science experiment. Discover how temperature affects melting. If snow is available, measure the same amount of snow into two bowls. If snow is not available, choose two ice cubes that are about the same size, and put one in each bowl. Choose two places in your home that are different temperatures, and place one bowl in each area. Some ideas include an unheated garage or enclosed porch, a basement, a bedroom, or the kitchen. Set a timer in increments of 30 minutes. Every half hour, check the two bowls and have your child draw what the snow or ice looks like. What conclusions can they draw about how temperature affects melting?
12. Have a family sleepover. Haul out the sleeping bags, pillows, and cuddly toys and set them up in the living room for a “sleepover”, family-style. Enjoy a snack as you watch a favorite movie together or even home movies. Read stories until it’s past bedtime, then snooze on the floor in your sleeping bags. What a great way to spend a winter night!
13. Make edible play dough. If your little sculptor has a tendency to put clay in their mouth, try this recipe for play dough that is safe to ingest: Mix together 3 cups powdered sugar, ¼ cup corn syrup, ½ cup margarine (melted), a splash of vanilla, and a sprinkle of salt until well-mixed and all one color. Then add 5 drops of food coloring and knead until the color is worked through. Don’t make this in advance as it will harden. (Recipe courtesy of The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology)
14. Create a silly story. Looking to enhance your child’s creative side? Step in with this silly story idea for plenty of fun! Start a story with only one sentence, such as “Once there was a little girl named Natalie.” Then ask your child to supply the next sentence. Alternate adding sentences until you’ve created a story...or are laughing too much to continue!
15. Plan a vegetable garden. Look forward to spring by planning a vegetable garden. Ask your child to name some vegetables they’d like to grow, then take a look online to see what the plants look like and whether the vegetable is the roots, leaves, or stalk of the plant...or something else! Then, have your child draw their ideal garden. Put the finished drawing up as a reminder that spring is right around the corner!