Winter is the worst, amiright? I’ve always been more of a warm-weather kind of gal. The only time I like the cold is when I’m on the mountains skiing — which is to say, rarely. I’d rather be sweating than freezing; there isn’t even a question. I especially hate the chill now that I’ve got young kiddos at home. That outdoor time spent burning energy is now time spent going stir crazy indoors. There is only so much coloring, puzzling and reading we can do before we get antsy and we’re itching to get moving doing something else. Here are a few ideas I like for ways to pass the time when the weather isn’t cooperating with hours of outdoor fun.
6 Winter Activities for Young Kids
1. Build a Rube Goldberg machine. Our good friends at General Mills sent me several boxes of cereal, a big container of Mega Bloks and some supplies — along with rough instructions for building a Rube Goldberg machine. Don’t know what that is? Check out this fun video in which a mom built one to do the simple task of pouring a box of cereal.
Can’t see the video? Click here to watch the Rube Goldberg machine pour cereal!
Check out her whole tutorial here for building one yourself. Just know that if you’ve got really young ones who can’t quite sit still long enough to see the end result, you may be doing a lot of work yourself!
2. Get in the kitchen! Getting your kids involved in cooking and baking can be an exercise in patience, but kids love to help create in the kitchen. My kids love to get involved and get their hands dirty, so I try to let them help me when I’m not in a hurry to get dinner on the table. Afternoon cookie baking and starting dinner really early are easy ways to get them involved. Plus, it’s really good practical experience and you can use it as a great learning opportunity for math and nutrition!
3. Work out! It’s a guarantee that if I get out a yoga mat or put on a DVD and start exercising that my kids are going to join in the fun. They may flit in and out of the workout, but they’re sure to burn some energy. Your best bet is to put in a relatively simple workout and encourage them to follow along. Plus, counting reps is great practice for counting! I also love this 60 Minutes of Motion idea from CLIFKid. It’s a downloadable deck of cards that are separated into categories — motion, activity and adventure — that families can mix and match to get moving. Their ideas for motion, like frog jumps, wall sits and star jumps are great for indoor activity, while their suggestions for activities, like flying a kite, will get you out and moving when it’s a little warmer.
4. Simon Says. Simon Says is a great way for you to get exercise while also getting your kids moving. The best part is they won’t even know they’re exercising; they’re just having fun. (And likely, so are you!)
5. Have a dance party. I love to crank up the iPad or smart TV and turn on either our favorite radio music or hit a kids’ Pandora station. Usually the music is enough to get everyone moving, but some props such as microphones, lassos (scarves) and ribbon wands can make it a lot of fun.
6. Get outside anyway! Even if it’s cold, as long as you dress appropriately, you can “enjoy” being outside for short periods. Plus, bundling up and getting dressed is activity in itself …
What are your favorite winter activities for kids when you’re stuck inside? We’re also fans of building forts! —Erin