Winter has set in and everyone is going a little stir-crazy. Up here in New England, we’re usually buried under a ton of snow. But even if your yard is bare, winter still brings colder temperatures that keep everyone inside more than we’d like! What do you do when you’re going a little crazy yourself, and the kids have been cooped up so long that they have positively lost it? You need a way to break up the monotony… fast!
Living Room Camp-Out
It may be freezing outside, but the kids can still go camping! Grab the sleeping bags and flashlights and get ready to set up camp. If you’ve got a small tent that will fit in your living room, so much the better! If not, you can always grab a couple of chairs and a bedsheet and use those blanket fort building skills from your childhood. Naturally, if you are camping, then you have to have s’mores. The microwave or toaster oven works well for making s’mores without the campfire.
It may be an unoriginal idea, but it seems like we always get back into the movie night habit in the winter. Try introducing your kids to some of the old classics that you watched growing up. It was great fun introducing my kids to the original Herbie movies! Whatever you decide to watch, do something fun that’s out of the ordinary. Make popcorn and toss in a handful of M&Ms for a great movie treat. Maybe hand out glowstick bracelets. My kids love piling onto Mom and Dad’s bed and watching a movie on the tiny TV in our room!
Listen to Something New
There are so many great audiobooks and radio dramas to choose from! Adventures in Oddessy is a favorite with my kids, and there are some wonderful audio recordings of Chronicles of Narnia that everyone can enjoy. Of course, you can purchase digital downloads and CDs, or borrow them from the local library. If you are interested in listening to classics, then do be sure to check out librivox.org. They have classic books read by volunteers that are free to listen to and download. (Bonus: Listening to something while doing chores is actually fun!)
Skip the casserole for dinner and make pancakes or omelets instead. Or, really surprise the kids and have make-your-own-sundaes for lunch! (Just once won’t ruin anyone’s diet, honest.) Pull out your cookbooks or browse a few cooking websites for a new recipe to try. If your kids are old enough to do some cooking on their own, let each of them take a turn trying out a new recipe for dinner.
Pull out the board games, card games, or even wii bowling! Kids love playing games, and it’s an activity that can be tailored to fit any age group. Did the kids get games for Christmas that are still wrapped in plastic? Time to break them out and enjoy them. And, if a winter storm happens to knock out your power for a few hours, it’s the perfect excuse to play a game that doesn’t require batteries.
Research Your Family
Family genealogy can be a fascinating project. It could be as simple as jotting down some of the stories from your own childhood, or the kids “interviewing” their grandparents about what life was like “in the old days”. If you really want to dig into genealogy, there are some great websites and resources that will help. You may discover some famous, or infamous, relatives that you never knew about! Do be sure to record or write down the stories and other things you learn though. Your children and grandchildren will treasure it!
As a Last Resort…
Dive into your closet (or other hiding place) and unearth that project. You know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s the box that you really hope the kids forget about. You just know that once it’s opened, there’s no going back. There is going to be glitter, glue, playdoh, or some other terrible substance everywhere… Here’s the secret: Tell the kids that they can do the project, but they have to clean everything up when they are done. Yeah, you’ll still be finding glitter in every corner for a few months, but desperate times call for desperate measures.
It may not seem like it now, but spring really is just around the corner. For now, take advantage of being stuck inside and make some great memories with your kids!