When the weather outside is frightening, what can a parent do indoors to entertain young children throughout the winter season? If you've been asking yourself this question, this is the perfect article for you because we have the answers!
Living in the Midwest, we're always visited by four very different and often unpredictable changing seasons. As parents, grandparents, caregiver's, etc., being flexible and able to quickly come up with fun indoor activities is important when it's unpleasant and bitter cold outside.
Depending on where you live and the length and severity of a particular season in your area, this determines the amount of creativity it takes to avoid your children from getting cabin fever. Avoiding boredom during the winter can often be quite tricky when playing outside isn't an option, so it helps planning ahead a bit for extended periods of cold weather. Through trial, error and being an official Midwesterner, I've compiled a list of great boredom busters you can enjoy with your child. These fun activities will not only end the need of heavily relying on TV or other electronics but also prevent having to shell out tons of money.
1. Create a Cozy Reading Nook Together
There's nothing like a comfy little nook to share some special reading time with your child. This activity is great because it's two activities in one—creating the nook and reading in it. You can make your nook as fancy or as simple as you want.
For a quick and simple nook, here's what you need:
A bunch of pillows
A blanket or two
A nice quiet spot (preferably in a corner)
A flashlight if need be
Some great books
Whatever else you need to make it super cozy
2. Put on a Talent or Fashion Show
Let your child show off some of their great talents from dancing to singing or even magic! My son loves putting on talent shows for his audience and eventually requested a stage. At first, I was little stumped, but then figured out a great easy way. I simply outlined a rectangular stage on the floor with painters tape. Worked like a charm and my son was happy! Putting on talent shows was a childhood favorite of mine, so I'm very experienced in this department. I loved turning off the lights and adding a flashlight into the mix as a spotlight! Designate an audience member to hold the flashlight beam on the performer as they move around the stage.
You can use all the above ideas to create a fashion show too! Sometimes we raid Daddy's closet for outfits and sometimes we use our superhero outfits. Depending on how crafty you are, you can even create your own fashion such as jewelry, hats, scarves, etc. The possibilities are endless!
Tip: Instead of creating just a rectangular painters tape stage, add a runway strip as well!
3. Write a Book and Read it in Your Cozy Nook
Write a funny story with your child. I let my son come up with the story line and help him where needed. Since he's three and not able to write yet, I do the writing using card stock (for durability). Once we have our story written out, then we add bright beautiful pictures to go with it. Once we've completed our book, we place our sheets into clear page protectors, add them to a thin binder and voilà—you have a nice and neat book! You now also have a great keepsake!
Tip: I like using the binders that have the clear plastic cover that allows you to slip a sheet of paper in to create a cover.
4. Create a Fun Board Game
You can create a board game pretty much out of anything such as paper or cardboard. One of my favorite ways to create a board game is by re-purposing a board game. We often end up with board games with missing pieces (remember my three-year-old son I mentioned earlier?) So instead of throwing out these unusable games, we just turn them into new usable games.
Using sheets of paper you can draw or print whatever kind of game you can imagine. To adhere your sheets of paper to the game board, I've found using Modge Podge works best. Cover the board with a thin layer of Modge Podge, lay your sheets down, smooth them out and then add another thin layer of over the sheets.
If your house is anything like mine, some board games are missing the real player pieces. To solve this problem, use action figures, Shopkins or any other kind of toys you have lying around the house. If you want to get creative you can mold them out of clay or Play-Doh!
5. Teach Your Child to Crochet or Knit
This boredom buster isn't for everyone, especially if you don't know how to crochet or knit. However, if you do, why not teach your child how to? Crocheting and knitting are great ways to relax and are very therapeutic!
For this activity, being a professional photographer isn't necessary to teach your child how to take a photo. Just using the camera and seeing the photos they create is excitement in itself. Show and explain how to take a photo and then let them try. Once they have it down, let them practice by taking pictures of toys, stuffed animals, the family pet, etc. Practice makes perfect!
You can take this activity a step farther by editing your child's photos with a simple and free online photo editor called PicMonkey. PicMonkey easily allows you to correct the coloring of your photos and anything else you might want to fix. You can also add filters, frames, text, stickers, collages, and a ton of other awesome photo elements.
7. Star in Your Own Cooking TV show
Cook or bake an easy recipe with your child and as your cooking or baking describe in detail what ingredients and methods you're using. It's also fun to video record your show so you can sit down afterward to watch your magnificent creation.
Tip: If you're afraid of a potential mess, just use play food!
8. Bring the Snow Indoors
While playing in the snow outdoors is tons of fun, if it's too cold out to enjoy this outdoor activity—bring some snow indoors. My son is often content with a big bowl of snow. He pretends to cook, makes snowballs, snowmen, and anything else his little mind thinks up!
Tip: Replace real food with snow to create your cooking show!
9. Indoor Snowball Fight
I know, I know, before you start calling me crazy, just know that I am so not suggesting the use of real snow (come on now lol!).
Many places sell pretend snowball kits that consist basically of extra-large white pom-poms, but between you and me—be prepared to spend a small fortune. Instead of paying a ridiculous amount for one of those simple pre-made snowball kits, I ended up buying my own extra-large white pom-poms from the craft store, which was so much cheaper.
Of course, after I got home from the craft store, I remembered that pom-poms can me made from yarn (a day late, a dollar short!) So make sure to raid your craft stash for white yarn! D.I.Y. yarn pom-poms are super easy to make. If you've never made them, check out this simple but thorough D.I.Y. pom-pom tutorial by the Making Nice in the Midwest blog.
Once you have all your pom-poms, just throw them in a small box, bucket or basket and you're ready for a non-messy good ole' fashion snowball fight!
Tip: This is also great for those who live in areas that never get snow!
So there you have it, nine super fun and creative ways to ward off your child's boredom from reading nooks to fashion shows! You'll be so busy with all these fun indoor act ivies, before you know it, the weather will be warm again! Then you'll have to figure out activities for spring time fun, so make sure to check back here our list of awesome spring activities!
What creative ways do you and your child beat the frigid winter weather? Let us know how you beat cabin fever by leaving us a comment below. We always love hearing from you and you never know—we just might add your great idea to our post!
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