This winter has been rough, and that’s saying something coming from a girl from ‘up north’ i.e. land of the cold. Despite growing up and repeatedly asking myself, “Why do I live where my face hurts?!” I recently escaped to the warmth of Arizona, on a plane full of snowbirds. Yah betcha, they had the same idea! I was desperate fellow moms. Like, going crazy desperate with two young kids BORED of the cold and surplus energy that wasn’t being expended.
I was even gifted a small trampoline, and set it up in my garage with space heaters. Picture two kids in winter coats, mittens, hats and slippers bouncing. Every 5 minutes I made them warm up inside, because it was still negative something ridiculous outside.
Well moms, this post comes from my desperation and I’m gifting you the BEST fun and creative indoor activities for your kids to help beat those winter blues.
1. Use simple items/furniture in your house and re-purpose them for something fun!
Too cold to even venture out? No judgment here, on snow days or below zero days there is nothing that is going to get me outside to warm up my frozen car and/or shovel a way out of my driveway just to entertain bored kids. First, it’s OKAY to be bored. Studies recently have even shown is allows kids to tap into their creativity and has huge development benefits. So the key is to embrace the boredom and let it see where it takes you and your kids.
Encourage their imagination!!
- Turn your house into a pirate ship (couch) sailing the open water (carpet) full of sharks (pillows on the ground).
- Imagine you are stranded on a raft (kitchen table – say what?! – remember it’s one day and some rules bent will be the BEST DAY EVER) and the ground is lava, how can you problem solve to get to safety?
- Sacrifice a roll of painters tape and let them create a track for their cars, around hurdles in the kitchen, up a wall, over a chair, or around the sleeping dog.
- Use that same tape and let them design hop-scotch games on your floor. My kids loved this and it was crazy easy to peel up at the end of the day.
- Move the furniture. It really is that simple and you would be surprised how much fun they have with a “new” space. Let them use the couch cushions and all the spare blankets for the ultimate fort. Even older kids will enjoy this. When I move the furniture we have a special pop-up tent that gets to come out and it adds to the whole experience – living room camping!
2. Keep the creative juices flowing and do a craft or a science experiment.
- Last winter I set up a water table in the kitchen. Using a tarp and a few towels over it, kids were in suits (which they found exciting just on its own) and we explored with various kitchen utensils and cups. Depending on age, use it to explore volume, make sugar water rainbows, or explore what things sink/float.
- Someone’s birthday coming up? Have the kids make home-made birthday cards and get creative with turning handprints or thumbprints into other designs. My husband was impressed when he got a Yoda the Best Dad (handprint transformed into Yoda) card from a bored cold day craft.
- Haven’t disposed of your Christmas tree yet? Move it outside and decorate it for the birds. Pop popcorn and string it around the tree and turn pinecones into peanut butter bird seed ornaments. It may just be a new tradition to show your kids you can always find a way to repurpose something.
3. Have them do some fun brainstorming and planning.
- Does your family take vacations? This is the time of year I dream of vacationing. This is a great way to kick the winter blues with older kids. Tell them everyone gets to come up with a place to vacation. You set the parameters (local, within state, anywhere US, international). They have the day to research and decide and then they must create a presentation. Maybe they are tech savvy and can blow you away with a PowerPoint or maybe they can print photos and glue them to a spare cardboard box you were about to recycle. Encourage older kids to explore the financial side (estimated flight cost, ideal travel method, cost of hotels). Have a presentation and let the voting begin!
4. Explore Marshalltown!
There are several places in town that cater to kicking the boredom that can ensue from winter cold.
- Tot Town (not open when school is cancelled)
- Let’s Play Bounce
- YMCA (offers day passes)
- Messy Missy’s routinely offers painting classes
- Plunk the little kids in a stroller and walk the Marshalltown Mall
- Catch a matinee at Fridley Theatres on bargain Tuesdays for $5 (purchase a drink and get free popcorn)
- Go to the library (play days every Tuesday and storytime every Wednesday)
- Check out Grimes Farm Story Hour the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of every month from 10:00-11:00 AM. Read our post from 2016 about our enjoyable experience there!
5. Sometimes all your kids want is to be able to do something new.
So, when all else fails change things up and do something different you normally wouldn’t do. Be creative and try to say yes more than no. Who knows, you might even have some fun yourself!
- Let them help you bake a fun dessert for after dinner.
- Indulge in a in-home spa day or treat and have some quality mother-daughter time and go get a pedicure.
- Go to the library and check out movies.
- Trade toys between a few friends for a weekend so kids get something “new”.
- Turn up the music really loud and have a dance party (my almost 2yr old currently loves to put on her tutu and dance to bluegrass music).