During the holiday season, the kids are cheerful and excited. You may have time off from work and the days are packed with planning, cooking, baking, decorating, and more. After the holidays though, things can start to slow down and the days can seem longer. Winter days at home with young kids especially can feel bleak and dreary. However, the cold weather can be perfect for some fun activities. Here are some fun winter ideas for you to do with your family, both indoors and out!
Host a Coloring Party
Turn on some relaxing music, break out the crayons or colored pencils, and call everyone to the table for a coloring party! If you have construction paper or coloring books, you can give each person a piece of paper, or print Otter’s free coloring pages and distribute! Encourage the kids to be creative and use lots of color, and then hang the pictures in the house where everyone can see them.
Bake as a Family
This one can be a bit... messy... with younger kids, but we promise the mess is worth it! Look through some recipe books at home or online and decide as a family what treat everyone would like to try. Cookies, cupcakes, muffins, bread, pie.... the possibilities are endless! Make sure everyone is wearing an apron or their “messy clothes” and start mixing! It may take twice as long to bake with kids, but the smiles at the end will be worth it (they’re extra cute with flour on their faces)!
Set up a Fort
If the kids (and you) are bored and the weather is lousy, it’s a great opportunity to set up a fort indoors! Use a large blanket, sheets, a table, chairs, or whatever you have on hand to construct a safe fort for everyone to sit in. If you can, construct the fort in a place where everyone can see the TV, pop some popcorn, and put on a fun family movie for everyone to watch from inside!
Start a Spontaneous Dance Party
If you’re normally busy and distracted throughout the day, being spontaneous and fun can be a great way to bond with the kids! Call everyone into a big room, turn on some music and get everyone’s wiggles out! Kids especially love dance music and seeing you dance is sure to turn a normally dreary day into a day filled with giggles and hugs. Older kids can take part too by being in charge of the playlist for the rest of the family!
After dinner, pull out some of the games you haven’t played in awhile! Decide which would work best for your family in your current season (taking ages into account), then shut off your phone and spend an hour playing games and bonding with your family.
Make a Craft
If you’re crafty and happen to love Pinterest, this one is perfect for you! Do some research and find an activity that you have supplies for. Set everything up and call the kids in to work together. Be sure to proudly display everyone’s masterpieces after!
Go to the Library
Encouraging a love of reading in kids can be as simple as packing everyone in the car and taking a trip to the local library. If you have younger kids, a story hour at the library can be a great way to introduce reading. The library will often have fun activities (i.e. crafts you don’t need to clean up at home) as well to keep them busy and engaged! You can pick a theme for everyone to find books for to learn together - anything from a new country to favorite animals!
Sledding is fun for kids of all ages! If you have a toddler, sledding with them sitting (safely) on your lap can be great fun. Preschool-aged kids may start to be able to slide down a small hill on their own, and school-aged children likely are brave enough to go down solo. Prepare for lots of giggles and laughs as everyone goes rushing down the hill!
Create a Masterpiece
If you get a fresh blanket of snow and it happens to be sticky snow, this is a great opportunity to build something wonderful together! Whether it’s a snowman, a snow fort, or something else, there are so many options! Adding food coloring to a spray bottle with water can create the final touches and change the color of your creation. Finish off your day with a trip inside for some hot cocoa!
Take a Family Walk
When in doubt, a family walk can always improve your day. Get everyone bundled up and go for a walk around the neighborhood or in the woods. The fresh air and exercise can do wonders for everyone’s moods! Something as simple as walking your usual route backwards or heading in a new direction can make it extra fun!
Go on a Winter Scavenger Hunt
If you feel up for an adventure, get everyone in warm clothes, grab a clipboard, and go on a scavenger hunt outside! There are many printable scavenger hunts online or if you’re feeling creative, you can make up your own. Items like pine cones, leaves, ice, bark, and more can encourage a wonderful family adventure and help everyone get moving in the fresh air. Even when it’s not dark, it feels extra magical to bring a flashlight or lantern, binoculars, and/or a magnifying glass!
Go Ice Skating
If there is an ice skating rink nearby, this is another fun adventure, especially with school aged or older kids! Even if you don’t have skates, there are arenas that will rent them out at affordable prices. Some arenas even have walkers for kids who are learning how to skate!
Make Snow Angels
Finally - what could be better after a fresh snow than making snow angels together? Make sure you have everyone bundled up, and go make a bunch of snow angels! Bonus if you take photos to capture the memory!
The winter months can seem long, but spending time with those you love most is an investment - in both you and your family!