The holidays may have come and gone, but Jack Frost will be sticking around for a while! When the first signs of cabin fever start to appear, try some of these tips and tricks to keep your little ones occupied and fend off the winter blues:
- Get Moving! We strive to venture outside every day, even if the weather outside is frightful! While bundling up little ones for a short stroll or romp around the backyard might feel like a waste of time, there is an ever-growing list of benefits of time outdoors for kids (and adults, too!) According to the Child Mind Institute, kids who play outside are smarter, happier, more attentive and less anxious than those who spend more time indoors. But when the chill starts to sting the toes and bite the nose, yet there’s lots of energy still to spare, work together to plan, design and scamper through an indoor obstacle course. It can be big and elaborate with rearranging of furniture and sprawling through several rooms, or simple and contained with some masking tape trails on the floor. Crawl, roll, walk backward, hop, take giant steps or integrate riddles or “quiz” questions to help keep those math facts and spelling words fresh on the brain over the break! Endless possibilities.
- Get Messy! Stick with me, here. Messy sounds like a lot of work on the grownup’s end, and it certainly can be, but it can also be contained and easy. There’s a whole spectrum of “messy” to fit every personality. For little ones, transferring ice cubes from one bowl to another, perhaps filled with warm water, with a slotted spoon is incredibly beneficial. Make dry “snow” by simply dumping some baking soda or Epsom salt in a tray or shallow storage bin and add toy figures, spoons, scoops and small bowls. Not afraid of messy play? Add some water or hair conditioner to baking soda for a batch of snow dough!
- Get Cozy! We love a good family movie. Double down on movie night by picking out a novel that has been adapted for the big screen and curl up with your family for a read aloud. Even my preschoolers are quick to request our current novel during lunch, bathtime and before bed. Make it a celebration when you finish the book with special treats and snacks, then snuggle in to watch and discuss the movie. Here’s a great list to browse with titles for tots through teens.
- Get Crafty! Never underestimate the power of a few art supplies. A simple set-up of crisp white paper, a watercolor palette with a glass of water and a good brush can be inviting. Take it up a couple notches by cutting coffee filter snowflakes, then painting with washable watercolors. Or try drizzling a design on paper or cardstock with white school glue, then sprinkle with a little table salt. Use watercolors to add paint to the salt lines when dry and watch the paint “move.” If art supplies aren’t your jam, design and build sculptures with mini marshmallows and toothpicks. Find your creative flow!
Lauren Herrell is a native Okie and UCO grad with a B.A. in child development. She is passionate about childhood, art and nature. She resides in Oklahoma City with her husband and two young daughters. As a homeschooling mama, Lauren is always trying to find ways to integrate more art and play into her family’s days. Follow their adventures on social media @scissortales.play, and tag her if these hacks helped add a bit of fun to your winter break!