Dr. Seuss' beloved Cat in the Hat was a master at doing all sorts of activities and questionable tricks indoors to entertain the kids on a miserable winter day when it was "too cold to play." You don't have to go to those extremes, but you can banish your kids' winter blues with crafts, games or acting out imaginary scenarios. Set up a puzzle on the dining room table and work together to complete it. Drape a couple sheets over a card table and some chairs to make a tent for indoor camping, or have a sleepover and let your youngsters stay up late to watch family movies together. From cooking to crafts, the possibilities are endless to keep the kids happy on a cold day indoors.
Gather up card or board games the kids haven't played in awhile and have a family game night, or let them invite a few friends over for an afternoon of games. If basic board games are too staid for your youngsters, throw in a game like Twister that lets them get physically involved and silly at the same time. Set up mini-competitions to keep things interesting -- offer token prizes for the winners -- such as best two out of three in a checkers games or highest score in rummy.
Vacation at Home
Put your kids' imaginations to work and help them create a beach getaway indoors. Spread out beach towels or blankets on the floor, play island music or beach songs, and make some hot dogs and lemonade. Let kids put on their bathing suits and sun glasses, and maybe even a bit of sunscreen to evoke the smells and feelings of summer. Change a tall floor lamp into "the sun" by covering the lampshade with yellow cellophane or replacing the regular light bulb with a yellow one. Play with beach balls and hula hoops and make seashell-themed crafts to top off your beach vacation.
Lift your kids' winter blues by doing crafts or decorating activities. Create a touch of spring by making brightly colored flowers, butterflies and caterpillars from craft foam and pipe cleaners. Give each child a plain terra cotta pot and some paints to make a one-of-a-kind planter for their foam and pipe cleaner flowers. Use the time to add new decor touches to the kids' rooms: Give each a plain wooden picture frame to decorate with markers, paints, stickers or by gluing on faux gems, shells or buttons. Help them put a favorite drawing or picture in their frames and hang their masterpieces.
Turn the kitchen into a mock classroom and teach the kids how to make cookies or a favorite dinner recipe. Help them pick out which recipe to try and gather the necessary ingredients. Let the older kids do the measuring and pouring while the younger children have fun -- and get a little messy -- doing the mixing. Make several different dishes, if time -- and your patience -- permits. When the food is cooking, let the kids make miniature menus, listing the items they've prepared, and put them by each family member's place at the dinner table. Enjoy the results of their efforts at a satisfying family lunch or dinner.
- National Wildlife Federation: Fun Winter Outdoor Activities for Families -- To Beat Cabin Fever
- Parenthood.com: Activities to Beat the Winter Blues
- Kaboose: Top Ten Winter Family Activities
- WAHM.com: 7 Fun Kids Activities to Beat the Winter Break Blues
- SheKnows Parenting: 4 Ways For Your Family to Beat the Winter Blues
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