Winter is here! All of a sudden the season of snow and low temps seems to have stricken us in the midwest. As a result, families are staying inside more with “snow days” and just plain “too-cold-to-go-outside” days, and that can cause parents, caregivers, and kids to get, well, a little stir-crazy.
This Trepid Tech Mom is here to share a few super simple things to do when temps dip to dangerous levels — besides dive into smartphones and other devices. The best part is, you probably have everything you need!
Fun and simple things to do inside when it’s too cold to go outside
1. BUILD A FORT
Test out your fort-building skills. It’s a simple thing to do with the kids and creates some fun memories. Oh, and it’s FREE. If you embrace the gloriousness of online shopping, you probably have a few cardboard boxes laying around. And if you don’t, you likely have a couple of chairs and big comforters that could serve as a strong framework for a blanket fort. I promise no matter what your skills, kids will be beyond impressed. About a month ago, we turned our furry family member’s dog food delivery box into “Woody and Buzz’s Hideout” and later remodeled it to be Buzz Lightyear’s “Space Ranger” spaceship. We hung some extra Christmas lights and handed the kids colors to decorate (don’t forget to cut out a few windows and have a '“guest book wall” for visitors to sign). The whole thing, from beginning to end, provided HOURS of fun over several weeks. TIP: Have plenty of duct tape!
2. ENJOY A NEW OR FAVORITE MOVIE
Put on a good movie and pile onto the couch. It brings everyone together, encourages snuggles, and, if done after dinner, allows kids to stay up past their bedtime (a little). It also gives parents and caregivers a bit of a breather. Our household holds weekly “Family Movie Nights” where we watch a new or favorite film, but we are not against a bonus movie day if that’s what the weather calls for. Common Sense Media even encourages families to have a movie night as part of their 5 Media Resolutions Every Family Should Make in 2019.
3. EMBRACE THE FREE ONLINE PRINTABLE
Click. Print. Enjoy. Repeat. FREE printables are everywhere you look online! For example, kids can have fun and build a snowman indoors with this fun color-cut-paste worksheet. For more winter worksheets and printables like this check out Education.com. They have things like snowy math worksheets, wintertime writing prompts, snowflake crafts, and other educational activities to keep young minds engaged and inspire creativity.
4. HAVE A DANCE PARTY
Get the “wiggles” out with a good old fashioned dance party in the family room! Just make sure to clear plenty of space for those spins, twirls and tap dances. From our “dance floor” we can often be seen and heard jumping around to everything from our favorite tracks from the Frozen or Toy Story soundtracks to singing along to Thomas and Friends (“They're two they're four they're six and eight, Shunting trucks and hauling freight …”) as well as toddler-inspired steaming playlists. Whatever your music choice, just keep moving!
5. HEAD TO THE KITCHEN
Whip up something warm! Whether it’s a mug of hot chocolate or a batch of cookies, it provides an all-hands-on-deck activity as well as a snack. Now, I’ll be honest, cooking is not necessarily my thing. Sometimes my efforts are delicious. Other times they are a disaster. Either way, the process of cooking something up is all part of the experience, so it’s not entirely a waste. At least that is what I tell myself. Need some inspiration? Do a quick search online for things like “simple recipes for kids.” Sites like Food Network share recipes kids can make. Bon appetite!
6. LET THE KIDS PLAY
Try stepping away for a minute — but stay close enough to make sure your child is safe. Kids have this remarkable knack to play when devices and TVs are turned off. And, as it turns out, play is essential for healthy brain development (one of 5 Proven Benefits Of Play).
Be SMART for Kids
Happy “snow day” and be sure to stay safe and warm out there.
Before I wrap things up, I want to address kids, guns, and safety quickly as well — a reminder to keep kids safe from dangerously cold temperatures outside and also dangers that may lurk inside. Nearly 4.6 million American children live in homes with guns that are not stored responsibly. Don’t let your child be one of them. Be SMART for Kids and remember to secure guns in homes and vehicles to prevent shootings by children. Pass it on — and stay warm!