It can be hard enough to keep your kids entertained during the warmer months, when at least they have the whole outdoors to entertain themselves with. But when the weather turns and things start getting chilly, it can be harder and harder to figure out how to answer the dreaded “I’m boooored!” lament.
Here are some great ideas for wintry weather fun that will keep your kids amused without breaking the bank:
Bake…anything. Making cookies, cakes, muffins, or whatever else are your specialty from scratch can easily take up the better part of a stuck-indoors afternoon. Your kids get to feel helpful by pitching in where appropriate, and if you’re baking the sort of goodies that are decorate-able, the entertainment time doubles. Plus, they have yummy treats to enjoy afterwards—it’s a win-win!
Give the neighborhood critters a snack. Popcorn garlands aren’t just for Christmas time; any time of the year, there are birds and squirrels around your yard that would love their own special treat. Pop some popcorn and have your children string the pieces together on string or yarn. (Young kids can use a thick plastic needle that will puncture kernels just as easily with less ouches.) Then, drape the garlands festively over your fence, railings, and trees, and kids can enjoy watching the birds and squirrels come out to enjoy the snack they’ve made for them.
Good, old-fashioned board games. Kids are so digitally diverted these days, you may be surprised by some of the staples you grew up with that your kids don’t even know about. Take them to the toy store or local discount retailer and cruise the board game aisle, letting each kid pick out a game they want to try. (Classic games, mind you, not the latest talking/flashing games.) You get to pick out your childhood favorite, too, so you can introduce them to the joys of Battleship, Connect Four, or however else you used to pass your long, wintry days.
Homemade sports. You’d be amazed how much extra fun normal sports become when made with whatever you can find around the house. Bowling with empty soda bottles, playing volleyball with inflated balloons…ask your kids which sport they feel like playing, then come up with your own wacky, DIY version. Start creating “house rules” and give the game your own special name, and kids can spend endless hours evolving the game, teaching it to friends…and later remembering all the weird rules and weekend-long tournaments they used to have when.
Snow spray paint. If the weather permits some outdoor time, but your kids are already all sledded and snowballed out, try this unique twist on winter fun: get some spray bottles at the dollar store and fill them with water and different colors of food coloring to create snow “spray paint.” Let your kids go wild—there is nothing more fun than writing all over something you’re not normally allowed to deface. (If you’re really bold and curious to see what the neighbors will say, let your little Picassos have creative reign in the front yard as well as the back!)
Kelly Gurnett is a writer for QuickQuid, a short term loans lender that provides online services to customers all across the United Kingdom. She also runs the blog Cordelia Calls It Quits, where she documents her attempts to rid her life of the things that don’t matter and focus more on the things that do.