During the winter months, parenting can get a lot more challenging. You are stuck inside more often, and it gets dark early. Here is a list of activities you can use to entertain your children during long, bitterly cold days.
1. Mini trampolines. I have two mini trampolines for my boys to bounce on in the basement when they need to get out some energy. Buy the small, round exercise trampolines instead of the ones marketed to kids (exercise trampolines are significantly less expensive).
2. Painter’s tape. Painter’s tape can instantly create a whole new world right on your living room carpet! Your kids can create race tracks, mazes, parking lots, hopscotch, rivers, or anything your kids can imagine.
3. Pool ball pit. Most of us have a kiddie pool lying around that we use every now and then over the summer. Here is your chance to get more use out of it! Bring it inside and fill it up with ball pit balls. If you don’t have ball pit balls, fill up the kiddie pool with normal balls or toys!
4. Toilet paper. Hear me out… toilet paper can be a fun, inexpensive, novel activity for your kids. My boys like to make race car tracks and booby traps out of toilet paper. Hand each kid a roll and let them go to town! Clarify that they only get to TP the house when you give them the green light.
5. Cardboard boxes. My family does a lot of online shopping, which means we have a lot of cardboard boxes stockpiled in the basement. Once in a while, I let my boys do whatever they’d like with the boxes. They can color them, cut them, tape them, etc. You don’t need a plan for the boxes - let your kids use their imagination.
6. Balloons. I have a collection of balloons that me and the kids get out from time to time when we need a different activity to distract us. We have a collection of normal balloons, long balloons (that you can make balloon animals out of), and rocket balloons (inflate them, and then let them go so the balloons fly around the room).
7. Old toys. I don’t have enough living space in my house to have all of the kids’ toys out all of the time, so I keep a lot of their toys in storage in the attic. It is extra exciting to bring a box of toys down that the boys haven’t seen in a while, and it usually keeps them occupied for a while.
8. Bubbles. Bubbles are not just an outdoor activity in my house. My boys are six and three, and they still get the giggles when they blow and pop bubbles. (I have even turned on the bubble machine in the house when I am desperate for some entertainment.)
9. Baths. My kids love to lounge in the bathtub. If we need to kill an hour or two, I let the kids use watercolor paints in the tub and then use some of daddy’s shaving cream on the walls. It is amazing to see how long they will ‘swim’ in the tub if I am not rushing to get them out of the tub and dressed. Also, look for non-traditional bath toys around the house that can tolerate water: rubber animals, small cars, Legos… Get creative. Your kids will love it!
10. Tents. I have somehow gathered a hefty collection of pop-up tents for kids. There are different character tents and different tunnels. I like to get them out from time to time and set up a whole maze of tents and tunnels for the boys to play in.
Shari is the co-author of Parenting While Working from Home: A Monthly Guide to Help Parents Balance Their Careers, Connect with Their Kids, and Establish Their Inner Strength. She is also the co-owner of adorethemparenting.com, which strives to share actionable tips, heartfelt insight, and planning strategies to help you enjoy your parenting journey!
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