This is a guest post from writer and blogger, Jennifer Landis at Mindfulness Mama.
Winter has so many exciting built-in moments for your kids. On the other hand, the downtime can be tough. Cold weather keeps you indoors, which means you have to rely on your arsenal of games and activities to entertain your little ones. If you're running low on ideas, don't worry — we've got ten new ones for you to add to the rotation:
1. Tape an Obstacle Course
Grab a roll of painter's tape or another variety that won't stick to your floor. Then, create as many obstacles as you want on your floors. You can go classic and outline a hopscotch board, for example. Or, you can create zigzags and curves on which your little ones have to walk without stepping off the line. Either way, it's a fun, active game for them to play inside.
2. Bake (As Simply As Possible)
Lots of parents will be wary of the suggestion to bake with their children. However, plenty of kid-friendly recipes exist that will be simple for you to mix, roll and bake together. For instance, you can whip a mixture of bananas, rolled oats and chocolate chips for a quick, three-ingredient cookie. It might require some clean-up, of course, but it's a great way to fill an afternoon.
3. Build a Box Fort
Especially around the holidays, you'll have plenty of empty boxes lying around the house. Let the kids use their imaginations to build a fort out of boxes. Or, they can transform one extra-large box into a house, spaceship, car... whatever it is they envision the box to be. You'll be surprised at how creative they can be.
4. Download an Educational Game
In a pinch, you can reach for your tablet or fire up the computer and let your child play an educational game. Better yet, choose one that allows your children to collaborate, play together and build social skills. If they're going to be playing with electronics, at least they'll build valuable skills to help them in school and at home.
5. Go Bowling (At Home)
You don't have to pay for a lane to go bowling. Gather up toilet paper and paper towel rolls — empty or full — and line them up like pins. Your kids probably have a ball that you can use to knock them down and, with that, you have an in-home alley.
6. Set Up a Sensory Table
Sensory activities engage your children's five senses, but they do more than just improve their sense of touch, taste, sight, sound or smell. By improving these sensations, you can help your kiddo to strengthen their brain pathways, which helps them learn more complex subjects down the line. So, set up a quick sensory table by squirting shaving cream into cookie sheets. Kids love playing in the foam — make it even more engaging by adding some food coloring into the mix.
7. Bead Some Necklaces
Little ones can always practice their fine motor skills. Stringing beads onto a necklace helps them finesse this area. Of course, they might not have the precision to put small beads onto an even thinner string. You can make the task relatively easier by grabbing some shoelaces and having them string beads or even dry pasta onto the strands.
8. Dig Into Cloud Dough
Even without playdough lying around, you can still encourage your kids to build and create with a similar material. Whip up a batch of cloud dough for them to play with instead. All you need is cornflour and vegetable oil — you can add a bit of glitter if you want, too. In the end, you have a buildable material that your kids will probably beg to play with on their next snow day.
9. Tape and Throw
Hold onto the aforementioned roll of painter's tape — you can use it for this game, too. Place tape sticky side-out across a doorway. Then, let your kids throw balls of newspaper, tissue paper or even cotton balls at the strings. They'll love to see if they can aim properly and get things to stick. Plus, they'll hone their gross motor skills along the way.
10. Dance It Out
Finally, if you're in a pinch, grab your phone or tablet and cue up a kid-friendly album. Then, blast the music and start a dance party with your little ones. Better yet, make it into a contest. You can judge each other and see who comes up with the best dance. Or, you can play freeze dance and choose a winner at the end of the competition. Either way, you don't have to do much to get your brood on their feet. They'll get some exercise in, even if they're stuck indoors for the day.
Get the Party Started
Okay, so it's not quite a party when you're stuck indoors during the winter. However, these 10 activities will make it a little bit easier to enjoy days spent inside with your little ones. You'll find it doesn't take much to keep them entertained, either — just a bit of planning on your end can go a very long way when the weather disagrees with you. So, prepare today for tomorrow's snowstorm to save all of you from wintertime boredom — you'll be so glad you did.