Winter brings a lot of fun activities both at school and at home. The holidays are a time to see family and friends and spend some extra time together. However, being cooped up inside to avoid the chilly weather tends to make anyone stir crazy. If your child is high-energy, the winter may be even more difficult because they aren’t able to run that energy off outside.
Fortunately, some fun winter activities can help take the edge off the seasonal blues.
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1. Get Enough Light and Vitamin D
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) impacts people of all ages and is a form of winter depression. As many as 20 percent of people get a mild form of SAD in the winter, which can cause difficulty concentrating, irritability and too much sleeping.
Less light results in lower levels of the positive serotonin hormone. Light therapy sometimes helps, but you may also want to invest in some cognitive therapy for your child. While it isn’t a “fun” activity per se, it’s something that can help a child suffering from SAD get through the low-light months of winter.
2. Visit Indoor Fun Parks
Kids have more options today than ever before with a variety of indoor fun parks. Check your area for trampoline parks, obstacle courses and tumbling classes. Your child doesn’t have to be a professional gymnast to take a beginning tumbling class and benefit from the trampolines, ball pits and energetic routines of a class.
3. Go to a Nearby Playground
Most parks and schools keep their playground equipment free of snow and ice and are happy to let the local community use it. There are many benefits of going outside in the winter, such as getting some fresh air, taking in that sunshine (preventing SAD) and staying active.
Before sending your child out to the playground in winter, check the temperatures, and dress appropriately. If there’s any danger of frostbite, limit time outdoors until the danger passes. Your child should have a warm coat, thick socks, waterproof shoes, gloves and a hat. These items will protect them from the elements. If in doubt, play outside for a short time, take a warm-up break with hot cocoa, then return outside for more play. It’s better to play in short spurts than risk the cold.
4. Learn a New Skill
Winter is a great time to pick up a new skill. When the weather is horrible and you truly are stuck inside, go ahead and take your kids for a pottery class or learn basic leatherworking. Winter is the time to learn those artistic skills you normally don’t have time for.
Researchers found that people have different types of creativity, and these types are triggered when a person is hot versus cold. Abstract ideas activate when the person is cold. Use the weather to encourage your child to try things they typically wouldn’t.
5. Find a Winter Sport
Some sports naturally lend themselves to winter. Find a community skating rink that offers ice hockey. Take up ice skating. Drag out the old sled to take your kids sledding. If you live near a place that offers skiing, give it a try, or take up cross-country skiing.
If all else fails, bundle up, get outside and build a snowman, or help an elderly neighbor shovel their driveway.
6. Start a Club
If your children are bored, it’s likely that other children around you are bored too. Figure out something that everyone likes, and start a club so that the kids can get together once a week or so and enjoy each other’s company.
Some ideas for clubs are a book club, a Pokemon club or an arts and crafts club. Try to think of what your kids and their friends enjoy. Get other moms on board, and take turns hosting the club at different houses.
7. Go Camping — Inside
Want to build an amazing memory with your kids? Go camping in your living room. Set up a tent, pull out the sleeping bags and roast marshmallows in the fireplace. If you don’t have a fireplace, you can still make s’mores in your microwave and cook campfire popcorn on your stovetop.
If you want to go all out, hang twinkle lights above the tent to represent the stars, and turn off all the lights. Tell stories and use flashlights.
The key to amazing childhood memories are those little moments that all add up to a happy childhood. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on activities. The key is spending time together and enjoying each other’s company. Each child will find the activity they love, then you can support their interests. Make the most of the cold weather by finding the fun in simple things, and before you know it, spring will arrive with a whole slew of new activities.