A big thank you to our guest blogger, Heidi Schertz!
You’ve made it through the holidays! WOO HOO! And now before us, stretches the long dark months of January and February. For me, these months are almost as hard as the dwindling nights of fall. It’s hard to stay motivated and sane when you feel so cooped up. The weather forecasters mentioned a mild winter and my fingers are crossed that they are accurate. Here are some fun activities to do with your munchkins when those temperatures dip too low to go out.
My first tip is SNACKS: I know. You’ve all been there. It’s 3 o’clock. Suddenly your child is psycho. Did you forget lunch today? Oops. You’re hungry. They’re hangry. Feed both of you. 9 times out of 10 when my kids go from 0 to why are you upside down from the ceiling it’s because their blood sugar dropped. Feed them and suddenly they are way better behaved.
Sound Kit: Grab a basket. Fill it with things that make “soft sounds” Old tupperwares without lids, toilet paper tubes, small plastic shakers/ tupperware filled with rice or beans, tin pie plates, wooden spoon to use as a drumstick
Baths: This one was a lifesaver for me. My child loved to just splash like a dervish. The water was soothing and it got me 20 minutes of quiet.
Dance: One of the routines we started during quarantine was how to throw a dance party. When I notice the grump factor is high I throw on my most ridiculous music and dance as embarrassingly as I can. I drag my kids into it. And you know what? After 15 minutes we are all laughing and are way more relaxed.
Winter Yoga: Print out these poses and have your kiddos do some yoga. These are super easy poses that they can do whenever they need some movement.
For the youngest bunch
Chase: This one works great for the crawlers. Roll a ball a little out in front of them and let them chase it down.
Make a fort: Changing the dynamics of your space can really be great for those times when your baby just won’t settle. Drape a lightweight blanket over a space so that the light entering the fort is more diffuse. Put a toy they haven’t seen in a day in the fort. Play some calming music.
Pots and Pans: there is a reason this is a standby. Put in earplugs if you have them. Or have baby tap along with your favorite song while you have yourself a dance party.
Ages 2 and up
Winter Glitter Sensory Bottle: Use some of those empty plastic jars you have around the house to make these awesome sensory “snow globes.” This one looks gorgeous, but you can use whatever glitter or winter items you have on hand. Definitely make sure the lid is glued on tight! If you have older children you can have them help you make these items for their younger siblings.
Glitter Paint Bag: Take a Ziploc bag, fill with 1 c finger paint, ½ bottle of glitter glue and a little water. Tape firmly shut. Tape to a window and let your little one draw on the bag with their hands. This is a great way to practice letter shapes and number shapes with older kids. If you have a light table- you can always do it horizontally
Snow Cup Game: With a plastic spoon, two solo cups, and some cotton balls you have a great fine motor activity. Your kiddo can spoon the balls back and forth as long as they have patience.
Spare Sock Snowman: This is just too cute! We all know that there’s an extra sock in your house somewhere. I can think of at least 3 lonely buddies in my home that could be adorable snowmen.
Ages 3 and Up
Winter Sparkle Playdough: I’ve tried a million playdough recipes, but this one looks like it smells amazing. I love that it doesn’t involve any cooking. Just stir and go. Because it’s made with hair conditioner, I’d recommend not for the babies in the family.
Cookie Cutter Printing: Bring out your cookie cutters and a tray of blue finger paint. Dip and press on a large roll of paper to make great winter art.
Winter Tree painting: Do you have some sticks, glue, cotton swab and white paint in your house? Make this cute winter tree painting. As a bonus it works your kids fine motor skills.
Ages 5 and Up
Muffins: I don’t know about you, but my kids love to make muffins. They want to stir, they want to crack the egg- so let them at it. Bonus: we get a snack out of the deal.
Popsicle stick catapult: Have your kids build a catapult. Give them a couple cotton balls and an old paper basket. Let them see how far away they can make it into the basket
Arts and Crafts: honestly this age is perfect for any craft project that you’re willing to undertake. Obviously your mess preference is totally your call. Lay down a giant old tablecloth and let them make something beautiful.
Erupting Snowballs: What kid doesn’t love a good fizz? This one is a great experiment and uses things you already have at home.
Board games: Find some that your kids love and play them like you haven’t played them ever. Especially if you’re a game fiend it can be hard to play candy land millions of times, but its training on rules and procedures and is great practice for when you want your kiddo to play the games you like. Also- a lot of more grown up games can be adapted to allow the younger kids to play.
Make a color squirt bottle for snow painting: OK I admit- this one isn’t strictly indoor. But it’s too good. Mix some food coloring and water in a squirt bottle and let them outside to color and paint.
What are your tips?
Do you have a strategy for the upcoming months? How are you going to beat the stir craziness that’s coming? Lastly, I want to really encourage you to enjoy this winter! We are so lucky to have some snow on the ground already which makes the cold weather so much more bearable.