The good news for all of us is winter doesn’t last forever (yes, you can come in off the ledge now, unless you’re planning to cannonball into the snow). Even though your kids have you driven mad, it’s not too late to turn that angst into something that’s fun and productive for the whole family. We’re talking about indoor family activities: bonding and fun that feel natural and effortless, and help build fond memories of a dreary winter.
Here are just a few great ideas.
• Got a Wii or XBox? Get the family together for “Family Olympics.” Whether it’s Just Dance for Kids, boxing or bowling, this activity is for the whole family and burns off the winter doldrums.
• Get out the board games and have some fun. Some of our family favorites are Sorry, Beat the Parents and Head Bandz.
• If you can’t beat the weather, join it! Pull on your snow pants and boots and have a good old-fashioned snowball fight or build a snowman your own backyard.
• Don’t underestimate the power of a good puppet show. It may sound a bit old fashioned but kids love this activity. Make your own puppet theatre by having the kids design and decorate an old sheet or by using a big box. If you don’t have any puppets, stuffed animals work great or make homemade puppets using socks. Have the kids work together to come up with a story idea and have them perform the show for you, neighbors or grandparents.
• Have a ton of photos and collected souvenirs or artwork lying around? Buy a few photo albums or scrapbooks and work with your kids to put together their own keepsakes. They can use art supplies to decorate the pages, bling and stickers. It gives the kids a fun project to work on and accomplishes something most busy parents don’t get time to work on.
• Who doesn’t love a good family talent show? Have each family member work on their talent, whether it’s a magic act, dance number or some killer lip-synching, and put on a show for each other, friends, or neighbors.
• Stuck in the house for too many days to count? It’s time to break out of the ordinary routine and make the most of your indoor family activities and fun. Have a slumber party in the living room with sleeping bags and flashlights, have breakfast for dinner, organize a family movie marathon with popcorn and movie treats, work with the kids to rearrange their bedrooms for a change, or if you’re brave, let the kids be the parents for a day!
• Meet the family in the kitchen and cook or bake up a storm! Have the kids help in finding recipes and creating a menu plan. They could even pick a couple of items to bake that could be frozen and used to put in their lunch boxes. Get the kids involved in washing and peeling veggies, give the little ones wooden spoons and have them help dump in measured ingredients. This is a great time to help your older children learn to stir foods on the stovetop, crack eggs, and figure out which measuring spoon and cup to use. A dinner cooked by the whole family will taste better to everyone.
Jennifer Chung is a parenting expert and co-founder of Kinsights: Part parenting community, part online health record. Kinsights provides parents with a safe place to seek answers to their questions while also helping them track their child’s health information. Organize your child’s growth and developmental milestones, immunizations, medications, allergies, and more. Connect with Kinsights on their website to learn more and sign-up! You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter.