Winter has hit hard here in Western New York and the kids are probably saying “We are bored” Here are just some general ideas to keep you and the kids from going stir crazy this winter.
1. Camp out inside
Susan G. and her kids, from Stratford, CT, set up tents and sleeping bags in the living room. They make hot dogs, popcorn and s’mores and watch a movie or listen to their favorite music. “Instead of going upstairs for bed, the kids just camp out. The next morning, it’s pancakes for breakfast served tentside!”
2. Serve up a living-room BBQ
Relive the warm and lazy days of summer by cooking up a batch of favorite summer foods usually done on the grill. Try burgers, potato salad, lemonade/iced tea and more. Enjoy everything together while dining on a blanket spread out on the floor.
3. Snuggle up
Daphne R., from Portland, OR, explains how her family will “take advantage of the cozy factor and snuggle up with lap robes…reading good books in front of the fire.” Take the opportunity to read a book out loud with the kids taking turns too!
Andrea has five children and tells us they gather together and take turns reading chapters from their favorite books. They also play board games and sing songs. “Winter is a wonderful time for togetherness. I love it!!” she says.
4. Puzzle Time
Kim T., from Topeka, KS, has her family of six (ages six to fourteen) do a puzzle together, usually 500 to 1,000 pieces. “We don’t try to do it all in one night. We leave it up for several days and work on it little by little. It’s amazing how into the puzzle the kids will become, even over watching TV.”
5. Game Day
Turn off the TV and video games and get together for an old-fashioned game night. Let the kids take turns picking a game for the whole family to play, or resurrect half-forgotten (or never-learned!) card or board games.
6. Try a no-repeats weekend
Make a game of trying something new every weekend, with no repeats! Eat new foods, learn something new as a family or go places you’ve never been before.
7. Try a game of sock volleyball
Betsy M. and her boys, from Westmoreland, OH, clear off the family-room floor and blow up a couple of balloons for “sock volleyball.” They mark off the court and, wearing only their socks or playing in bare feet, “play volleyball using our feet instead of our arms….It keeps us laughing hysterically.”
Feel the rhythm.
Put on some great music and dance, dance, dance. You’ll have a great time introducing the kids to your favorite moves, and they’ll be able to show you what they’re into now. You could even take the opportunity to learn some partner dancing (waltz or mambo, anyone?) together!
8. Family Time
Cheryl has “Family Time” once a month. “We all gather at my house to have a quick meal and then we play games like bingo.” She also gets inexpensive prizes from the dollar store to add to the fun! It doesn’t really matter what you do just that you do it as a family.
9. Relive old memories
Break out the photo albums! Chrissy V., from Greensboro, NC, plays family videos and she and her family “are all entertained for hours!” They especially love “the older videos of when the kids were really small. They can’t get enough of seeing themselves.”
10. Host a film festival
Introduce your kids to old movie greats. Or take turns choosing a genre (comedy, scary movies or adventure). You can extend the theme by cooking meals that fit the films. What could be more fun than eating spaghetti and meatballs as you watch Lady and the Tramp during your “Doggone Great Dog Movies” weekend?
11. Pamper and primp
Tamera finds that her two little girls, ages three and four, are easily bored when they’re stuck in the house. “We have a few things we do…but a fun one is Beauty Parlor Day! We style hair, paint nails, put on dress-up clothes, and have an indoor picnic on the floor.”
12. Let’s Get Cookin’
Jennifer E., from Oradell, NJ, bakes with her three children (ages ten, seven and two) whenever it’s cold or nasty outside. She gives each of them a job so everyone can help in his or her own way. “Cookies, cakes or brownies…we always have so much fun!”
13. Learn more about your family
Margaret Z., from Westland, MI, has “Scrapbook Weekends” in the winter months for grown-ups and kids. She says they learn a lot about their family history, especially from older family members, and the kids can tell stories using their latest vacation pictures. If you do this, consider videotaping it for a visual record of your family’s history.
14. Put on a play
Work together to make up a story, create costumes and design a set with things you have at hand. Then sit back on the sofa and get ready to applaud the entrances and exits that will be treasured memories for years to come. Videotape this too!
15. Craft it
Annie G., from Spencer, IA, taught her daughter how to crochet last year. “We now make afghans out of all the leftover yarn from other projects and donate them to the women’s shelter.”
Linda K., from Nyack, NY, says her family volunteers at a soup kitchen once a month and the kids serve meals. “It feels good to know you are helping someone who has no place to go and who really appreciates the hot meal on a cold day!”
Roseanne K., from Warminster, PA, sometimes gets her husband and kids to sort through their clothes and toys when the weather is bad. They then donate whatever they can to a local charity-run thrift shop.
Sometimes you’ve just gotta get outdoors—even when it’s cold. Here are a couple of fun ideas to help everyone focus on something besides the weather.
18. Make snow paintings
Brenda G., from Sheridan, IN, tells us her daughters are older now, but they used to play inventively outside on snow days. “I would save squeeze bottles and fill them with water colored with food coloring. We would take them outside and draw pictures on the snow.”
19. Go on a photo scavenger hunt
If it’s not too cold, hand out some disposable cameras, assign a topic and roam the neighborhood. For example, if the subject is lions, you may be surprised at the number of door knockers, statues or team mascots that fit the bill.
Hope you are staying warm and now you have some great ideas to bet those winter blues.