The air is getting cooler, the days are getting shorter, and it’s dark outside by 5 p.m. If you are prone to the winter blues, as I am, this is the time of year when we really begin to feel it. I miss the warm, summer air and playing outside until dinnertime. My kids miss it, too. The reality is, my family and I live in the Midwest, and we have at least three more months of winter weather. Possibly more. I can’t curl up under the cozy covers all weekend long because I have three young kids, but I have learned a few things that keep us happy and entertained even through the dark days of winter.
Hot Chocolate And A Movie
My bigger kids, at four and six, are finally old enough to enjoy this activity. We love sitting in front of the fireplace while watching a good movie on Disney+, and they enjoy the whipped cream on their hot chocolate more than the hot chocolate itself.
Play Outside To Appreciate The Indoors
Winter days feel long, and cabin fever is real. Sometimes the best way to cure the winter blues is to get some fresh air, no matter how cold it is outside. Our family enjoys bundling up and playing in the backyard, visiting a nearby playground, or taking a walk around the block. When we come back inside, we appreciate the warmth even more and we all feel a little bit better after getting a dose of vitamin D.
Homemade Play Dough
I have memories of making this with my mom when I was little, and I’ve carried on the tradition with my own kids. If my kids are in an arts-and-crafts rut, pulling out the play dough ingredients always make them happy. This easy homemade play dough recipe doesn’t take too long to make, and it lasts for months when sealed in a Ziploc bag.
Have A Dance Party
On cold winter days, my kids love to turn on music and play freeze dance. I open Spotify on my phone, and the kids have to freeze anytime I pause the music. Dancing together as a family is silly and fun, and the perfect way to burn some energy. When we want a little more structure, we turn to Jack Hartmann, Go Noodle or Cosmic Kids Yoga on YouTube.
Bake A Sweet Treat
I might not be a mom who loves to get on the floor and play with toys, but I will bake with my kids any time. When my oldest was a toddler, my husband and I asked for a learning tower for the kitchen, and five years later it’s still going strong. My kids love climbing into it to help me measure ingredients, pour things in, and of course, eat the batter. If baking isn’t your thing, cooking as a family, or even washing dishes together (my kids really do love helping with this chore) can be fun.
Cozy Up With A Good Book
Depending on the age of your child, reading together as family, or even separately in the same room, can be one of the most peaceful ways to spend a cold, winter day. We now have a reader in our household, and our kids love to play “library,” which is really our oldest reading books to our younger kids. In the meantime, my husband and I can relax on the couch and even get a chance to read our own books if our toddler is entertained long enough. When our kids were younger, we would lay stacks of books on the floor and let them go through them while we read something aloud. A librarian once told me that just because your child isn’t looking at the book, doesn’t mean they’re not listening!