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Turn Winter Chaos Into Family Fun!

Life is challenging enough during a pandemic. Adding minus-degree temperatures and snow to the mix could be a recipe for disaster... unless you plan ahead for winter boredom. This article is designed to help you do just that!

While each child in your family is different, you know your children best. I suggest you start with an overall family plan, and make sure to include individual picks for each child. Get the entire group involved in the process; it can also be a fun activity to pass the time and stir up latent creativity. So, grab a notebook or use your note-taking app, and let’s get started!

Prepare some snacks or hot cocoa and invite the family to the kitchen table for a brainstorming session. Start by asking your kids some open-ended questions like: “What is your favorite winter memory?” or, “What is something you love to do when it’s cold outside?” While a cherished memory for the kids might be a holiday ski trip or a beach vacation, you maybe cannot do that exact same thing this year, but you can take some elements of that cherished memory and recreate it at home. For instance, if skiing was the kids’ answers to something they love to do when it’s cold, turn the heat down in the house (yes, you read that right), bundle up in warm clothes, and use balled-up socks to engage in a mock snowball fight indoors. Use some of those shipping boxes we all have around the house from months of online shopping to build two base camps, choose teams, and then let the sock balls fly!

What about the beach vacay as the kids’ favorite winter memory? Crank up the heat, whip up some tropical pineapple-mango-coconut smoothies, have everyone dress in their favorite beach attire, and watch a fun summer movie - maybe something classic your kids might not have seen yet as this keeps it fresh. You could try watching Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown, where the Peanuts gang go to summer camp. Or maybe go with one of my most-beloved films: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (I could watch this movie a hundred times and still find something new to love about it). Being cooped up indoors will bring out the inner Ferris Bueller (read: the rebel) in all of us.

But what if my children are so bored they can’t think of anything to add? You ask. All parents know how the complaint goes: “I’m boooooored. Give me something to do.” We are probably far too well acquainted with this sentiment since, oh, about mid-March 2020. Am I right? And you might feel like you have exhausted your entire repertoire of fun activities to do, but I encourage you to dig a little deeper. You can do it. I believe in you!

Here is a list of possible options and/or brainstorming talking points of fun winter indoor activities:

  • Challenge the family to a Nerf war. (Always fun! I’m known as the sniper in my house.)

  • Read or reread all the Harry Potter books. Those who can read take turns narrating the book (to make this last the entire winter, after you have read each novel, sit down and watch the movie together before moving on to the next in the series).  Before you know it, the birds will be chirping, and little blades of grass will be peeking out of the ground after a long winter slumber.
  • Search for family-friendly YouTube cooking videos and let each family member choose one meal to cook together. Each family dinner can be a new adventure! Try theme nights like Mexican, Thai, or even something new like ‘Meatless Mondays’ where you can veganize some of your family’s favorite foods like burgers, pizza, and mac ’n cheese.

The list is endless if everyone puts on their thinking caps - even brainstorming indoor winter activities becomes a fun activity. And there is no shame in using Google to see what other parents have done to avoid the chaos and insanity of a long winter spent indoors. Trust me, you’ve got this. You can turn winter chaos into family fun.

Lisa is a Calgary-based freelance writer, editor, and writing coach. Find out more on her website, lisadawnmartinez.comFacebook, and Twitter. 

 

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