When the weather turns from chilly to downright cold it can be really easy to fall into the trap of plopping your kids in front of a TV and just hibernating until after the first crocuses bloom. It is easy to do! We are all in danger of coming down with the winter blues, and that can rub off on our little ones if we don’t keep a fun and creative mind running with ideas for fun, and entertaining ways to occupy everyone during those frosty days. Don’t forget that when a child is bored, they are likely to drive you insane. Even more so than when they are hyperactive.
Below are some helpful tips that will be sure to give you some fantastic ideas for activities to do with your toddler:
- Let’s cook!: Being stuck in the house when it is frightfully cold outside is a great time to get a head start on teaching your kids some basic intro to cooking. Of course, be sure to keep everything age appropriate. A simple meal that our younger ones can do a great deal of work on is egg salad. Provide them with the hardboiled eggs, give them pointers on taking the egg shells off. For the most fun part you can let them go to town breaking up those eggs, and then stirring in the mayo! Another classic to teach a child the ways of the kitchen, is baking cookies. Sugar cookies, or chocolate chip are always a crowd pleaser! You can even make a fun trip to the grocery store specifically to get the items you need for the cookies. Call it an adventure and the kids will eat it up.
- Puzzle Time: A puzzle is a really great activity to do anytime you cannot get out. They teach your kids how to problem solve, sit still to focus on an activity, and when the project is complete they see a great picture for their reward. Completing the puzzle will also provide your young one with a big boost of confidence, and pride that they were able to complete a puzzle, either all on their own or as a family. Working on it as a family is some pretty awesome bonding time.
- Build Your Own Fort: It is an oldie but a goodie! You do not need to buy any of the stuff that you might see being sold. That is totally unnecessary, and lacks imagination. Half of the fun is figuring out what blanket works best, and what piece of furniture to throw it over. Once the fort is complete, there is a great deal of fun to be had sitting in their new space and playing with whatever they want. These little nooks to hide in completely transform the space for your toddler. Let them go to town with bringing a coloring book in there, dolls, cars, a book, etc. They could stay in there for hours.
- Snow Coloring: We can’t hibernate like bears through the whole winter, even if we feel like it. Sick of seeing that nasty old snow? Mix yourself up a bottle (or many bottles) of food coloring and water, throw that into a spray bottle, bundle up and head outdoors. You and the kids can create a nice scene, flowers in a landscape that has been covered in snow is always a nice touch, or go all Jackson Pollack on the mounds of snow. What matters is that you are outside, breathing in some fresh air and having a great time. Extra bonus of soaking in a little vitamin D from the sunshine, whether or not you see it!
- Living Room Picnic: Seemingly simplistic idea, however, kids of all ages get more excited than ever if you do something just slightly out of the norm. Make a surprise picnic, and have a meal on the floor in the living room. Be sure to pack lots of favorite foods. Special treats like cookies, and candy are always welcome. Prepare a basket and make sure to have many great snacks. There will be a lot of giggles and smiles.
- We’re going to the movies!: Right around the age of 3 can be a good time to test the waters with taking your little one to the movie theater for the first time. Find yourself a great kids movie that is playing. Maybe there is a local theater that plays slightly older movies at a discount. This is a big benefit if you are not sure if your child can sit through the entire thing. Movies are so expensive now that no one wants to gamble the $30 or more if you find that sitting in a theater is just not in the cards for your child right now. However, they might start to be getting old enough to sit through the whole thing and have this great “big kid” experience with their parents.
- Snowball fight: Duh. This needs no explanation, but it does need snow! In event of no snow, see the majority of the above!