For much of the country, Winter is still having a heyday. Are you going crazy yet? This time of year is always a struggle for me as I wait for bluer skies and weather that just begs for outside play. While it is so important to still get kids outside in the winter, some days just call for inside fun. Here’s 5 easy ideas to spark some end-of-winter creativity and beat cabin fever.
- Mix it up. Instead of just pulling out the blocks or babies again, have fun showing kids how to mix things up a bit. You could line all the characters around a room, shortest to tallest, and make a parade. Try making a carnival game by putting Mr. Potato Head or stuffed animals up on a bench or plastic tote and knocking them off from a distance with a soft ball. Or use all the Legos, Lincoln logs, train tracks, blocks, and Barbie house pieces to create a village out of the whole room.
- Move it! Just because you’re inside doesn’t mean kids have to be sedentary. We love to make indoor hopscotch games with masking tape on the floor or hallway. Another favorite is indoor volleyball. Just tape some crepe paper or ribbon across a room or door frame and try to get a balloon over the other side. Obstacle courses also work for kids who need to get the wiggles out. Time your little ones as they jump through a hula hoop, run around a pillow, push the shopping cart to the wall, bounce a ball three times, and come back and give you a kiss. Make it harder for older kids and don’t forget to compete yourself!
- Music. Host a kitchen pots and pans rock band, let kids dance with twirling ribbons, film a music video lip-sync, or play name-that tune. If you play an instrument, get it out and let your kids listen and then try it. They can also play along with shakers or spoons. There’s nothing in our house that changes the mood from gray to hooray quicker than music. Whether you have any musical talent or not, don’t forget to use the tunes to beat the blahs.
- Read. Instead of just having a story at bedtime, turn a snowy afternoon into a book fest. Fill a room full of pillows, blankets, and stuffed animals, and settle in with a bunch of picture books or a new chapter book. Older kids may also like to listen to books on CD or electronically. There’s nothing like a good snuggle with good books while the wind howls outside.
- Harness your inner Mad Scientist. Your kitchen is full of interesting science projects just right for inside play. Let kids experiment with vinegar and baking soda, or colored water and oil. Show them how to freeze water, and then make it disappear on the stove as steam. Cut up small pieces of foods and have your kids guess what it is by smelling or tasting while they’re blindfolded. Or just give them cups of inexpensive ingredients and let them explore on their own. You’ll be keeping them busy, and developing a great sense of curiosity.
Every day can be a great day, even if the weather isn’t cooperating. Make a list of favorite inside activities and keep it somewhere accessible. When you wake up to a cold and nasty day, you may just find yourself looking forward to a wonderful day of inside play!